Assertiveness; Its not about you but about the other person

What is assertiveness?

Aggressive – overt (aggressive:passive, aggressive:aggressive), covert. Loves an audience,  personal attack, creates a negative power base. Convert 3rd party criticism – no details so can’t deal with or fix the situation. Sarcasm – nasty in jokes catching victims off guard.

Passive – perception. Victim is a mentality of guilt. Passive person has a negative inner voice


(Self-awareness, Self Control, Self Confidence) Direct non-confrontational negotiate, positive body language. Adapt holding patterns -“oh that’s a surprise can I have a look at it and can we talk about it tomorrow” 3 levels (1-ideal, 2 – , 3-walk away)

Know what you want before you commit, know what you’re walking into. (Positivity, Ownership, Specifics, Evidence, Resources, Size)

Know who you are dealing with – Left brained (Exactly, specifically, tell in details, steps, reason, thought, process, A to B, little steps) or Right brained (Visual, big ideas, intuition, gut feeling, emotion, short attention span, need to grab attention) . Transactional analysis – Critical/Nurturing/Compliant/RebelliousChild vs Adult. Critical Parent & Rebellious Child (Aggressive), Nurturing Parent & Compliant Child (Comfortable), Nurturing Parent & Rebellious Child (Problem), Critical Parent & Compliant Child (Never be right).

Communicate assertively – Verbal communication (7%) powerful words, questions, clear, precise statements, pre-emptive construction (don’t self -sabotage). Vocal Communication (38%) Pace, Tone, Pitch and Silence. Non-Verbal Communication (55%) (neuro-linguistic programming) Body language, eye contract, mirroring and matching, personal space.

8 types of assertion – Basic, Empathetic, Responsive, Discrepancy, Broken Record, Fogging, Negative Feelings, Consequence.


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Action Plan

Stop doing?

Being passive about particular scenarios, protecting knowledge, apologising, self sabotaging (pre-emptive construction) not to “Tell me if I have got this wrong” “Tell me if this is a silly idea” “Don’t take this personally but”. Using negative words (fault, problem, wrong, issue). Accept work is not your fault be clear and concise tell me why it’s important at this time.

Start doing?

Delegate & trust others with work but gives honest feedback of quality (passive asking for help). “Can you help me understand”. Use a holding pattern – I would like to .. if I can’t can we do it jointly … I would like to be present in the room. Step back. Tracker points in meetings. Accept praise as “thanks for the recognition”. Accept criticism as long as non-personal. Give praise too. “What happened – I would like you to tell me more”. Know what you want build before you say – let me tell you and I would like to highlight how important this is. Be less passive and trust it can be done by someone else.

Continue to do?

Adjust to other people’s behaviour. Highlight problems and provide solutions. What do you need from me? How much time do you think this will take? Ask more questions. “What are the objectives”. Clear end points. Accept help say thanks – what offered.


  1. Communication to wide spectrum of stakeholders from technical to director
  2. Handling stressful situations and deadlines
  3. Saying “No” but for good reason getting people to listen.