We may have worked with a manager and feel fearful because he is hostile and demeaning, and makes us feel undervalued.  Or, seen a hard working and capable colleague who is overlooked because she lacks the courage to communicate her achievements.

Assertive behaviour is a balance between being aggressive and submissive.  It is expressing your feelings, needs and ideas, and standing up for your legitimate rights in ways that do not violate the rights of others.  Assertive behaviour respects oneself and values our personal opinions and needs, while respecting the rights, values and beliefs of others.

Assertiveness is:

  • Open and honest communication
  • Being able to express your feelings, thoughts and emotions, without experiencing a lot of anxiety or guilt, and without violating the rights of others
  • Taking responsibility for what happens to you in life, making more decisions and free choices
  • Recognising that you have certain rights that need not be sacrificed
  • Being able to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by others

Assertion theory is based on the premise that every individual possesses basic rights.  Examples of rights include:

  1.   The right to act in ways that promotes your dignity and self-respect as long as others’ rights are not violated in the process.
  2.   The right to be treated with respect.
  3.   The right to say no and not feel guilty.
  4.   The right to experience and express your feelings.
  5.   The right to take your time to slow down and think.
  6.   The right to change your mind.
  7.   The right to ask for what you need.
  8.   The right to work at your human capacity.
  9.   The right to ask for information.
  10. The right to make (non deliberate) mistakes (as long as others are not harmed).
  11. The right to feel good about yourself.

Many people do not believe that they have the right to be assertive.  Or if they are assertive in some situations, they may feel anxious and fearful.  Whenever you find it difficult to assert yourself, chances are there are mistaken traditional assumptions and an outdated belief system operating.  These myths may have been learnt in our childhood which we are carrying into the present.

Almost every minute of our conscious life we are engaged in self-talk in our internal world.  If this self-talk is accurate and realistic to the situation, we function well.  If it is irrational and untrue, then we can experience stress and emotional disturbance such as anxiety, depression, rage, guilt or a sense of worthlessness.

These myths may need to be reframed to take into account the situation and our needs.  Examples of how we may convert myths into our legitimate rights.

  • Myth – It is essential and selfish to put your needs before that of others.

Our legitimate right – We have the right to place our needs before those of others (in appropriate situations).  We have the right to say ‘No,’ setting limits on our time and energy.

  • Myth – It is shameful to make mistakes. We should have an appropriate response for every occasion.

Our legitimate rights – We have the right to make non-deliberate mistakes.  It takes time to process our thoughts and feelings.

Tips to become more assertive in the workplace.

  • Commit to being assertive, maintaining your needs and respect. It requires a willingness to examine ourselves and be open to new ways of thinking and handling situations.
  • Consider in what situation you want to assert yourself, and the benefit of assertive behaviour.
  • Set personal boundaries about what is right for you. These are your limits to review what is uncomfortable, and to say no.
  • Watch your self talk, and reframe your thoughts to enable you to act assertively. Our self-talk can make it easier or harder to manage a problem.
  • Ask for what you want, and state your needs, opinions or feelings. Use assertive techniques to guide you such as an ‘I’ statement or ‘Broken record.’
  • A willingness to take risks. Assertive behaviour requires letting go of fear that can hold you back, and worrying about what others think.

No one is assertive all the time. We choose assertive behaviour based on the person, time and situation.

Assertive behaviour is a positive self affirmation, which also values the other person in your life.  Assertive behaviour enriches life, and leads to authentic and satisfying personal relationships.

 

Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and is a Certified Retirement Coach.  She has over 30 years experience in career development, life coaching, education and training.  Leah holds a Master in Professional Education and Training, Graduate Diploma in Career Development, a number of Diploma qualifications in Vocational Educational Training, and Certificates in Life Coaching, Mediation Skills, and Psychodrama.

Leah is a professional member of the Career Development Association Australia (CDAA).Leah is a professional member of Australian Career Professionals International (ACPi-Aus). She has international accreditation and is Board Certified as a Career Management Fellow with the Institute of Career Certification.

Contact details for Leah Shmerling:

leahshmerling@crowncoaching.com.au

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Training Testimonials

Laura Hewson
Laura Hewson

Team Leader, Melbourne Real Estate Pty Ltd

Thank you so much for coming and training us in Conflict Resolution. The team got so much out of it, and still talk about tools they use.

Gina Liu
Gina Liu

Senior Pathway Advisor

Thanks Leah for having provided fantastic training. I did enjoy the course and learnt a lot.

I am interested in continuing my study in this direction so I will think about taking up further study in Graduate Diploma.

James Alexander
James Alexander

Account Manager

Thanks again for your patience and support throughout the duration of the course. I couldn’t have completed without your support and assistance.

Judith Ayre
Judith Ayre

Senior Lecturer & School of Counselling Academic Head

Leah, this is awesome, something to be really proud of. I am so glad you are here but more than that, that you are offering yourself and your expertise to the world. The world is clearly a better place for your presence. Thanks again for everything.

Janette Brien
Janette Brien

Rehabilitation Consultant

I would like to thank you for supporting me through your extensive supply of resources and experience in successfully completing the Foundations in Career Development Practice, CHCSS00005 Career Development Skills Set.

The facilitated delivery included a blend of monthly webinars, on-line resources and relevant workplace assignment tasks that have built my confidence to coach my clients toward achieving their desired goals.

Your feedback of my work was invaluable as it taught me to work smarter, more efficiently, providing me with more effective results and happier clients.

So, thank you very much for all your input over last 7 months!

Penny Azzi
Penny Azzi

Director, The Kazbah Group

I really enjoyed this training a lot and it was very beneficial not only to me but my organisation.  The course facilitator used her wealth of knowledge and experience to provide us with real examples that I could utilise within my organisation.  The content was user friendly and high quality. The support and guidance was outstanding throughout the program.  I would highly recommend this course and look forward to my next program with the course facilitator and the Team.

Tracey Walker
Tracey Walker

Learning and Development Manager, Ayers Rock Resort

I was lucky enough to have the course facilitator as my TAE trainer.  With a blended delivery of on-line content and weekly Skype one-on-one sessions, I found this learning experience to be one of the best of my adult life.  She set me challenges and workplace assignments that made the learning very relevant and effective.  Her various training techniques were both stimulating and innovative, which was extremely advantageous as I was able to use these same techniques with my Trainees.

Jack L. Harris
Jack L. Harris

Prof Emeritus

With Leah’s enthusiastic approach I was motivated to examine much more than the basic requirements of the course. Her depth of knowledge in this arena not only surprised me but empowered me to pursue all aspects of it to ensure I had a really good understanding of what it entailed. Leah had presented the course in a professional yet warm and personal way and which allowed her students to become closely acquainted with the subject. Her passion for helping others is highly evident and via this avenue she is able to encourage others to be the change they want to see in themselves and in the world around them.

Richard Fowler
Richard Fowler

Student, Foundations in Career Development Practice

I have been able to demonstrate many of the elements of the course immediately, and see the results in provoking the right conversations, as well as providing areas of focus that aid in alleviating tensions, and pointing toward solutions. Leah has pitched the course to comprehensively cover pertinent topics with her own flair, in a manner befitting high quality professional development. I would recommend it wherever applicable.

Timothy
Timothy

Hospitality and Retail

‘The courses are good. I enjoy studying online in my home. It is easier and preferable to going to university. Staff are supportive, assisting me to succeed.’

Adrian
Adrian

Student

‘Leah is a wealth of information and useful in terms of teaching content. It has been vital to how we learn and apply the skills.’

Nikki McCartney
Nikki McCartney

Management Consultant

“I’m blown away! This is fabulous! The Foundations unit I looked at has so many great educational principles built in and all using that digital world so well.”

Counselling Testimonials

SUSAN
SUSAN

Teacher

‘Leah, you have assisted me to broaden my career options beyond what I was considering.’

JOHN
JOHN

Teacher

‘A real insight, I can see how far behind I was – beautiful!’

FRANCES
FRANCES

Teacher

‘Leah, you have been absolutely invaluable today. Worth more than your weight in gold.’