Being Assertive for the feint of heart
I got demoted from my job as an Assistant Supervisor and moved back down to a Technology Aid at my job last month. The reason for my demotion at work is because I’m not assertive enough to handle a lead role job… which I do have to say my Boss is right. I’m really not all that assertive of a human being, and that’s one of the most essential things of being a more effective leader. I know it’s not that I can’t do it, but I just don’t quite know how to do it right in the midst of the moment. After thinking long and hard about why I can’t move up in my job, I realized it can only lead up to one thing… I’m too much of a people pleaser.
Being assertive is a challenge for people pleasers because all you want to do is respect everyone’s morals and beliefs, whether you think their ideas are true or not. Me speaking for all those people pleasers out there that feel the same way, there’s nothing I hate more than to deliver my own assertiveness when I absolutely have to. It’s hard for me to do it around loved ones, but especially hard for me to express in work and school related activities. I’ve always had the fear of coming across as a jerk instead of someone whose just trying to stand up for what I believe in. Because of this fact, I always find myself trying to avoid stating my opinions about things as much as possible.
Even though it may seem like a bad thing, being assertive is not what it’s portrayed to be. Here are a few truths about assertiveness that is really not-so true:
- Assertive people are Selfish. It may seem selfish at first because you are expressing how you feel to others on what you believe is moral and true. Of course you are trying to state a point, but assertiveness is still a way of saying your truths while considering the other person’s beliefs.
- Being Assertive is mean. Wrong. Being AGGRESSIVE is mean. It’s easy to perceive these two words as the same thing, but they are entirely different types of behavior. Aggression is acting out in rage and in irrational terms without considering any side of the story except your own. Assertiveness; on the other hand, is acting calm, considering every case scenario, and still holding beliefs of your own.
- Disagreeing with someone is a horrible thing to do. Actually, it’s perfectly normal for people to have their own morals, beliefs, and even their preferred favorite cup of coffee. Maybe they don’t even like coffee, but consider the idea that other people like it for that extra boost in the morning. There’s nothing wrong with that.
So why is it so hard to be assertive?
It’s challenging to see the difference between what’s effective and ineffective assertiveness. Maybe you’ve been that sweet, kindhearted person your entire life and just can’t imagine yourself taking the stand to expose your opinions to the world. No one’s going to blame you for not wanting to do that under those circumstances. But no matter what, you’re always going to encounter people at some point in your life that will tell you in the nicest way possible you need to learn how to be more assertive in order to stand up for yourself in this dog-eat-dog world. There will also be times when your assertiveness will look like aggression to people (for those who can’t tell the difference), and then you unwillingly gain enemies you may not have wanted in the first place. It’s hard to know how to do it right, but it’s possible for ANYONE to accomplish. You and me both.
Here are the benefits of being more assertive:
- It shows that you are a confident, and honest person for those that understand it.
- Doing it can build more self-esteem and gain confidence in your capabilities.
- Doing so may help you understand more about yourself, and the people around you.
- Because you are taking the other person’s opinions in perspective with your own, it shows people that you value them for their differences. You may end up befriending them regardless of how different you are from them, which can bring more creative ideas into your life.
Here are some sources of information I found that shows ways for you to go about being more assertive:
- 5 tips to increase assertiveness
- Assertiveness: an introduction
- Secrets of successfully Assertive Leaders
What if you don’t want to be assertive?
Maybe being this kind of person doesn’t apply to you, and you just don’t feel like being all that assertive like the next guy. Not everybody is built to become a leader, and some people don’t even feel the need to. If you have ever failed in places where you didn’t feel like moving up to a lead position, maybe you were tempted into thinking that maybe you are REQUIRED to be assertive in order to succeed in your life.
I mentioned to my mom recently about my job struggles, and it was helpful talking to her because she reminded me that I don’t have to be assertive in order to succeed in my life. Maybe for some people it is, but not for me. So what if you can’t move up to that lead role position. It’s more about what you feel like doing, and dealing with things that you actually WANT to improve. If you want to be an overall good person without being too assertive, go for it! Though it’s always important to let your loved ones know how you really feel about things every once in a while.
How do you feel about being assertive? What are some of your experiences?
I’d love to hear your perspective!