I’ve been working on a book that has the top 20 things to know about the top 20 management subjects – http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/20-20/16343951?productTrackingContext=search_results/search_shelf/center/1 – I think it might be useful for the busy person who wants to know the basics of the various areas they need in their job as a manager. And I thought I’d share all twenty with you over the coming months in between other (shorter!) tips. It’s 20 tips really. I know that some people want shorter tips, but then this top 20 could be a series worth collecting. So I hope you like the first one: a crash course on…..Assertiveness.
Assertiveness Top 20
1. A person can change if they want to – most of our behaviour comes from our attitudes and beliefs which have been collected over the years, and which are stored in our subconscious. We can choose to change our behaviour, and we can also (gradually) change our beliefs about the world and about ourselves.
2. Assertiveness is difficult because it goes against our natural instincts for fight or flight. We have to learn to make a conscious effort to overcome the adrenaline in our bodies and remain calm.
3. A good step towards being assertive is to realise that the perceived benefits of being aggressive or submissive are in fact incorrect. Aggressive people think that they will be respected and will get their way – not true in the long run. Submissive people think that they will be liked and will have an easy life – also not true.
4. Assertiveness requires a starting belief that you are OK – which you are! Your self worth should come from you, not from what other people think. Think you yourself “No-one else can push me into the not-OK box”.
5. Assertiveness means standing up for your rights, but also respecting the rights of others.
6. Persist if necessary. You have the right to be heard. You’re not being rude, they are.
7. You have a right to say how you feel. And you don’t have to justify how you feel.
8. Take responsibility for how you feel, what you do, and what happens to you. “We teach others how to treat us”. Lack of taking responsibility is at the root of all negative emotions.
9. Take responsibility for mistakes. It’s OK to make them (the only way to never make a mistake is to never do anything, and making a mistake doesn’t make you a bad person) but you must learn from them. Then let them go – they are in the past.
10. Your behaviour is controlled by your subconscious beliefs, or “scripts”. You can change your scripts by what you say to yourself – keep it positive. Saying positive things about yourself repeatedly will gradually convince your subconscious that they are the case – anything you say regularly will become true.
11. You can change your behaviour, but only if you are aware of it. Practise detachment – observe yourself in situations: how did you do?
12. The other side of detachment is that other people are responsible for their own actions. Don’t blame yourself for the actions that others have chosen to take.
13. Remain calm in situations where the other person is being aggressive. It’s their problem not yours, so remember your rights, and take time to plan. Don’t get aggressive back!
14. Aggression can be behaviour other than physically attacking someone – it can be verbal intimidation, interrupting, invading someone’s space, patronising, etc. If someone is using emotive words to attack you, pick them up on the words: “I agree that it was a mistake but I wouldn’t say it was ‘stupid’.”
15. Pick them up on aggressive body language using the format “I notice that you are doing xxx and I interpret this to mean yyy, am I right?” This will force them to put up or shut up.
16. When criticised, consider whether they may be right. If they are: learn from it and thank them. If they are not, you can choose between letting it go or challenging them – both are OK. If you unsure about what they are unhappy with, or if you are unsure whether they are right about it, ask them for more information.
17. Giving criticism is not usually effective because asking someone to change their personality is not feasible, and it’s even worse if you don’t say what you want instead. However, asking someone to change their behaviour CAN be effective.
18. Look out for Games Players, who move between Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim (for example I’m Only Trying To Help You, Yes But, It’s Alright For You, You shouldn’t let him get away with that, etc) and then either refuse to play, be assertive about their behaviour (“I don’t like it when you…”) or expose the game (“Have you noticed how you….?”).
19. Use the 4-step process to make your point: I understand, I feel, I want, Is that OK?
20. Wish you’d said something at the time? Don’t worry – it’s never too late to go back & be assertive. Plan it and then do it.
More top 20s to follow soon!