Assertiveness is finding the right balance not only in the way we think or feel but in the way we respond and communicate. When we can be consciously aware, it gives us the confidence to respond in a socially appropriate manner. The alternatives are to become passive, non-engaged, aggressive, passive-aggressive (sarcastic, sneaky or sly), too direct.
It increases your stress and anxiety.
If you do not have the skill to speak up about your needs or rights, someone else is going to be determining this for you and you relinquish control. Being powerless in your environment, having expectations placed upon you, will undoubtedly increase your stress and anxiety. For example, your boss or a demanding client may request that your work outside of normal working hours, meanwhile a family member is demanding your presence at the same time, at a family event they deem more important than you do. Each situation needs to be managed with the right level of assertiveness to not offend and alleviate you of any ill-will.
It damages relationships.
Without managing situations such as these, you are likely to extend the stress or pressure into an environment where you do have control. You may find yourself taking it out on your staff, children or spouse. If you lack the skill or ability to be assertive in one environment, it is likely you lack it in other areas of your life as well. You’ll find that you will give in to the needs of others, become sarcastic or boss people around. You may find yourself wondering why people are not engaging with you or regretting your behaviour, such as knee-jerk reactions.
It affects your career.
If you become aggressive or even passive aggressive, you certainly become a disagreeable person to work with. Yet the hidden career killer is the state of being passive. Without being assertive, you do not allow yourself to act with confidence. You will limit your ability to make decisions and deal with outcomes, positive or negative. When you have the confidence in your assertiveness skill, you can easily make decisions, knowing that you can deal with issues as they arise. However, by becoming the person that can not act, that can not make decisions, you become the weak link. People will not seek you out for advice or entrust you with responsibility.
It affects your health.
Becoming trapped, being unable to take action, damaged relationships, stressful environments all contribute to the rising levels of cortisol in your system. While cortisol is an important hormone for our survival (fight or flight) an overabundance can adversely affect our health. Most people are well aware that stress is connected to weight issues, heart disease and body tensions.
If you’d like to determine whether you are passive, aggressive or assertive, join me for a 2 day AIM/CDU workshop to discover all these elements. Alternatively, if you’d like to address these issues in the comfort or privacy of your own home, talk to me about regularly half hour stress management coaching sessions, conducted via skype or phone.
About the Author:
Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a current student of the Stress Management Institute. She has spent over 20 years working in stressful, time precious industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion to create order out of chaos and personal development. Barbara is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional clarity and mental breathing space. Barbara’s professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care and Health Services.