This article will help you identify whether you are an assertive communicator and help you understand why that matters!
If you are frustrated by the ineffectiveness of many of your meetings, by finding that your team cannot seem to make seemingly basic business decisions, that the same issues continually resurface? Are some decisions made even though there does not appear to be real commitment to those decisions? Do you find out later that the people who did not speak up in a meeting raised issues about the topic, nullifying the decision you thought was made. As an executive business coach, I witness these issues to varying degrees on a daily basis in every organization I deal with. What I find frustrating is that leaders allow the dysfunction to continue. I have found that improving your decision making is as simple as using the right communication style. An assertive communication style rarely has the issues I described above.
The degree of assertiveness you use in dealing with people provokes fairly predictable reactions by others, which in turn help determine how effective you are as a leader. Assertive communication is characterized by honesty, enforces rules, requires results, and is a direct approach that shows concern for yourself and others. It communicates the message that “you are both okay.”
This communication style could be construed as treating all the individuals involved as equal, each deserving of respect, and no more entitled than another to have things done their way. You feel connected to others when you are speaking to them, and you are trying to help them take control of their lives. You address issues and problems as they arise and create environments where others can grow and mature.
The reason assertive communication is so effective is that it combines the positive dimensions of both aggressive and passive communicators. The assertive communicator is goal-oriented and direct, and at the same time is a good listener, considerate, and thoughtful. Thus, the assertive leader bridges the most positive aspects of the two other styles of behavior while at the same time avoiding the negative aspects of those two styles. The assertive style is both a good human relations style and a good team-building style for any organization. The assertive leader is seen as someone who is strong, energetic and is both able and willing to fight for resources needed by the department. Further, the assertive leader does not appear to play favorites, since he or she does not bend rules or fail to enforce rules in an effort to be liked by others. This leadership style is most admired by team members and employees.
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