The most successful managers and supervisors use assertive communication as the cornerstone of their leadership style. Assertive communication focuses on problems and solutions, not who’s to blame when things go wrong. Being assertive means communicating positively and with conviction; it is the ability to get your message across so that it's respected and responded to in a positive manner.
Being assertive means clearly asking for what you want, directly and with confidence. Effective assertiveness is more than the words you use; it's how you use them, what your body and vocal tone are saying, and timing your communications in the most productive ways possible.
Being assertive does not mean manipulating others, being pushy or making demands--there's enough of that in the world already. Being assertive means evaluating what you believe to be necessary to get the job done, being aware of the needs and viewpoints of others and looking for solutions and actions that best accommodate everyone involved.
Rather than looking for the right answer when faced with the need to respond or take action, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I believe to be necessary to resolve this situation?
- What do I think my employees believe will be required?
- What do I need to do to bring about the outcome I am looking for and still preserve the dignity of everyone involved?
Your answers will prepare you to communicate assertively and help create a more positive outcome both for the moment and during your long-term association with your employees.