Assertive communication skills for managers key terms

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Assertive Communication Skills for Managers Key Terms


ABCs of Rational Thinking Aggressive Assertive


Introduced in:

A refers to the Activating event i.e. what actually happened. B refers to your Beliefs about the activating event. Your interpretation and feelings to the event. C refers to the Consequences that occurred in reaction to the event

Module 2

Typically displaying the behavior or tendency to make his own feelings paramount and willing to hurt feelings and break ties to serve self; individual is often brash and abbrasive particularly in a conflict Module 1

Confident and expressive, this learned conflict style equally regards the feelings of others and self;

typically an individual with self-esteem and does not engage in conflict needlessly

Module 1


Having, or the illusion of having, authority over someone or something else

Module 1

Body Language

Gestures and physical movement used to consciously and unconsciously communicate with others Module 3

Budgetary limits

limitations set due to cost or the availbility of funds

Module 2


limitations or parameters that exist to define or ground a project

Module 2

Non Communicative

Defined by a lack of motivation or ability to communicate effectively

Module 1

Pace Passive Passive Aggressive

The speed of your voice in combination with your pauses or breaks in speech

Module 3

Typically displaying the behavior or tendency to regard others feelings as paramount and lacks active

display of negative feelings or emotions; individual is often quiet and walked over

Module 1

Typically displaying the behavior or tendency toward negative feelings, resentment, and/or aggression in an unassertive passive way; examples include stubbornness and procrastination

Module 1


Focuses on the intonation of your voice ? how high or how low your voice goes

Module 3

Power Receiver Self-esteem Sender

Focuses on the volume of your voice

There must be someone to receive the message you send. Likewise, it's your duty as a respectful, assertive communicator to give your unwavering attention to those when they address you.

Module 3 Module 4

The impression of the self or how you view yourself

Module 1

The speaker or the individual initiating communication

Module 4

Glossary Page 1


Module number one ? Different Communication Styles. It's important to note that as we

talk through the characteristics of an assertive manager, we're talking about

behaviors and not necessarily personalities. In particular, we're talking about

communication. The way you think about and actually communicate messages

are skills that you can learn, practice, and master. So close your eyes for just a

moment. I want you to picture someone you know when I say "assertive

manager." Who do you think of? Do you get the image of a person who is

considered blunt or bold in his or her communication; someone who always gets

what they want? Unfortunately many people confuse aggressiveness with

assertiveness. But the end of today's session, you'll have an image of an

assertive manager is someone who respects people - earns respect and gives

respect, communicates to reach an agreement without belittling, intimidating or

simply controlling others. See, let's start from the beginning. What does it really

mean to be assertive? There are many definitions for the word assertive. Some

focus on confidence, others on aggression or boldness. However, all of the

definitions have one thing in common, and that's the term self-assured.

According to researchers Florian and Zernitsky-Shurka, being assertive is

defined as direct and appropriate communication of one's needs, wants, and

opinions without creating fear of others in the process. For our purposes, to

maximize our success as a manager, an assertive leader, we want to recognize

that our own opinions have value, and that expressing these values in a clear

and respectful way. Now based on this definition, assertive falls on a scale

Assertive Skills ? Module 1

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somewhere in the middle of passive behavior and aggressive behavior. See, the difference between passive and aggressive mentalities are similar to the fight and flight mentality often taught in psychology classes. These are natural human reactions to events or interactions with each other. In the flight or passive mentality, we are driven to run from it ? run from stressful situations. In the fight mentality, we're aggressive and we're driven to fight against a stressful situation. However, when we're aware of our stress reactions, we realize that we have a choice in how we can react to anything, and it doesn't have to be fight or flight. Our choices are dependent on our present needs, goals, desires, confidence, and self-esteem. By better understanding our styles and the ramifications, we can make better decisions and can better understand our behavioral choices. So as a starting point, let's take a closer look at some of the easily identified patterns found in most passive managers, and explore the magnifications of that particular style. Now, the passive manager wants to be liked. Typically they think of themselves as likable or friendly. Passive managers are not comfortable with conflict and they are avoidant at all levels. Often passive managers will not respect their own thoughts or feelings about something just to avoid conflict. This is the person who doesn't like to rock the boat, or is afraid that people will be upset with them. Take a look at the characteristics listed in your handout, or here on the screen, of passive people. They are not comfortable with conflict; they don't like to make decisions; they don't actively pursue their own goals; they allow others to make choices for them. And it's an I-lose-you-win scenario. Remember, when we talk about assertive managers, they recognize their own

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opinions and values and they seek win-win situations. Now the passive manager might have thoughts of I won't offer my opinion, people might laugh at me. Or it's not my place to speak up. Or maybe they think that nice people don't disagree. Well there's nothing wrong with being nice or a friendly person. Sometimes there are opportunities where these qualities should take precedence. However, a manager in general of this type of passive thoughts and communication doesn't increase the likelihood of building a strong team or maximized business goals. In fact this type of style, often things don't get done in a timely manner. Things get put on a back burner in an attempt to avoid conflict or challenges. Managers create the possibility of miscommunication because clear expectations are not set. In addition, there's no skill development because there's no constructive criticism being given, and people don't know what to improve on. These are just a few of the possible consequences of being a passive manager. Now, as you look at some of the descriptors about passive individuals, you'll see that passive people aren't always very nice. About halfway down the column, you'll notice the words "blames others." Blaming is a defense mechanism for passive people who want to be perceived as nice, perceived as having done all they could. Blamers are the people in the meeting who might say, "Well I asked Mark for that, but he must not have had time to get it to me." Instead of admitting they forgot to ask Mark to begin with, they'll blame Mark and point the finger on someone else. Managers who are blamers will use their staff as scapegoats, excuses for department failures rather than backing employees up and taking responsibility for the staff decisions and levels of productivity. Employees catch on to blamers

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quickly and they have little faith in these managers' leadership qualities. On the same line of thought, further down the passive column you see the words "allows others to make choices for him or her." And a couple of boxes below that "does not make decisions." By allowing others to make their choices and decisions for them, passive people shrink all responsibility for consequences, unless those consequences are positive, of course. Most of us have known managers who are all too happy to take credit for good choices when in fact they had nothing to do with the choice at all. But if the choices were bad, these passive managers will quickly throw the consequences in the face of those who made them. See, passive people aren't really all that nice after all. Now on the opposite side of the spectrum is the aggressive managers. Let's take a look at their qualities. The characteristic behaviors and thoughts of these type of managers are winning, intimidating, over powering, and ultimately just getting their way. Often and unfortunately, they do not get their way by belittling, degrading, or humiliating others. And you can probably imagine this type of behavior can accomplish goals. However, those goals ultimately reflect only the manager's perception. There is no input on what, how, or when these goals might be achieved by those who are actually doing the work. As the result of an aggressive manager, the manager's potential in motivating a team as an individual is greatly diminished. In the end, this will lead to less productivity, lower quality output, and potentially many other devastating results. Take a look at the characteristics listed in the assertive scale on your handout. It's interesting to note that one of the traits of an aggressive manager is the same as a passive manager ? that is that they

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blame others. While passive managers blame others in a roundabout, less obvious way, the aggressive manager is likely to literally point a finger. The psychology between passive communication and aggressive communication is remarkably similar. Both types of communicators are ? and in this case it may surprise you ? insecure at some level. Somewhere along the line, they learn to manipulate people, either with insincere niceness or by bullying. Obviously manipulation is not the goal for the ideal manager. So let's look at how to eliminate manipulation and communicate assertively instead. Assertiveness is a balance of the continuum on the assertive scale. The goal of the assertive manager is to get the work done at the level of excellence while enhancing the growth and development of those doing the work. This type of manager communicates in a style that is accurate and respectful of the dignity of all of those involved. Assertive managers encourage all those whom they work with to be equally respectful of each other. So let's look at a couple of examples and characteristics of the assertive manager. The assertive manager is selfconfident, competent, they listen, they don't put others down, they help others feel good, they have the ability to praise and critique, they admit mistakes, they understand it's okay to change their mind, they accept criticism, and they're honest and direct. When we look at the consequences of this communication style, we see that the results of an assertive communicator are quite positive. For example, think about how you feel when you work with a manager who is self-confident. It is likely that your own confidence is boosted when you work with a self-confident leader. You might ask creative questions that you might

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