Advantages of Assertive Communication: Assertive communication is the ability to state your feelings, wants and needs in a clear and congruent manner. That means our words are unambiguous and our body language is communicating the same message as our words. Why is it so important and what can it do for you and the people in your workplace?
First of all, assertive communication helps people feel good about themselves and others. This is because we are acknowledging that our wants and needs matter, and so do those of others.
In an aggressive style of communication, we send the message that only our needs matter. In passive communication the opposite is true, we are stating that other people’s needs matter, but not our own.
If you hit that sweet spot in the middle and communicate assertively, people will feel that their needs are being met and that will make them feel empowered. This in turn leads to greater creativity and productivity.
A second reason that we should communicate assertively is that it leads to the development of mutual respect. This is because when we speak in this manner we validate other people’s opinions, even if we don’t agree with them.
Feeling heard and validated encourages people to keep the information flowing which is vital if we want to keep the workplace running smoothly. Without an atmosphere of respect, people may be too nervous to share innovative ideas or speak out when they have identified a problem.
Another benefit is that assertive communication allows us everyone in the workplace to make free choices. When we communicate in an aggressive style, we are effectively making choices for other people. On the other hand, when we go to the other extreme, a passive style, choices end up being imposed on us by others.
What happens to a workplace where people are not making free choices? In short, people are not able to fulfil their potential and the company may miss out on opportunities for the business to grow.
Finally, not implementing assertive communication can lead people to experience feelings of isolation, resentment, burnout and depression. This serious situation can result in a whole host of negative consequences.
First, people may need to take time off to recover their sense of wellbeing and if you become short staffed this can put extra strain on the remaining staff members. Second, people may leave the workplace to look for a more comfortable atmosphere. Finally, a toxic culture can be unwittingly created which can ultimately cause the slow death of an enterprise.
Are there any reasons not to use assertive communication?
There are some cultures in which an indirect form of communication is valued more highly and seen as a sign of respect. Studies have also shown that assertiveness is seen as more acceptable in men than in women. However, if we take into account the reasons stated above,there is no doubt that the benefits are much greater than the disadvantages.