by Ken and Kate Back

“Being assertive does not compromise empathy” was the most useful learning made by a delegate attending a seminar I recently delivered, ‘Handling Challenging Conversations’.

I’m cheered by this feedback, as it’s my experience – gained from delivering 100’s of courses that cover behaving assertively, managing conflict and dealing with challenging situations – that most people are not aware of what assertiveness is.

The most common misconception is that behaving assertively requires using tough, uncompromising and uncaring behaviour.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you want to fully understand assertiveness I recommend ‘Assertiveness at Work’.
The book offers itself as ’a practice guide to handing awkward situations’.

The contents include a definition of what is meant by assertion, non-assertion and aggression, and the non-verbal and verbal behaviours that indicate these behaviours are being used.

The authors identify six types of assertion:-

  • Basic
  • Responsive
  • Empathetic
  • Discrepancy
  • Negative Feeling
  • Consequence

They examine each type, and describe situations when the type is most useful, and how to use it most effectively. The types are presented in a ladder framework, which is a useful model to use when planning and communicating an assertive message.

There are chapters that focus on when it can be more difficult to behave assertively, for example, making requests, disagreeing, negotiating and saying no.
The book covers how to effectively handle aggression and non-assertion from other people and being assertive upwards (always a challenging one!)

There are chapters that focus on specific work situations such as assertiveness in meetings, as well as chapters with a wider focus – assertiveness during change and assertiveness and stress.

This is a thorough, practical and informative book that is useful reading for anyone who wants to understand about assertiveness, what it is and is not and who wants to behave assertively at work.




The book image links to Amazon*



© Krista Powell Edwards 2021


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