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asserting yourself tactfully

Asserting Yourself Tactfully

by Dr. Vesna Grubacevic

  • What is preventing you from asserting yourself with your colleagues, manager, partner, family or friends?
  • Do you worry about being rude or pushy?
  • Are you concerned about having a confrontation with another person?

What Prevents You? 

Think about the last three times you neglected to assert yourself with your colleagues, manager, partner, family or friends.   What stopped you from voicing your opinion or standing up for yourself?   As you think about those times, ask yourself:

  • What was I thinking about just prior to wanting to assert myself?
  • How was I feeling at that time?
  • Were my thoughts and feelings positive or negative?

Write down everything that comes to mind around these three scenarios now.  As you read through your replies to the above questions, what do you notice?  Are there any negative emotions, limiting beliefs or deeper unconscious issues holding you back from asserting yourself?  First, it is important to identify and address these as these insecurities will continue to affect how you think and act, including whether you assert yourself.  Then it is also important to have strategies to assert yourself tactfully.

Clarity is Key 

Most people are unclear about what they want to achieve in their communication with other people.  In the absence of that clarity, they find it difficult to know what to say and how to say it.  Once you have that clarity, it is far easier to achieve your desired outcome because you will then know what to say and how to say it.  Think about your next conversation.  What specifically would you like to achieve?  For example, do you want to be assertive or achieve something else?

Next, think about how you will know that you have succeeded e.g. at being assertive.  Will you know by the facial expression you receive from your colleague, manager, partner, family member or friend?  Or will you know by their verbal feedback, by changes in their posture, by how you think or by how you feel?

Finally, think about what you will say and how you will say it so that you achieve what you have set out to do.  Which words will you use?  Which tone of voice, facial expression, and posture will be most effective?  Ensure that your tone of voice, words, facial expression and posture all match the message you wish to send.

Disagree with Tact 

If the response you receive from the other person is one of disagreement with your comments to them, avoid disagreeing with them directly.  If you disagree with them directly, this could end up in an argument. Instead, if you do disagree with them or wish to present an alternative view, do it with tact.

In reply to them you could say “I appreciate your view and (put in your reply).”  Notice that I have used the word “and” instead of “but”.  Avoid “but” when disagreeing with your colleagues, manager, partner, family member or friend.  If you say “I appreciate that but…”, on an unconscious level you are dismissing what the other person has just said, which could lead to a disagreement or misunderstanding.  “But” is very dismissive, instead use “and”.

Asserting Yourself In 3 Easy Steps:

1.     Most importantly, identify and address any insecurities and deeper core issues that prevent you from being assertive
2.     Clarify what you want to achieve in your communication
3.     If you need to disagree with your colleague, manager, partner, family member or friend, do it with tact.

How you too can be assertive and have the personal and professional success you desire!

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