Holding your own! Using Assertiveness to communicate with power and get your ideas heard.


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Have you ever struggled to deal with a colleague or friend who is either aggressive or insistent that their approach is the only correct one? Did you consider either being passive, or maybe going over the top to be just as aggressive as they are? Modern research with over 4,800 individuals shows Assertiveness too be among the top five personal attributes most highly correlated to success in business and personal life. This program will make you aware of the habits and behaviors which foster strong communication and high levels of team work, and enhance your personal leadership brand. The program will also alert you to habits which inhibit others from really hearing you and supporting your critical ideas.

This workshop will help you :

Learn how to integrate assertiveness into a powerful leadership style
Understand what research tells us about the relationship of assertiveness to overall success in life and business
Understand which personal traits either drive or inhibit your assertiveness
Communicate forcefully in a way that commands respect while encouraging open dialogue
Deal with overtly aggressive colleagues and friends

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  • Introductory story about the webinar author being involved in a whistleblowing incident in the military which will illustrate some of the key ideas and fears involved in taking a stand. It was the fall of 1974 and I was stationed at Ramstein AB in central Germany. I was sitting in the office of the base Judge Advocate General and I had just been read my Miranda rights by an investigating attorney. I was 26 years old and had just over two years of experience as an active-duty Air Force officer. To that point, I had a spotless record, and had already been identified as one of the 20% of junior officers who would be guaranteed career status in the military. How was it that I had come to the point of being suspected of fraud and being read my rights? Over the preceding 18 months, I had witnessed my commanding officer routinely filing fraudulent expense reports to claim expenses he had not incurred. Along the way, he had expressed his belief that this behavior was just a perq of his frequent travel. He had quietly coerced me and others into doctoring our own expense reports to cover him. When I realized the extent of the situation, I did some long and difficult soul-searching. I knew that whistle blowers almost always pay a price for coming forward. I knew there was both professional and personal risk involved in taking a stand.  Eventually, I realized that I needed to put the welfare of other unit members ahead of my own. I knew that I needed to come forward, and I did. In the course of the investigation which followed, I had to explain the circumstances under which I had falsified my own vouchers to cover his. At the point in the investigation where that became clear, the investigating attorney stopped the interview, brought in a witness, and read me my rights. As a result of my testimony, the Air Force had the full right to bring me up on a similar set of charges.  I was right about the perils of whistleblowing. The next six months were hard. My supervisor was relieved of his command, prosecuted and convicted on several counts of fraud. For a period of time, many of the unit members were not sure they could trust me. And I felt that.   Many of us face similar challenges, maybe not quite so dramatic, in our everyday dealings with our supervisors and our peers. At some point, we face the decision whether or not to assert our own ideas and values, knowing they will be different from others’. My goal in this session is to explore how the attribute of assertiveness can help us hold our own in difficult conversations and situations, while respecting the rights of others to hold different positions and defend them with equal amounts of energy.  We know from leadership research that assertiveness is a key ingredient in leadership and business relationships in general. We’ll discuss ways you can strengthen it in your own communications style and enjoy those benefits. Let’s get started! 
  • In this slide you see some of the learning outcomes we promised in our abstract. Please let me know by the poll you'll see in front of you shortly which of these is the most important for you for your time this morning:
  • I will address three major themes in our time together this morning. First, how do we define assertiveness? Secondly how to our behaviors and beliefs enable or inhibit our assertiveness? And finally what can we do to develop our assertiveness to higher levels of competence?I’ll do a brief Q&A session after each of the themes. Feel free to chat in your questions as they occur to you. I’ll answer any question you ask, at least in written form, and I’ll add the questions and answers to the copy of the presentation that you receive from HR.com.
  • So let's talk about what is assertiveness.
  • Many of us associate assertiveness with a characteristic of who we are. You'll peek you'll hear people say, "Oh I could never be like that."I find it much more helpful to consider assertiveness as a series of behaviors, and not a state of being. As such, we can learn how to execute those behaviors skillfully, and in doing so increase our personal power of communications and our general effectiveness.We will talk more about those specific behaviors as we work together today.
  • Think of assertiveness as a balance set of behaviors, midway between being completely passive and completely aggressive. A passive person will often avoid confrontation at any cost. They will hide their feelings and beliefs. They will be ineffective at communicating and sharing a motion. They are often emotionally dependent on others they are working with. And along the way they may find it easier to short change their company than to take a stand with a colleague or a customer.On the other side of the continuum, an aggressive person is often abusive and will attack to defend their position. They demean people with whom they disagree, often depending on manipulation, or inappropriately insisting on the rightness of their path.In contrast to both of those extremes, and assertive person is capable of expressing their feelings openly, being firm and direct as they express their beliefs and thoughts and wants openly. Finally, they stand up for their own personal rights without aggression or abuse of others and respecting the right of others to have other positions and opinions on any topic.
  • On the left, you see the model of emotional intelligence developed by Dr. Reuven bar – on in the 1980s and refined through today. This model consists of 15 scales organized within five domains. We know from research that assertiveness stands alone as an important attribute of emotional intelligence but also works in connection with five other emotional intelligence scales, interpersonal relationships self regard empathy emotional expression and impulse control.Segue to the following slide which describes the other “ingredients”.
  • Think of those other related attributes as part of a menu of behaviors as part of a recipe of behaviors which when combined create the overall definition of ability to express her feelings beliefs thoughts and wants in a nondestructive way. Some of those ingredients are self regard how well I feel about myself and how well can accept my own strengths and weaknesses empathy how well I can look through the eyes of the person I'm dealing with and understanding their feelings and thoughts. How well I can develop productive interpersonal relationships that are mutually satisfying to both parties. How able I am to confidently express my own emotions both verbally and nonverbally. And finally how well I am able to control my own emotions as I'm having perhaps a highly charged discussion over a topic where I have significant disagreements with my colleague. If you think about recent situations where you've been in a contentious conversation, you can probably think of each of these elements as they played out either for better or for worse, in your conversation.
  • At this point I like to share some ideas and let you hear from your collegagues on the webinar. Use the question-and-answer panel to Chad in A phrase or two about what actions you associate with assertiveness.
  • Now that we have talked about the definition of assertiveness, let’s ask ourselves,” why is it important?”
  • One multi health systems Took their assessment process through a major revision in 2011, they surveyed almost 5000 respondents to help them normalize the scoring process. In the course of that survey, they also asked questions about the relative degree of success for each of the respondents had enjoyed in their occupation.When they correlated successful professionals and the emotional intelligence attributes and their relationship to that success, they were able to determine which attributes seem to have the largest impact on that success. You can see that assertiveness made it into the top five most important attributes. You can also see the other four top attributes which seem to drive personal and professional success.Here is a list of the emotional intelligence scales shown by research to be most highly correlated with overall work .
  • In Steven Stein’s book,” the EQ edge”, he listed 31 occupations and the list of top five emotional intelligence attributes which correlated with success in each of those occupations.Out of 31 occipations profiled, 15 of them had assertiveness in their top 5 attributes correlated with career success
  • The research also showed high correlation between strong levels of assertiveness and these other benefits that you see before you.Just a quick exercise for yourself: how might stronger assertiveness benefit you, in your personal and professional success?
  • Let’s take a break for some questions. If you haven’t already, check in your questions via the Q&A panel.
  • Make Hay while the sun shines – that’s smart: Go fishing during the harvest – that’s stupid Proverbs 10:5, The Message translation
  • Segue into beliefs
  • Your two most powerful weapons are what you know, And what you believe.But beliefs can be A two edged sword. [move to next slide]
  • This will be a chat storm to have participants think of a personal experience where they were struggling with if and how to be more assertive, and to have them chat in what was inhibiting them from taking a bolder stand
  • Think about how we’ve defined the definition of assertiveness.What are your signature strengths? Think of a specific example where you use them. How did they benefit you? Are there ways you could leverage them in other situations?On the flipside, where could you improve? If you did improve a skill, how is it impact you for the better? Of several skills you might improve, which one would be the highest priority? How would you validate your thinking? It might be an option to come up with a way to mitigate or workaround the weakness. Or maybe there someone that you work with that can do that task or fill that role better.
  • Define your options in broad terms.Recruit a coach or a trusted colleague to discuss your ideas withLook for ways to strengthen or leverage your signature strengths.Look for ways to strengthen, mitigate, or delegate to address areas where you are not as strong.There are lots of resources to help you.
  • Here are just a few of the resources that are available to you.
  • Lastly, discipline yourself to create A handful of very specific short-term actions that are Smart.
  • It helps to think of a smart action as a promise you make to yourself, and it helps if you also make that same promise to your coach or your accountability partner.
  • Here are some of the great books that I used as a resource to this presentation today. I recommend all of them highly to you as you begin to think about how to make your own assertiveness A more powerful part of you.
  • As we get close to closing the program today, what a final questions would you like to ask?
  • In closing, I’ll leave you with this quote from Robert Louis Stevenson. To know ourselves, our gifts, are areas for improvement, and where we stand on any given issue, these are foundations for taking a stand, really engaging in the conversations of our life, and keeping our souls alive as contributing members of our teams..Good luck and I wish you all the best in all of your endeavors in 2014.
  • I’m easy to find on LinkedIn, and would love to engage with you on your journeys. Thanks again.
  • Holding your own! Using Assertiveness to communicate with power and get your ideas heard.

    1. 1. Using Assertiveness to communicate with power and get your ideas heard 1
    2. 2. Ascendent Leadership Practice Profile }  Leadership development }  Team effectiveness }  Emotional intelligence }  Coaching as a leadership skill
    3. 3. Please choose your single most important outcome from today’s webinar: }  }  }  }  }  Integrating assertiveness into a powerful leadership style Understanding the relationship of assertiveness to success Understand traits which drive or inibit assertiveness Communicate in a way that commands respect, allows open dialogue Deal with overtly aggressive colleagues and friends 4
    4. 4. }  }  }  How do we define assertiveness? How do our behaviors and beliefs enable or inhibit our assertiveness? How can we develop our assertiveness?
    5. 5. Passive Avoids confrontation Hides feelings, beliefs Ineffective communication of emotion Emotionally dependent May shortchange company Assertive Expresses feelings Firm and direct Expresses beliefs, thoughts, wants openly Stands up for personal rights without aggression, abuse Aggressive Is abusive Attacks Demeans Manipulates Insists on rightness
    6. 6. Interpersonal Self Regard Empathy Influence Assertiveness Emotional Expression Impulse Control (Stein, 2011 )
    7. 7. Assertiveness: Express feelings, beliefs, thoughts and wants in a non-­destructive way Self Regard: Respecting and accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses Empathy: Recognizing, understanding, appreciating feelings of others Interpersonal relationships: Developing and maintaining mutually satisfying relationships Emotional Expression: Expressing one’s feelings verbally and non-­verbally Impulse Control: Resisting or delaying an impulse, drive, or temptation to act (Stein, 2011 )
    8. 8. What actions do you associate with assertiveness? 11
    9. 9. Performance Impact
    10. 10. Overall Work Success Top five EQ scales correlated with success Self Actualization Happiness Optimism Self Regard Assertiveness 13
    11. 11. Occupations – Assertiveness in Top 5 Overall Work Success General sales Insurance sales Business services Retail sales Other sales Financial services Customer service Personnel, HR Management Consultants Business managers Public servants Religious workers Social workers Lawyers (Stein, 2011 ) 14
    12. 12. Other benefits correlated with strong assertiveness Self regard Employee, team engagement Trust Happiness Interpersonal relationship Innovation Safety Integrity Mission focus Teamwork, Collaboration Acceptance of change … your examples… 15
    13. 13. How do your actions enable your assertiveness?
    14. 14. Have confidence in yourself Be known for doing what you say you will do Have a basis for your view Stay in relationship Master your stories Strike when the iron is cool Speak for yourself, only Don’t assume your view is the only or correct one Make your non-verbals consistent with your words Use humor with care Assess: Is this the time?
    15. 15. 1.  Do I know something my boss doesn’t know, but needs to? 2.  Is time running out? 3.  Are my responsibilities at risk? 4.  Can I help my boss/team win? Make hay while the sun shines – that’s smart; Go fishing during the harvest – that’s stupid. Proverbs 10:5 1.  Am I promoting my own personal agenda? 2.  Have I already made my point? 3.  Must everyone but me take the risk? 4.  Is the timing right only for me? 5.  Does my request exceed our relationship? 6.  Does the atmosphere say no? (Maxwell 2005)
    16. 16. Beliefs can be enabling or limiting
    17. 17. Managing Limiting Beliefs (Stein, 2011 - Adapted from Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Theory)
    18. 18. Managing Limiting Beliefs Consequences (Stein, 2011 - Adapted from Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Theory)
    19. 19. Managing Limiting Beliefs Activate Consequences (Stein, 2011 - Adapted from Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Theory)
    20. 20. Managing Limiting Beliefs Activate Beliefs Consequences (Stein, 2011 - Adapted from Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Theory)
    21. 21. Managing Limiting Beliefs Activate Beliefs Consequences Debate, Dispute (Stein, 2011 - Adapted from Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Theory)
    22. 22. Managing Limiting Beliefs Activate Beliefs Consequences Debate, Dispute Effects (Stein, 2011 - Adapted from Albert Ellis, Rational Emotive Behavior Theory)
    23. 23. Assertiveness
    24. 24. Signature Strengths Weaknesses Define the benefit Define the impact Ways to leverage Prioritize Validate Mitigate Delegate
    25. 25. Strengths Weaknesses Recruit a coach, partner Strengthen further Define the impact Look for ways to leverage Develop Mitigate Delegate
    26. 26. Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound Attend webinar þ Only an hour Abstract seems right on Jan 22
    27. 27. Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound Attend webinar þ Only an hour Abstract seems right on Jan 22
    28. 28. Kerry Patterson, J. G., Ron McMillan, Al Switzler (2002). Crucial Conversations: tools for talking when stakes are high. New York, McGraw-Hill. Kerry Patterson, J. G., Ron McMillan, Al Switzler (2005). Crucial Confrontations: Tools for resolving broken promises, violated expectations, and bad behavior. New York, McGraw Hill. Maxwell, J. C. (2005). The 360-degree leader: developing your influence from anywhere in the organization. Nashville, Thomas Nelson, Inc. Paterson, R. J. (2000). The Assertiveness Handbook: How to express your ideas and stand up for yourself at work and in relationships. Oakland, CA, New Harbinger Publications. Steven J. Stein, H. E., Bock (2011). The EQ Edge: emotional intelligence and your success, 3rd Edition, Josey Bass.
    29. 29. To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. Robert Louis Stevenson
    30. 30. Thanks!
    31. 31. Ascendent Leadership