What is this session about?• Define passive, aggressive, & assertive behaviors• Assertiveness – important life skill• Handling criticism/verbal attacks in general• Handling criticism/verbal attacks against your ideas• Role play – group exercise• Summary
3 CategoriesPassive – do not confront problems & people, dislike ‘rocking the boat’Aggressive – ignores other people’s feelings, open & direct, not good at taking criticismAssertive – able to state views/opinions w/o upsetting others, ‘win-win’ situation, proactive
So what exactly does assertiveness mean?It is getting your thoughts across anddealing with a situation in a straightforwardmanner without harming others.
Why is this important?• Because it is an essential workplace skill.• Because genuinely assertive people are better to work with. They establish more effective relationships.• Technical and professional skills are highlighted by excellent interpersonal skills
Traits of an assertive person• Confident in a relaxed way• Able to openly state views/opinions w/o upsetting others• Do not ignore problems – looks for ‘win-win situations’• Proactive – looks for solutions instead of blaming others• Able to admit mistakes w/o excessive apologizing
The Assertiveness Continuum of BehaviorPassive Assertive AggressiveSelf-denying Self-enhancing Self-enhancing at expense of othersInhibited Expressive Over-expressiveOthers choose Choose for self Choose for othersUncertain, anxious, Confident, feels Depreciates othersdepreciates self good about selfDoes not achieve May achieve Achieves desireddesired goal(s) desired goal(s) goal(s) at expense of others
Handling criticism in generalPassive Assertive AggressiveResponse Response ResponseYou simply Maintain self You simplyaccept criticism esteem if attack back criticism is true and defuse critic’s anger
3 assertive techniques to use for handling criticism• Fogging – this is useful if there’s some truth to the criticism or attacker is very angry• Agree with any truth in criticism“Yes I did come in late last night.”
More fogging techniques• Agree with the possibility you could be wrong“Yes, I might have come in late other nights this month.”• Agree with attacker’s logic“Yes, I can understand why you think I’m selfish.”
Last 2 fogging techniques• Accept attacker’s feelings“I can understand why you are feeling angry with me.”• Allow for improvement“Yes, I could get in earlier.”*By keeping calm, you control the situation.
2 assertive technique to use nd for handling criticism2. Negative assertion – use this if you know for sure you have done something wrong. If you calmly admit mistake w/o excessive apologizing, both you and attacker can maintain dignity and anger of attacker is defused.
Negative assertion techniques• Agree with criticism“Yes, I do talk too much in class.”“Yes, I am moody sometimes.”• Agree with the critic’s values“Yes, I should have worked harder.”“Yes, what I said last night was stupid.”
Should I say I’m sorry?Yes but only if you really are.An insincere apology can just make the situation worse.
3 assertive technique rd to use for handling criticism3. Negative Inquiry – best to use if:c) You are not sure why you are being criticizedd) You suspect that the criticism is not based on factual evidencee) You have a strong hunch that critic is trying to manipulate you.
Negative InquiryCritic: “I think you’re really selfish.”You: Hhmm, can you give examples of howand when I’ve acted selfishly?Critic: “I’m really disappointed at yourperformance in this project.”You: Oh, can you tell me what I’ve done todisappoint you?
What to do when your ideas get attackedThis is a useful life skill.Ideas – part of our identity.Rejection of our ideas – rejection of us.
Technique?Try and anticipate their attack and plan ways to allow them to save face.To allow a person to save face you must find something to agree with in their argument against your idea.
6 assertive sentences to try• Agreeing in principle: “As a general rule you’re absolutely right …”• Agree with part of their argument: “Of course you’re absolutely right that …”• Admit it is a reasonable argument: “Yes, what you are saying is very logical …”
6 assertive sentences to try4. Appreciate their feeling: “I can totally understand why you feel that way …”5. Raise objections as an afterthought: “Yes that seems true … but if …”6. Show that you have anticipated that attack: “Thank you, I was hoping that someone was going to mention that …” (useful if presenting idea at meetings!)
Sentence to watch out for“I don’t want to be rude but …”- simple warning that person saying it is about to be very rude/aggressive
Let’s do a quick reflection exerciseWrite down a circumstance when you have been criticized recently:• How did you react? Which approach did you use?• What was the effect on both you & your critic when you used that approach?• Which assertive strategies could you have used instead?
So we’ve gone over:• Assertiveness test & interpretation of results• Define passive, aggressive, & assertive behaviors• Assertiveness – important life skill• Handling criticism/verbal attacks in general• Handling criticism/verbal attacks against your ideas• Role play – group exercise
To conclude: What happens when you behave assertively?• You feel more comfortable with yourself• Your self-esteem improves• You become more valued and respected• Your technical & professional abilities are highlighted by excellent interpersonal skills
Last noteIn most situations we have the choice to be passive, assertive, or aggressive. Being assertive is often the best choice.