You Have The Right to Say No.

Golden chick and a cat standing face to face

 

 

 

YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO, BUT DO YOU HAVE THE GUTS?

Are you assertive? Your interviewer will be trying to find this out – when you land in a job interview..
Unless you have trained yourself in assertiveness skills, it is unlikely that you can:

• Speak up when necessary.
• Stand up for what is right.
• Voice your feelings politely but firmly.
• Say no when you are not sure that you can actually do the job.

Interviewers check to see if you can be assertive or are a basically shy person. There are simple ways to identify this during an interview. Given a choice, they would like persons who are assertive and can take up leadership roles later. If you are shy, passive or non-assertive, you will miss out and will not even know – why?

Assertiveness is not necessarily aggressive. Expressing your feelings, needs, ideas, and rights in ways that don’t violate the rights of others is assertiveness. Such people are honest, direct, expressive, spontaneous, and self-enhancing.

Assertive persons make their own choices, are confident, and feel good about themselves. They usually achieve their goals; when they don’t, they still feel good about themselves because they know they have been straightforward. Acting assertively reinforces their good feelings about themselves, improves self-confidence, and creates free, honest, and open relationships with others.

Non-assertive people, on the other hand, cannot easily express what they are going through. They keep their feelings bottled in. They often ignore their own personal rights, and allow others to affect them. Often, such behaviour leads to partial dishonesty, indirect answers to simple questions, inhibited expression, and self-denial.

Non-assertive persons often let other people choose for them and end up feeling disappointed in themselves and angry with the world (including themselves). They are passive doormats who are constantly beating themselves.

People often choose non-assertive behaviour to avoid unpleasant situations, tension, conflict, and confrontation.
Why are we shy of asserting ourselves?

We don’t want to pick up a fight. Assertive behaviour appears, to most of us, to be aggressive. And we don’t like aggressive behaviour, either in others or in ourselves. So we avoid it. But – with a little practice we can easily learn to be politely assertive.

We do not decide our own limits in advance. You must decide your limits of acceptance in most common situations

– In advance. Asserting it then becomes easy. If you don’t, you can end up either being passive and inactive or being unduly aggressive.

We feel it is inappropriate to be assertive. There are tricky situations where you have to be careful– with your boss for example! Normally we accept whatever the boss says because we don’t want to displease him. However, if you need to disclose some information which is unpleasant, you must assert yourself and disagree before things get out of hand. In fact, if it turns out that due to your silence the boss was embarrassed, he may lose confidence in you.

We do not want to end up in an argument. Often we do not assert ourselves to avoid controversy or argument. We convince ourselves that it is none of our business. Say you are in a company meeting and a colleague feels that he should not be given a certain job for some reason. He explains the reasons to the boss who is chairing the meeting. You feel that his arguments are not convincing and it is appropriate that he actually handles it. It is your business to speak up. Otherwise the job will end up with you.

We do not want to hurt others. At times we do not assert ourselves because it may offend others and expose their shortcomings. However, in the interests of the Company, it may be required. It is then your duty to be assertive and reveal the flaw; but you must do it politely; without hurting feelings. This requires good communication skills, good command of the language and an ability to observe issues from several points of view.

Assertiveness as a job requirement

Most jobs require you to have qualities of assertiveness. That is why employers are looking for it in the candidates during the interviews.

Assume you are in charge of a machine shop which produces bearings. Your shop has a capacity of 1000 bearings a week, but due to a breakdown of 2 machines, the capacity has temporarily reduced to 500 bearings a week. The maintenance team has been struggling to repair the machines but are not making much headway.

At a production meeting, your boss commits to the chairman to enhance production by overtime to produce 1500 bearings the next week to meet an emergency commitment. You know that this can only be done if the 2 machines are repaired by tomorrow, which is highly improbable. You need to assert yourself at this stage and speak up though it may embarrass your boss. If you do not, it will embarrass everyone later and you will be blamed for it.

Not asserting yourself when you actually want to do so bottles up your feelings and causes stress and discomfort. It could also result in depression, resentment, or frustration. A conflict develops within us if we want to express a feeling but cannot do so. We end up feeling incapable. If we represent or lead a team, we let down the team and this adds to our personal stress.
Techniques

There are two simple techniques to learn how to assert yourself ourselves even if you are shy by nature.

Fogging

In this technique, you provide only a minimum response in placating terms – not meeting the demands – but agreeing with obvious truths. You must, however, remain calm throughout the response.

For example, the boss may say “you are late with the report again. I am fed up with this behaviour of yours.”

Response: “I am later than I hoped to be, and I can see that my being late has annoyed you”.

It can be followed by ….. “The work did get delayed” (an obvious truth) ……… “There were more hold ups than

anticipated”………. “The delay was a little embarrassing” etc. till the situation becomes calm.

Stuck Gramophone Record

This involves repeating your point of view several times calmly, ignoring any logic being used by the other person.

This repetition will, invariably, wear down the other person and make him relent.

Marketing personnel use this technique often to ingrain an idea in another person’s mind till he subconsciously accepts it.

Developing Assertiveness

Assertiveness can also be developed as a skill – a way of life. However, as with most behavioural issues, it starts with awareness – becoming aware of the way we behave in certain circumstances. We need to become aware of the times when we feel a certain way but cannot express it and keep it within ourselves. This usually occurs due to one or a combination of the following traits:

Low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence: This is one of the most common reasons for non-assertive behaviour. You can be confident if you have done your home-work and are knowledgeable. If you have not done so, it is better to keep quiet.

Role of the job: Very often the job itself demands that we “listen to the boss”. Most military roles fall into this class. However, if a junior commander is not assertive, the General may over commit and lose the battle.

Another example is that of a pilot of a VIP aircraft. He is generally ordered to fly and is not expected to protest or be assertive; otherwise he risks losing his job! However, if the weather or aircraft conditions are dangerous, he had better assert himself!
Past Experience: We often model our behaviour based on our observation of our parents or teachers whom we have observed in our younger years. If they were persons who politely listened to others, we do the same – even when the situation demands that we protest and speak up! For such persons, being assertive violates our image of proper behaviour.

Stress of living: Some people are too stressed out with life and do not want to add further stress by being assertive.They prefer to remain unassertive; which, to them, is less stressful.

Nature: Some people are, shy by nature. They are quiet and introverted and simply do not express themselves anywhere, unless forced to do so. For them, being assertive is unnatural; hence they remain aloof and quiet.

Once we have identified which of the above traits applies to us, we can work on them and gradually improve . We can decide in advance how we would like to respond, remind ourselves to remain calm, and actually try them out in small steps. In time we will learn to be assertive without offending people.

As Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., puts it, we need to observe a few rules to learn the assertiveness skill. These are:

Start Small: In mildly tense situations, she says, like in a restaurant, request for a different seat! Then work up to more difficult situations – like asking your boss for a different type of job – or a raise etc.
Learn to say “NO”: Practice polite ways of saying “NO”. “You are busy the whole week” or “It’s just that you are too full with work already and you can take up extra work only after you have finished your existing commitments” – practice these in advance and you will find it easy to say them when it becomes necessary – she says.
Let go of guilt: If you have been a “people pleaser” all your life, it may be a little difficult to suddenly become assertive. Even if you can bring yourself to actually make some assertive statements, it may leave you with a feeling of guilt. You may look at assertiveness as hurting the other person. It also reveals your own sensitivity to hearing “no” as an answer to any of your requirements. Such people hesitate to even ask for help – they hate “no” for an answer! Others have a right to say “no” and so have you. Just let go of the guilt. Practice it.
Express your needs and feelings: One form of lack of assertiveness is not expressing your own needs and feelings – and expecting others to imagine them! It leads to frustration and stress. If you want others to be on time, tell them. If you want them to be properly dressed – say so. If you want them to finish the day’s job the same day and not carry it forward, tell them so explicitly. Be clear. Be firm. Be assertive.

In conclusion, remember that assertiveness is a right and you do not have to request for it. Looked at in this way, it gives you the strength to act and not be shy. Everyone, and that includes you – has a right to express their feelings, beliefs, opinions and values. Everyone has a right to change their mind – and so have you! You have a right to make decisions, say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand”. Everyone has a right to say “No”, everyone has a right to privacy, to personal freedom – but it should be exercised with due respect to others feelings. It should be asserted politely.

Here is a small video on developing assertive skills. Watch it – practice it – it is effective.
Remember that assertiveness is a quality employers are looking for,

but seldom find.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY NO?

 

 

 

Are you assertive? Your interviewer will be trying to find this out – when you land in a job interview..

 

 

Unless you have trained yourself in assertiveness skills, it is unlikely that you can:

 

  • Speak up when necessary.
  • Stand up for what is right.
  • Voice your feelings politely but firmly.
  • Say no when you are not sure that you can actually do the job.

 

Interviewers check to see if you can be assertive or are a basically shy person. There are simple ways to identify this during an interview. Given a choice, they would like persons who are assertive and can take up leadership roles later. If you are shy, passive or non-assertive, you will miss out and will not even know – why?

 

Assertiveness is not necessarily aggressive. Expressing your feelings, needs, ideas, and rights in ways that don’t violate the rights of others is assertiveness.  Such people are honest, direct, expressive, spontaneous, and self-enhancing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assertive persons make their own choices, are confident, and feel good about themselves. They usually achieve their goals; when they don’t, they still feel good about themselves because they know they have been straightforward. Acting assertively reinforces their good feelings about themselves, improves self-confidence, and creates free, honest, and open relationships with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-assertive people, on the other hand, cannot easily express what they are going through. They keep their feelings bottled in. They often ignore their own personal rights, and allow others to affect them.  Often, such behaviour leads to partial dishonesty, indirect answers to simple questions, inhibited expression, and self-denial.

 

Non-assertive persons often let other people choose for them and end up feeling disappointed in themselves and angry with the world (including themselves). They are passive doormats who are constantly beating themselves.

 

People often choose non-assertive behaviour to avoid unpleasant situations, tension, conflict, and confrontation.

 

 

Why are we shy of asserting ourselves?

 

We don’t want to pick up a fight.                       Assertive behaviour appears, to most of us, to be aggressive. And we don’t like aggressive behaviour, either in others or in ourselves. So we avoid it. But – with a little practice we can easily learn to be politely assertive.

 

We do not decide our own limits in advance.                     You must decide your limits of acceptance in most common situations

 

– In advance. Asserting it then becomes easy. If you don’t, you can end up either being passive and inactive or being unduly aggressive.

 

We feel it is inappropriate to be assertive.             There are tricky situations where you have to be careful– with your boss for example! Normally we accept whatever the boss says because we don’t want to displease him. However, if you need to disclose some information which is unpleasant, you must assert yourself and disagree before things get out of hand. In fact, if it turns out that due to your silence the boss was embarrassed, he may lose confidence in you.

 

We do not want to end up in an argument.              Often we do not assert ourselves to avoid controversy or argument. We convince ourselves that it is none of our business. Say you are in a company meeting and a colleague feels that he should not be given a certain job for some reason. He explains the reasons to the boss who is chairing the meeting. You feel that his arguments are not convincing and it is appropriate that he actually handles it.  It is your business to speak up. Otherwise the job will end up with you.

 

We do not want to hurt others.               At times we do not assert ourselves because it may offend others and expose their shortcomings. However, in the interests of the Company, it may be required. It is then your duty to be assertive and reveal the flaw; but you must do it politely; without hurting feelings. This requires good communication skills, good command of the language and an ability to observe issues from several points of view.

 

Assertiveness as a job requirement

 

Most jobs require you to have qualities of assertiveness. That is why employers are looking for it in the candidates during the interviews.

 

Assume you are in charge of a machine shop which produces bearings. Your shop has a capacity of 1000 bearings a week, but due to a breakdown of 2 machines, the capacity has temporarily reduced to 500 bearings a week. The maintenance team has been struggling to repair the machines but are not making much headway.

 

At a production meeting, your boss commits to the chairman to enhance production by overtime to produce 1500 bearings the next week to meet an emergency commitment. You know that this can only be done if the 2 machines are repaired by tomorrow, which is highly improbable. You need to assert yourself at this stage and speak up though it may embarrass your boss. If you do not, it will embarrass everyone later and you will be blamed for it.

 

Not asserting yourself when you actually want to do so bottles up your feelings and causes stress and discomfort. It could also result in depression, resentment, or frustration. A conflict develops within us if we want to express a feeling but cannot do so. We end up feeling incapable. If we represent or lead a team, we let down the team and this adds to our personal stress.

 

 

Techniques

 

There are two simple techniques to learn how to assert yourself ourselves even if you are shy by nature.

 

Fogging

 

In this technique, you provide only a minimum response in placating terms – not meeting the demands – but agreeing with obvious truths. You must, however, remain calm throughout the response.

 

For example, the boss may say “you are late with the report again. I am fed up with this behaviour of yours.”

 

Response: “I am later than I hoped to be, and I can see that my being late has annoyed you”.

 

It can be followed by ….. “The work did get delayed” (an obvious truth) ……… “There were more hold ups than

 

anticipated”………. “The delay was a little embarrassing” etc. till the situation becomes calm.

 

Stuck Gramophone Record

 

This involves repeating your point of view several times calmly, ignoring any logic being used by the other person.

 

This repetition will, invariably, wear down the other person and make him relent.

 

Marketing personnel use this technique often to ingrain an idea in another person’s mind till he subconsciously accepts it.

 

Developing Assertiveness

 

Assertiveness can also be developed as a skill – a way of life. However, as with most behavioural issues, it starts with awareness – becoming aware of the way we behave in certain circumstances. We need to become aware of the times when we feel a certain way but cannot express it and keep it within ourselves. This usually occurs due to one or a combination of the following traits:

 

Low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence:    This is one of the most common reasons for non-assertive behaviour. You can be confident if you have done your home-work and are knowledgeable. If you have not done so, it is better to keep quiet.

 

Role of the job:       Very often the job itself demands that we “listen to the boss”. Most military roles fall into this class. However, if a junior commander is not assertive, the General may over commit and lose the battle.

 

Another example is that of a pilot of a VIP aircraft. He is generally ordered to fly and is not expected to protest or be assertive; otherwise he risks losing his job! However, if the weather or aircraft conditions are dangerous, he had better assert himself!

 

 

Past Experience:     We often model our behaviour based on our observation of our parents or teachers whom we have observed in our younger years. If they were persons who politely listened to others, we do the same – even when the situation demands that we protest and speak up! For such persons, being assertive violates our image of proper behaviour.

 

            Stress of living: Some people are too stressed out with life and do not want to add further stress by being             assertive.They prefer to remain unassertive; which, to them, is less stressful.

           

            Nature:          Some people are, shy by nature. They are quiet and introverted and simply do not             express themselves anywhere, unless forced to do so. For them, being assertive is unnatural; hence they     remain aloof and quiet.

 

Once we have identified which of the above traits applies to us, we can work on them and gradually             improve . We can decide in advance how we would like to respond, remind ourselves to remain calm, and      actually try them out in small steps. In time we will learn to be assertive without offending people.

 

 

 

As Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., puts it, we need to observe a few rules to learn the assertiveness skill. These   are:

 

            Start Small:     In mildly tense situations, she says, like in a restaurant, request for a different seat! Then    work up to more difficult situations – like asking your boss for a different type of job – or a raise etc.

 

 

            Learn to say “NO”:      Practice polite ways of saying “NO”. “You are busy the whole week” or “It’s just that      you are too full with work already and you can take up extra work only after you have finished your existing           commitments” – practice these in advance and you will find it easy to say them when it becomes necessary        – she says.

 

 

            Let go of guilt: If you have been a “people pleaser” all your life, it may be a little difficult to suddenly become           assertive. Even if you can bring yourself to actually make some assertive statements, it may leave you with a        feeling of guilt. You may look at assertiveness as hurting the other person. It also reveals your own sensitivity        to hearing “no” as an answer to any of your requirements. Such people hesitate to even ask for help – they       hate “no” for an answer! Others have a right to say “no” and so have you. Just let go of the guilt. Practice it.

 

 

            Express your needs and feelings: One form of lack of assertiveness is not expressing your own needs and             feelings – and expecting others to imagine them! It leads to frustration and stress. If you want others to be on        time, tell them. If you want them to be properly dressed – say so. If you want them to finish the day’s job the       same day and not carry it forward, tell them so explicitly. Be clear. Be firm. Be assertive.

 

In conclusion, remember that assertiveness is a right and you do not have to request for it. Looked at in this way, it gives you the strength to act and not be shy. Everyone, and that includes you – has a right to express their feelings, beliefs, opinions and values. Everyone has a right to change their mind – and so have you! You have a right to make decisions, say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand”. Everyone has a right to say “No”, everyone has a right to privacy, to personal freedom – but it should be exercised with due respect to others feelings. It should be asserted politely.

 

 

 

Here is a small video on developing assertive skills. Watch it – practice it – it is effective.

 

 

Remember that assertiveness is a quality employers are looking for,

 

but seldom find.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY NO?

 

 

 

Are you assertive? Your interviewer will be trying to find this out – when you land in a job interview..

 

 

Unless you have trained yourself in assertiveness skills, it is unlikely that you can:

 

  • Speak up when necessary.
  • Stand up for what is right.
  • Voice your feelings politely but firmly.
  • Say no when you are not sure that you can actually do the job.

 

Interviewers check to see if you can be assertive or are a basically shy person. There are simple ways to identify this during an interview. Given a choice, they would like persons who are assertive and can take up leadership roles later. If you are shy, passive or non-assertive, you will miss out and will not even know – why?

 

Assertiveness is not necessarily aggressive. Expressing your feelings, needs, ideas, and rights in ways that don’t violate the rights of others is assertiveness.  Such people are honest, direct, expressive, spontaneous, and self-enhancing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assertive persons make their own choices, are confident, and feel good about themselves. They usually achieve their goals; when they don’t, they still feel good about themselves because they know they have been straightforward. Acting assertively reinforces their good feelings about themselves, improves self-confidence, and creates free, honest, and open relationships with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-assertive people, on the other hand, cannot easily express what they are going through. They keep their feelings bottled in. They often ignore their own personal rights, and allow others to affect them.  Often, such behaviour leads to partial dishonesty, indirect answers to simple questions, inhibited expression, and self-denial.

 

Non-assertive persons often let other people choose for them and end up feeling disappointed in themselves and angry with the world (including themselves). They are passive doormats who are constantly beating themselves.

 

People often choose non-assertive behaviour to avoid unpleasant situations, tension, conflict, and confrontation.

 

 

Why are we shy of asserting ourselves?

 

We don’t want to pick up a fight.                       Assertive behaviour appears, to most of us, to be aggressive. And we don’t like aggressive behaviour, either in others or in ourselves. So we avoid it. But – with a little practice we can easily learn to be politely assertive.

 

We do not decide our own limits in advance.                     You must decide your limits of acceptance in most common situations

 

– In advance. Asserting it then becomes easy. If you don’t, you can end up either being passive and inactive or being unduly aggressive.

 

We feel it is inappropriate to be assertive.             There are tricky situations where you have to be careful– with your boss for example! Normally we accept whatever the boss says because we don’t want to displease him. However, if you need to disclose some information which is unpleasant, you must assert yourself and disagree before things get out of hand. In fact, if it turns out that due to your silence the boss was embarrassed, he may lose confidence in you.

 

We do not want to end up in an argument.              Often we do not assert ourselves to avoid controversy or argument. We convince ourselves that it is none of our business. Say you are in a company meeting and a colleague feels that he should not be given a certain job for some reason. He explains the reasons to the boss who is chairing the meeting. You feel that his arguments are not convincing and it is appropriate that he actually handles it.  It is your business to speak up. Otherwise the job will end up with you.

 

We do not want to hurt others.               At times we do not assert ourselves because it may offend others and expose their shortcomings. However, in the interests of the Company, it may be required. It is then your duty to be assertive and reveal the flaw; but you must do it politely; without hurting feelings. This requires good communication skills, good command of the language and an ability to observe issues from several points of view.

 

Assertiveness as a job requirement

 

Most jobs require you to have qualities of assertiveness. That is why employers are looking for it in the candidates during the interviews.

 

Assume you are in charge of a machine shop which produces bearings. Your shop has a capacity of 1000 bearings a week, but due to a breakdown of 2 machines, the capacity has temporarily reduced to 500 bearings a week. The maintenance team has been struggling to repair the machines but are not making much headway.

 

At a production meeting, your boss commits to the chairman to enhance production by overtime to produce 1500 bearings the next week to meet an emergency commitment. You know that this can only be done if the 2 machines are repaired by tomorrow, which is highly improbable. You need to assert yourself at this stage and speak up though it may embarrass your boss. If you do not, it will embarrass everyone later and you will be blamed for it.

 

Not asserting yourself when you actually want to do so bottles up your feelings and causes stress and discomfort. It could also result in depression, resentment, or frustration. A conflict develops within us if we want to express a feeling but cannot do so. We end up feeling incapable. If we represent or lead a team, we let down the team and this adds to our personal stress.

 

 

Techniques

 

There are two simple techniques to learn how to assert yourself ourselves even if you are shy by nature.

 

Fogging

 

In this technique, you provide only a minimum response in placating terms – not meeting the demands – but agreeing with obvious truths. You must, however, remain calm throughout the response.

 

For example, the boss may say “you are late with the report again. I am fed up with this behaviour of yours.”

 

Response: “I am later than I hoped to be, and I can see that my being late has annoyed you”.

 

It can be followed by ….. “The work did get delayed” (an obvious truth) ……… “There were more hold ups than

 

anticipated”………. “The delay was a little embarrassing” etc. till the situation becomes calm.

 

Stuck Gramophone Record

 

This involves repeating your point of view several times calmly, ignoring any logic being used by the other person.

 

This repetition will, invariably, wear down the other person and make him relent.

 

Marketing personnel use this technique often to ingrain an idea in another person’s mind till he subconsciously accepts it.

 

Developing Assertiveness

 

Assertiveness can also be developed as a skill – a way of life. However, as with most behavioural issues, it starts with awareness – becoming aware of the way we behave in certain circumstances. We need to become aware of the times when we feel a certain way but cannot express it and keep it within ourselves. This usually occurs due to one or a combination of the following traits:

 

Low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence:    This is one of the most common reasons for non-assertive behaviour. You can be confident if you have done your home-work and are knowledgeable. If you have not done so, it is better to keep quiet.

 

Role of the job:       Very often the job itself demands that we “listen to the boss”. Most military roles fall into this class. However, if a junior commander is not assertive, the General may over commit and lose the battle.

 

Another example is that of a pilot of a VIP aircraft. He is generally ordered to fly and is not expected to protest or be assertive; otherwise he risks losing his job! However, if the weather or aircraft conditions are dangerous, he had better assert himself!

 

 

Past Experience:     We often model our behaviour based on our observation of our parents or teachers whom we have observed in our younger years. If they were persons who politely listened to others, we do the same – even when the situation demands that we protest and speak up! For such persons, being assertive violates our image of proper behaviour.

 

            Stress of living: Some people are too stressed out with life and do not want to add further stress by being             assertive.They prefer to remain unassertive; which, to them, is less stressful.

           

            Nature:          Some people are, shy by nature. They are quiet and introverted and simply do not             express themselves anywhere, unless forced to do so. For them, being assertive is unnatural; hence they     remain aloof and quiet.

 

Once we have identified which of the above traits applies to us, we can work on them and gradually             improve . We can decide in advance how we would like to respond, remind ourselves to remain calm, and      actually try them out in small steps. In time we will learn to be assertive without offending people.

 

 

 

As Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., puts it, we need to observe a few rules to learn the assertiveness skill. These   are:

 

            Start Small:     In mildly tense situations, she says, like in a restaurant, request for a different seat! Then    work up to more difficult situations – like asking your boss for a different type of job – or a raise etc.

 

 

            Learn to say “NO”:      Practice polite ways of saying “NO”. “You are busy the whole week” or “It’s just that      you are too full with work already and you can take up extra work only after you have finished your existing           commitments” – practice these in advance and you will find it easy to say them when it becomes necessary        – she says.

 

 

            Let go of guilt: If you have been a “people pleaser” all your life, it may be a little difficult to suddenly become           assertive. Even if you can bring yourself to actually make some assertive statements, it may leave you with a        feeling of guilt. You may look at assertiveness as hurting the other person. It also reveals your own sensitivity        to hearing “no” as an answer to any of your requirements. Such people hesitate to even ask for help – they       hate “no” for an answer! Others have a right to say “no” and so have you. Just let go of the guilt. Practice it.

 

 

            Express your needs and feelings: One form of lack of assertiveness is not expressing your own needs and             feelings – and expecting others to imagine them! It leads to frustration and stress. If you want others to be on        time, tell them. If you want them to be properly dressed – say so. If you want them to finish the day’s job the       same day and not carry it forward, tell them so explicitly. Be clear. Be firm. Be assertive.

 

In conclusion, remember that assertiveness is a right and you do not have to request for it. Looked at in this way, it gives you the strength to act and not be shy. Everyone, and that includes you – has a right to express their feelings, beliefs, opinions and values. Everyone has a right to change their mind – and so have you! You have a right to make decisions, say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand”. Everyone has a right to say “No”, everyone has a right to privacy, to personal freedom – but it should be exercised with due respect to others feelings. It should be asserted politely.

 

 

 

Here is a small video on developing assertive skills. Watch it – practice it – it is effective.

 

 

Remember that assertiveness is a quality employers are looking for,

 

but seldom find.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY NO?

 

 

 

Are you assertive? Your interviewer will be trying to find this out – when you land in a job interview..

 

 

Unless you have trained yourself in assertiveness skills, it is unlikely that you can:

 

  • Speak up when necessary.
  • Stand up for what is right.
  • Voice your feelings politely but firmly.
  • Say no when you are not sure that you can actually do the job.

 

Interviewers check to see if you can be assertive or are a basically shy person. There are simple ways to identify this during an interview. Given a choice, they would like persons who are assertive and can take up leadership roles later. If you are shy, passive or non-assertive, you will miss out and will not even know – why?

 

Assertiveness is not necessarily aggressive. Expressing your feelings, needs, ideas, and rights in ways that don’t violate the rights of others is assertiveness.  Such people are honest, direct, expressive, spontaneous, and self-enhancing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assertive persons make their own choices, are confident, and feel good about themselves. They usually achieve their goals; when they don’t, they still feel good about themselves because they know they have been straightforward. Acting assertively reinforces their good feelings about themselves, improves self-confidence, and creates free, honest, and open relationships with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-assertive people, on the other hand, cannot easily express what they are going through. They keep their feelings bottled in. They often ignore their own personal rights, and allow others to affect them.  Often, such behaviour leads to partial dishonesty, indirect answers to simple questions, inhibited expression, and self-denial.

 

Non-assertive persons often let other people choose for them and end up feeling disappointed in themselves and angry with the world (including themselves). They are passive doormats who are constantly beating themselves.

 

People often choose non-assertive behaviour to avoid unpleasant situations, tension, conflict, and confrontation.

 

 

Why are we shy of asserting ourselves?

 

We don’t want to pick up a fight.                       Assertive behaviour appears, to most of us, to be aggressive. And we don’t like aggressive behaviour, either in others or in ourselves. So we avoid it. But – with a little practice we can easily learn to be politely assertive.

 

We do not decide our own limits in advance.                     You must decide your limits of acceptance in most common situations

 

– In advance. Asserting it then becomes easy. If you don’t, you can end up either being passive and inactive or being unduly aggressive.

 

We feel it is inappropriate to be assertive.             There are tricky situations where you have to be careful– with your boss for example! Normally we accept whatever the boss says because we don’t want to displease him. However, if you need to disclose some information which is unpleasant, you must assert yourself and disagree before things get out of hand. In fact, if it turns out that due to your silence the boss was embarrassed, he may lose confidence in you.

 

We do not want to end up in an argument.              Often we do not assert ourselves to avoid controversy or argument. We convince ourselves that it is none of our business. Say you are in a company meeting and a colleague feels that he should not be given a certain job for some reason. He explains the reasons to the boss who is chairing the meeting. You feel that his arguments are not convincing and it is appropriate that he actually handles it.  It is your business to speak up. Otherwise the job will end up with you.

 

We do not want to hurt others.               At times we do not assert ourselves because it may offend others and expose their shortcomings. However, in the interests of the Company, it may be required. It is then your duty to be assertive and reveal the flaw; but you must do it politely; without hurting feelings. This requires good communication skills, good command of the language and an ability to observe issues from several points of view.

 

Assertiveness as a job requirement

 

Most jobs require you to have qualities of assertiveness. That is why employers are looking for it in the candidates during the interviews.

 

Assume you are in charge of a machine shop which produces bearings. Your shop has a capacity of 1000 bearings a week, but due to a breakdown of 2 machines, the capacity has temporarily reduced to 500 bearings a week. The maintenance team has been struggling to repair the machines but are not making much headway.

 

At a production meeting, your boss commits to the chairman to enhance production by overtime to produce 1500 bearings the next week to meet an emergency commitment. You know that this can only be done if the 2 machines are repaired by tomorrow, which is highly improbable. You need to assert yourself at this stage and speak up though it may embarrass your boss. If you do not, it will embarrass everyone later and you will be blamed for it.

 

Not asserting yourself when you actually want to do so bottles up your feelings and causes stress and discomfort. It could also result in depression, resentment, or frustration. A conflict develops within us if we want to express a feeling but cannot do so. We end up feeling incapable. If we represent or lead a team, we let down the team and this adds to our personal stress.

 

 

Techniques

 

There are two simple techniques to learn how to assert yourself ourselves even if you are shy by nature.

 

Fogging

 

In this technique, you provide only a minimum response in placating terms – not meeting the demands – but agreeing with obvious truths. You must, however, remain calm throughout the response.

 

For example, the boss may say “you are late with the report again. I am fed up with this behaviour of yours.”

 

Response: “I am later than I hoped to be, and I can see that my being late has annoyed you”.

 

It can be followed by ….. “The work did get delayed” (an obvious truth) ……… “There were more hold ups than

 

anticipated”………. “The delay was a little embarrassing” etc. till the situation becomes calm.

 

Stuck Gramophone Record

 

This involves repeating your point of view several times calmly, ignoring any logic being used by the other person.

 

This repetition will, invariably, wear down the other person and make him relent.

 

Marketing personnel use this technique often to ingrain an idea in another person’s mind till he subconsciously accepts it.

 

Developing Assertiveness

 

Assertiveness can also be developed as a skill – a way of life. However, as with most behavioural issues, it starts with awareness – becoming aware of the way we behave in certain circumstances. We need to become aware of the times when we feel a certain way but cannot express it and keep it within ourselves. This usually occurs due to one or a combination of the following traits:

 

Low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence:    This is one of the most common reasons for non-assertive behaviour. You can be confident if you have done your home-work and are knowledgeable. If you have not done so, it is better to keep quiet.

 

Role of the job:       Very often the job itself demands that we “listen to the boss”. Most military roles fall into this class. However, if a junior commander is not assertive, the General may over commit and lose the battle.

 

Another example is that of a pilot of a VIP aircraft. He is generally ordered to fly and is not expected to protest or be assertive; otherwise he risks losing his job! However, if the weather or aircraft conditions are dangerous, he had better assert himself!

 

 

Past Experience:     We often model our behaviour based on our observation of our parents or teachers whom we have observed in our younger years. If they were persons who politely listened to others, we do the same – even when the situation demands that we protest and speak up! For such persons, being assertive violates our image of proper behaviour.

 

            Stress of living: Some people are too stressed out with life and do not want to add further stress by being             assertive.They prefer to remain unassertive; which, to them, is less stressful.

           

            Nature:          Some people are, shy by nature. They are quiet and introverted and simply do not             express themselves anywhere, unless forced to do so. For them, being assertive is unnatural; hence they     remain aloof and quiet.

 

Once we have identified which of the above traits applies to us, we can work on them and gradually             improve . We can decide in advance how we would like to respond, remind ourselves to remain calm, and      actually try them out in small steps. In time we will learn to be assertive without offending people.

 

 

 

As Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., puts it, we need to observe a few rules to learn the assertiveness skill. These   are:

 

            Start Small:     In mildly tense situations, she says, like in a restaurant, request for a different seat! Then    work up to more difficult situations – like asking your boss for a different type of job – or a raise etc.

 

 

            Learn to say “NO”:      Practice polite ways of saying “NO”. “You are busy the whole week” or “It’s just that      you are too full with work already and you can take up extra work only after you have finished your existing           commitments” – practice these in advance and you will find it easy to say them when it becomes necessary        – she says.

 

 

            Let go of guilt: If you have been a “people pleaser” all your life, it may be a little difficult to suddenly become           assertive. Even if you can bring yourself to actually make some assertive statements, it may leave you with a        feeling of guilt. You may look at assertiveness as hurting the other person. It also reveals your own sensitivity        to hearing “no” as an answer to any of your requirements. Such people hesitate to even ask for help – they       hate “no” for an answer! Others have a right to say “no” and so have you. Just let go of the guilt. Practice it.

 

 

            Express your needs and feelings: One form of lack of assertiveness is not expressing your own needs and             feelings – and expecting others to imagine them! It leads to frustration and stress. If you want others to be on        time, tell them. If you want them to be properly dressed – say so. If you want them to finish the day’s job the       same day and not carry it forward, tell them so explicitly. Be clear. Be firm. Be assertive.

 

In conclusion, remember that assertiveness is a right and you do not have to request for it. Looked at in this way, it gives you the strength to act and not be shy. Everyone, and that includes you – has a right to express their feelings, beliefs, opinions and values. Everyone has a right to change their mind – and so have you! You have a right to make decisions, say “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand”. Everyone has a right to say “No”, everyone has a right to privacy, to personal freedom – but it should be exercised with due respect to others feelings. It should be asserted politely.

 

 

 

Here is a small video on developing assertive skills. Watch it – practice it – it is effective.

 

 

Remember that assertiveness is a quality employers are looking for,

 

but seldom find.


 

Be the first to comment on "You Have The Right to Say No."

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*