I was a motivational speaker for a recreation conference last week where we held a passionate discussion about why it's important to be assertive. Early on in the motivational speech we realized most people don't even know when they are bordering on unassertive behavior.
We came up with this list of unassertive behaviours:
- Holding back from providing constructive criticism
- Avoiding escalating problems
- Being unwilling to defend your ideas or work
- Behaving as if there is little or no support for their role
- Putting off driving projects forward
- Being lax in holding other team members accountable
- Delaying asking for help when needed
- Complaining rather than working on issues
- Taking on too much work instead of delegating tasks to others
- Evading taking a position on an issue
- Delays making decisions
- Focusing on the small stuff at the expense of the more important projects
Throughout the motivational speech, these issues came up over and over again. The underlying challenge is an unwillingness to fight for your ideas- so you weaken your overall efforts.
I enjoyed being a motivational speaker for the recreation conference, it was a very warm, extroverted audience- yet they still had issues with assertiveness. This just goes to show that assertiveness is not a personality trait but a quality that you can develop and nurture over time.