How assertive communication improves the work environment

Find out what this concept is and how to apply it in your professional life and personal relationships

The ability to express yourself in a clear, objective, direct and respectful way, that is, to establish assertive communication, makes all the difference in the work environment, from resolving a conflict to asking for a salary increase. 

These skills form the basis of assertive communication, and there are several techniques and examples of how to practice it at work. 

What is assertive communication?

Assertive communication is the ability to speak and interact in a way that is respectful of the opinions and rights of others, while still defending your own rights, needs and boundaries. 

As a technique, it developed in organizational environments as a way to differentiate aggressive and passive-aggressive communication from a respectful and assertive style. 

In addition to clear and objective speech, assertive communication encompasses behaviors and non-verbal language, such as gesture, posture and gaze. 

How important is it for companies?

For companies, this type of communication is extremely important as it is a tool for managing relationships, negotiating, informing and reducing stress. 

It is also a way of developing and improving communication processes in order to create opportunities for discussions with different opinions. 

With the use of assertive communication in companies, needs and choices are welcomed and considered with respect, so that solutions can be found in which everyone wins. 

10 benefits of assertive communication at work

There are several benefits to developing assertive communication at work, as healthy communication makes the corporate environment more effective and pleasant for everyone. 

Furthermore, employees, managers and CEOs who practice it tend to have more self-awareness, a more positive self-image, more self-confidence and self-esteem. 

Assertive communication at work also helps to avoid and resolve interpersonal conflicts, facilitates negotiations and collaborates to find positive solutions. 

Controlling stress, reducing anxiety and strengthening relationships are other benefits of this communication at work and in the corporate environment, 

Types of assertive communication

The types of assertive communication have to do with the type of assertive response given to a given message. 

There are 5 types: basic assertiveness and escalated assertiveness, self-message, confrontational assertion and confrontational assertion.

Basic assertiveness 

It has to do with the personal defense of rights, beliefs, points of view, feelings and opinions and also the recognition of them in others or the simple provision of information. 

Scaled assertiveness 

When basic assertiveness is inefficient and does not produce any effect on the receiver of the message, escalated assertiveness is used.

This type of response is given by increasing or escalating the degree of assertiveness, that is, the sender provides details and new information to the receiver of the message. 

Empathic assertion 

It is one in which there is recognition of a situation and/or validation of the receiver's feelings when he feels offended by the expression of a feeling or desire.

This type is used when the relationship with another is important to the sender or when you want to reduce the likelihood of a defensive reaction from the receiver. 

Confrontation Assertion

This type of response is used when there are contradictions in the message sender's speech, for example, he says something and does the opposite of what is being said. 

When these contradictions are confronted by simply describing them as facts, conflict resolution is more effective, as it avoids a defensive reaction from the interlocutor. 

Message from me 

It is a response in which the person takes responsibility for what they say and/or feel, including expressions of desire, feelings and assertions. 

4 assertive communication techniques

These techniques can be used by anyone in the most different contexts and situations, both personal and professional.

See 4 of them below:

  • Scratched record technique: consists of repeating something more than once without raising the tone, rhythm or volume of the voice and without the intention of clashing;
  • Fog technique: can be summarized by the phrase “the customer is always right”. In other words, it avoids the continuation of a confrontation by giving reason to those who felt injured; 
  • Technique for change: it involves giving a global view of a discussion, relativizing it in order to reduce levels of stress and aggressiveness; 
  • Assertive question technique: is to answer a question that brings a positive aspect to something that is under discussion. 

What is the relationship between good assertive communication and people management?

The relationship between good assertive communication and people management is extremely beneficial, as it improves the organizational environment and climate and facilitates relationships.

Assertive communication also helps to increase productivity, avoiding rework, reduces conflicts and disagreements and strengthens trust and respect between everyone. 

Assertive communication: examples

An example of assertive communication is using the pronoun “I” whenever you want to clearly communicate how you feel to the other person. 

Non-verbal language, such as a smile, eye contact, upright posture and open arms and hands, also denote assertive communication. 

Active listening, reflecting the feelings of the person expressing them, asking for clarification, and repeating key words someone said are other examples. 

10 tips on how to have assertive communication at work

Having assertive communication in the job market is an effective way to cultivate a healthy and productive environment for everyone. 

We selected 10 tips on how to have assertive communication at work based on in this article from the Better Up career development portal. 

  • Always use the pronoun “I” in sentences. In this way, needs are respected and the point of view valued; 
  • Practice eye contact when you are talking to someone; 
  • Use appropriate body language to convey confidence; 
  • Say “no” bluntly when necessary;
  • Rehearse your conversations, presentations and meetings to get an idea of how the message will sound to the receiver; 
  • Make clear and direct requests, avoiding beating around the bush and apologizing; 
  • Speak at the right time and when asked; 
  • Be open feedbacks positive and negative. Avoid minimizing positive criticism and don't get defensive with negative or constructive criticism; 
  • Express yourself positively and avoid negative expressions and speech; 
  • Practice assertive communication in simple and routine situations. 
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