Assertiveness means being able to stand up for your own or other people’s rights and convictions in a calm and positive way, without being aggressive, or passively accepting wrong. It is the middle ground between aggression and passivity. It is an essential skill to be displayed while working with others. Since most people want to be liked and thought of as being ‘nice’, they often keep their opinions to themselves, especially if those opinions are in contradiction to others.

There are stark differences between being assertive or aggressive or passive.

When we take an aggressive approach, we are making sure that only our voices are heard without respecting or listening to the other person. We can display aggression by talking over people, exaggerating and overstating our point, or using words to belittle the other person or their idea in a way that can be easily dismissed.

Being passive means that you’re not respecting yourself and so are not willing to put forward your ideas and thoughts. While at the same time, you’re allowing the other person to overwhelmingly express themselves and dominate.

Assertive behaviour includes the following traits:

  • Starting, changing, or ending conversations
  • Sharing feelings, opinions, and experiences with others
  • Making requests and asking for favors,
  • Refusing others’ requests if they are too demanding
  • Questioning rules or traditions that don’t make sense or don’t seem fair
  • Addressing problems or things that bother you
  • Being firm so that your rights are respected
  • Expressing positive/negative emotions

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