How To Reflect On Your Own Assertiveness

Assertion is a key skill in any manager’s toolkit – too little assertion leaves you overworked and highly vulnerable to exploitation, too much assertion opens you to the charge of being a bully and exerting your influence and approach at the expense of others.

The degree to which you are assertive is something that few members of staff will tell you about and you are probably unlikely to receive evaluative feedback on a regular basis.

The key therefore is to ask yourself the following questions, responding truthfully and honestly (or if you are very lucky you could ask a trusted colleague for their responses):

  1. Do specific people in the workplace make you feel intimidated? In what situations? How do you normally react?
  2. What aspects of your job do you dislike the most? What do you tend to put off? What aspects of the job do you feel uncomfortable with?
  3. How self-critical are you? How do you react if you make mistakes? How do you react to being criticised?
  4. Does it matter to you what other people think/say about you? Do you hope that everyone likes you?
  5. Do you tend to accept the blame for things rather than make a fuss?
  6. Do you feel that other people’s work is generally as good, better or worse than yours?
  7. Do you worry a lot about work? What aspects cause you the most concern/stress?
  8. Do you lose your temper at times? In what situations? Whose fault does this tend to be?
  9. Do you find yourself having to apologise often? Do you sometimes feel guilty about the way you have spoken to or treated someone? Do those around you give you have to tread carefully when you are in a particular mood?
  10. Are some people intimidated by you? How does this make you feel?
  11. How competitive are you? Is it important that you always win?
  12. What do you do when someone disagrees with you?
  13. How do you tend to react in a crisis?

The more you assess and understand how your assertiveness is seen and felt by those around you the easier it is to amend and refine your approach.

Treading a middle-path in terms of assertion is an important skill and needs constant refinement and practice if you are to succeed in the role.

Good Luck!

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