Module 2, Session 3
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Describing Assertive Behaviour

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Before we get to describing assertive behaviour, we first need to understand some other behaviours. When we look at assertiveness, we tend to look at it alongside:

  • Passive
  • Aggressive
  • Passive/Aggressive

We’ll get to these a little later. But, in the meantime, here’s a short video that quickly shows the difference between each.

As you can see in the video, when Emma demonstrates assertiveness, she’s looking for what is described as Win-Win. Something we’ll talk a lot about through the course.

When Emma is aggressive, she wins. When Emma is passive, she loses. When Emma is passive/aggressive no-one wins.

The aim of being assertive is to ensure that both parties get something out of all situations.

Take a look at the graphic below:

Assertiveness is about asking for what you want and need, telling other people about how you feel and knowing your rights. But it’s done with confidence, dignity and respect for others. In other words, it’s understanding that other people also have the right to do those things, and we have to respect that too.

Assertive people don’t demand, they ask. Assertive people don’t bulldozer people into a position, then work with them. Assertive people don’t just tell, they involve. It’s a 2-way thing.

To add to this, it’s all done with confidence. It’s done without emotion. And, most importantly, it’s all done on establishing facts and with control.

Assertiveness isn’t a natural reaction. It’s a learnt reaction. It means that it won’t just happen by itself. We have to learn to be assertive and then use the skills when we need them.

Only once we understand this can we be truly assertive.

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