Assertiveness is a Highly Effective Tool

Time Management has a very important tool, that one should start saying no to low priority tasks, that will over burden you but won’t pay anything in return.

By saying ‘Yes’ to doing a report by the end of the day, you are saying ‘No’ to finishing work on time.

By saying ‘Yes’ to taking on a piece of additional work or participating in a new project, you are saying ‘No’ to have time for yourself. You’re saying ‘No’ to spend more time with your children/partner/friends.

Do you find it hard to say “No” when asked to work late (yet again)? Do you feel pressured into taking on more work than you can handle? Is it hard for you to ask for help when you need it?

These situations, and many more like them, show why good assertiveness and negotiation skills are a vital part of maintaining a healthy work life balance.

Whether you bottle up your frustrations and then explode, or end up feeling like the office doormat, an inability to communicate openly and to find an agreeable compromise will be damaging to your health.

Assertiveness, as Oprah Winfrey states it, is “the disease to please” and nowhere does this malady run more rampant than in the workplace. Most often, people succumb to workplace pressure in their efforts to please their superiors, supervisors, and associates

“One of the problems we hear about most frequently is that people feel sabotaged by the demands of others. They find it difficult to deal with these issues and stay in control of their feelings. They get very anxious about such situations and end up feeling put upon and taken for granted. They often feel resentful and angry – which is always bad news for your health.”

“People do not realise that there are techniques they can learn to make these situations more successful. We are not all born assertive or natural negotiators but we can learn these skills and improve our life balance as a result.”

Say a Clear No- Learn How

Don’t be pushed into making instant responses. You need time to think so make sure you take it.

If you are the leader of an organisation, learn also to say “No” to your staff; “No” to any unreasonable demands, special favours, unrealistic salary increases, and the like.

As the employer you must always treat your staff with respect and be loyal to them, but you don’t have to say “Yes” to unreasonable demands and requests. None of us are indispensable, even though at times we like to think we are.

It’s important to co-operate while at work but it’s a sin to allow yourself to be ‘used’ by others. Remember, doing donkey’s work won’t land you anywhere. Just learn to say ‘no’ and get out of the rut.

If you know a particular situation is going to be difficult, prepare well. Think about what you are going to say.

Like all skills, these need to be practised so make sure you rehearse them and use them regularly.

Body language has a huge impact on how you are perceived. If you stand like a victim you’ll end up being one. Look strong – be strong.

Do not rise to the bait of personal remarks – stick to the issues. If someone’s behaviour crosses the line and is prepared to end the encounter. Do not stay around to be abused.

Listen carefully and be aware that your own biases and options will give you a tendency to pre-judge. Try to remain open minded.

Know what it is that you want to get out of the situation before you begin and then work towards that goal.

People who make good listeners also have a great audience, which makes it easier for them to assert their dignity when in need. So if you want others to respect you, just listen.

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