Assertiveness: A key to strong leadership and vital to effective communication

Assertiveness is often associated with strong leadership and is vital to effective communication. However, cultural nuances can sometimes hinder the expression of assertiveness. 

Some cultures prioritise harmony, respect, and collective welfare over individual assertiveness, sometimes perceived as aggressive or disrespectful. However, it's essential to distinguish assertiveness as a strength rather than a disruption to harmony.

In this edition of The Intentional Leader, we explore assertiveness, its importance, and what you can do to be more assertive.


What is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is the ability to express one's thoughts, feelings, and needs openly and honestly without violating the rights of others. It may be seen as aggressive when these thoughts, feelings, and needs violate others' rights.


Why is Assertiveness Important?

In leadership, assertiveness is crucial as it enables leaders to convey their points, make firm decisions, and push back when needed. Assertiveness encourages transparency and promotes a culture of open communication.

A lack of assertiveness can lead to misunderstandings, inefficiencies, and a weakened leadership presence, hindering the team's progress and potentially impacting the organisation's overall performance.


Tips for being assertive

Know Your Rights: Regardless of whether others agree, you have the right to express your thoughts, feelings, and needs.

Engage in Courageous Candour: Demonstrate courage by expressing your thoughts, feelings and needs openly and honestly.

Genuinely Listen: Be assertive, express your thoughts, feelings, and needs, and listen to the thoughts, feelings, and needs of others.

Make Clear Requests: Clearly express what you are requesting of others and why you are requesting it.

Set Clear Expectations: Communicate your expectations and the steps needed to achieve them to

Use 'I' Statements: Take ownership of your thoughts, feelings and needs using 'I' statements. For example, 'I feel' or 'I need'.

Invite Feedback: Ask for feedback on your requests and expectations and be open to different perspectives and views.


In Conclusion

Assertiveness is a powerful tool for effective leadership and is vital to effective communication. While cultural nuances must be considered, assertiveness should be seen a strength rather than disrespect or a disruption to harmony.

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