By Kevin Floyd, Chief Operating Officer

Sounds funny but one of my favorite words right now is ASSERTIVENESS. We’re talking about this internally and I’m all over it.

Somewhere in the middle of being Passive and being Aggressive we find being Assertive. I’m learning this as a sweet spot for effective communication in our business. It’s neither a position of “no influence” (passive, transactional, order taker) nor of “negative influence” (aggressive, pushy, bulldozer). In our world, it applies equally to internal communication with each other and external communication with candidates and clients.

So what does it mean? I found this:

In a nutshell, assertiveness is an interpersonal skill in which you demonstrate healthy confidence and are able to stand up for yourself and your rights, while respecting the rights of others.

When you’re assertive, you are direct and honest with people. You don’t beat around the bush or expect people to read your mind about what you want. If something is bothering you, you speak up; if you want or need something, you ask. You do all this while maintaining a calm and civil demeanor.

Assertiveness also requires an understanding that while you can make a request or state an opinion, others are well within their right to say no or disagree. You don’t get upset or angry when that happens. You stay in control and work to come to some sort of compromise. When you’re assertive, you understand that you might not get what you want. You’ll learn, however, that it not only doesn’t hurt to ask, but actually helps to ask as well.

When I look around and consider what behaviors I see as most valuable in our industry, being Assertive jumps out big-time. If I had to use 3 words to describe the behavior of the top performers, this is 1 of them. Best part about it is…. We can LEARN this behavior if it doesn’t come naturally. We don’t need a Masters in Assertiveness. We can practice and develop this as with any other skill and tool. You also don’t need years and years experience to be assertive. You can make the decision to practice and develop this ability starting today, regardless of tenure.

So how ‘bout it….

Can we benefit from being more assertive?
Could our communication be more effective?
Could our relationships benefit?
Could we prevent wasting precious time if we were more assertive on the front end?
Could this allow us to be more efficient?
Do we see this working for others?

Remember, don’t confuse Assertiveness with Aggressiveness. This is huge. They are not the same. Be direct and confident, while respecting the rights of others. Big difference.

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