Remember Sandhya and Naveen from the earlier lesson? We will be visiting them in an alternate universe to see how their conversation goes this time around.
Will Sandhya stand her ground and be assertive? Or will she be aggressive?
The lesson also outlines how you can know if you are being passive, aggressive, or assertive.
Take this lesson to learn more and don’t forget to take the accompanying quiz at the end of the lesson.
Remember Naveen and Sandhya from the earlier lesson, and how she had chosen to respond assertively to his request?
In an alternate universe that interaction between them did not quite go the same way.
Over time, anger and resentment started building up within Sandhya over Naveen’s repeated requests and how this was impacting her own work. She confided in a friend who advised her to ‘Be Assertive. Stand your ground. Don’t budge.’
Finally, Sandhya decides to take the direct approach.
Naveen (smiling and in a pleasant voice): Hey Sandhya, could you come over here and help me with this management report?
Sandhya (almost angrily): No Naveen, I’m not going to help you this time… I’m really busy right now.
Naveen (surprised at her outburst): Hey, this will not take more than fifteen minutes… I just need some help with Vlookup… and of course I then only need you to check the report for errors….
Sandhya (smiling, assuming a tone of voice that brooks no argument): Naveen, even I have a report to submit today. I need to focus on that.
Naveen (slightly taken aback): Ok, can you at least teach me how to use Vlookup?
Sandhya (turning away from Naveen, with an air of finality): No…I don’t have time. Ask someone else.
Sandhya turned to her laptop and continued working on her report; not really bothered about Naveen.
Was Sandhya Being Assertive?
Often, people think they’re being assertive, but end up being aggressive or insensitive to other people’s needs, and that’s precisely what Sandhya was doing.
Sandhya let her anger and resentment build up to such an extent that ultimately she ended up being rude and uncaring. And the fact is that while she was doing this, she thought she was being assertive.
But was she? No, she was not being assertive. She was being aggressive.
The mistake is often accidental. In reality, such people are simply trying to get their needs met, and when they feel they’re losing control, their behaviour turns aggressive.
How will I know if I’m being assertive, aggressive, or passive?
In any situation, if you assume a mindset that says – ‘I want to win, and I don’t care if you get what you want or not’, you are being aggressive, not assertive.
If you think – ‘It’s ok if I don’t win, I’ll just give you what you want. I just want to avoid conflict at any cost’ – you are being passive, not assertive.
Assertiveness happens when your mindset is more on the lines of – ‘I want to win, but I’ll help you win as well. Let’s talk it out and find a solution that works for both of us!’
Yes, it’s really as simple as that. Assertiveness is a two-way street where you not only look out for your own interests, but also that for others’.
You now know what assertiveness is. But do you know what assertiveness is not? What kind of behaviours are confused with being assertive? How and why do some people use assertiveness as an excuse to get away with rude, self-serving behaviours?
Let us look at this topic in-detail in the next lesson.