Being Assertive Part 2

by Jul 21, 2012

Let’s continue with the assertive stuff shall we? Let’s talk about how to be assertive.

Use assertive body language.
Face the bully and look him or her square in the eye. Do this with a pleasant face, but serious expression. Keep your voice very calm. Stand with your hands on your hips or lean in a little bit while you talk. Do not fold your arms or look down. If you’re sitting down, do not cross your legs. Keep both feet on the floor, toes pointed straight out in front of you.

Use a Stop Sign.
When the bully turns on you, and begins to put you down, use a stop sign. Say something like, “Now let’s stop here for a minute. What just happened? You are raising your voice at me and I am not certain why.” or “Whoa! Is there a reason you are talking down to me like that?” If they don’t cool down, and continue to keep a raised voice or condescending tone, then say, “I can see you are awfully upset. I am happy to discuss this with you later when you’ve calmed down. Are you available later today?”

Use “I” strategically.
When speaking with the bully, keep focused on yourself and your confidence in what you have to say. Example: “I can have the report to you by end of business Tues” instead of, “When do you want the report?” This leaves the bully less opportunity to pick on you, because you’ve already stated what you can deliver and when. End of story.

Avoid battlephrases.
Avoid saying things like, “He makes me feel bad about myself. He is hurting my feelings.” The reality is that you have a choice in the matter – so he isn’t doing anything to you. Start saying, “I feel bad about myself” and “My feelings are really hurt.” Then see how empowered you feel. You will start to understand your feelings are yours to conquer, and then it becomes easier to change them.

Remember, assertiveness is the belief that if you do something in a certain way, it will work. So gather up that confidence of yours and give some of these things a try. Once you become comfortable, these behaviors will become regular habits, and you’ll be feeling much more confident about the situation you are in.

You can handle it.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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