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Being confident not pushy

Being assertive with others is a ‘win-win’

What Is Assertiveness?

  • Expressing your feelings, opinions, beliefs and needs directly, openly and honestly.
  • Respecting the personal rights of other Members.
  • Not being aggressive.
Why is it good for you and your role in the Union?

Being assertive gives you confidence. It wins the respect of other Union Members. It leads to honest relationships. It gives you better self-control in every-day situations.
It will also improve your decision-making and your ability to reach personal and organizational objectives.

Are you assertive?
  • Do you often say “yes” when you really feel like saying “no?”
  • Are you unable to express your discontent with another Member, even if you think it’s justified?
  • Do you find it difficult to accept a compliment?
  • If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you may need to work on your assertiveness skills.
Tone of voice

Remember that the tone of voice you use and your body language will have a big positive or negative impact how people react to you and what you are saying.

5 tips to help you
Be More Assertive

1. Be specific and clear about what you want, think, feel.
  • “I want to…”
  • “I don’t want you to…”
  • “I have a different opinion, I think that…”

2. Explain exactly what you mean and what you don’t mean.
  • “I don’t want the Committee to disband over this. I’d like to talk it through and see if we can prevent it from happening again.”
3. Be direct.
If you want to tell Jane something, tell Jane. Don’t tell other Members who may repeat it to Jane.

4. Own your message.
Your message comes from your frame of reference. Acknowledge that fact with personalized (“I”) statements:
  • “I’d like you to write up that grievance” – instead of “You need to write up that grievance”.
  • “I don’t agree with you.”
  • – instead of “You’re wrong.”
If you say another Member is wrong, it creates resentment and resistance rather than understanding and cooperation.

5. Ask for feedback.
Allow Members to correct any misperceptions that you may have. Help others realize that you are expressing an opinion, feeling or desire rather than a demand.
  • “Am I making sense?”
  • “How do you see this situation?”
“What do you think we should do?”

Final Thought…
As you learn to become a more assertive Member of your Union, remember to use your assertive “skills” selectively.

It’s what you say with words, AND how you communicate non-verbally: voice tone, gestures, eye contact, facial expression and posture. All of these things affect the impact you have on others. If you find the right balance, you will earn greater respect from your fellow Members.

It takes time and practice, and patience with yourself as you make mistakes, to reach the goal of acting assertively.

As you practice your techniques, it is often helpful to have accepting relationships and a supportive environment. People who understand and care about you are your strongest allies.

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