An assertive manager as a guarantee of an effective team

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Assertiveness - a concept so fashionable now that it may seem hackneyed. For how much can you talk about being able to say "no"? In reality, however, assertiveness is much more than just this one ability. This feature is extremely useful to everyone, and certainly - a manager. Therefore, an assertive manager is sought after in many companies. An assertive style of management in the company can significantly increase efficiency - both for the manager and the entire team.

What is assertiveness?

If assertiveness is not just "no," what is it in reality? According to the definition presented in the "Assertiveness Training" by Maria Król-Fijewska, this concept should be understood as having and expressing one's opinion, emotions and attitudes without violating the rights and mental boundaries of oneself and others, and without aggressive behavior. At the same time, an assertive person has the ability to defend his rights in relationships and social events.

An assertive person can therefore be called a person who has his own beliefs, preferences, needs and knows how to convey them to others, while this message is non-aggressive and does not adversely affect the recipients. Of course, she can also refuse (that is, say "no") when she thinks that something is not in line with her attitude or that it will be against her interests. Importantly, however, this "no" is expressed confidently, firmly, but in a non-injurious way.

Assertiveness is not the same as self-confidence or high self-esteem, but these features most often go hand in hand. An assertive person, in order - as indicated in the definition - to be able to express and defend his own opinion, must first have it. Therefore, it is easier for people who are convinced of their worth to react assertively in their relationships with others. At the same time, it should be remembered that being assertive does not mean sticking to your own rigidly and accepting as a conversion mission anyone who disagrees. Changing beliefs under the influence of rational arguments or caused by life development is quite natural. An assertive person is therefore flexible and open to others at the same time. He can accept both criticism and praise (which, contrary to appearances, is also difficult) and apply them effectively to his own life.

Assertiveness works not only in your personal life. The ability to manage people in this way is really helpful and therefore often required as a trait in a candidate for a manager.

Assertive manager - what does it mean?

The features of a good manager are, of course, experience, knowledge of the industry, but also broadly understood soft skills. These include, for example, the ability to establish relationships or just assertiveness. Competences are important because the manager's job is not work on the production line - it should be focused not only on the company's profit, but above all - on people.

The fact that a manager should be confident in his position and abilities does not surprise anyone. Thanks to such features, it is much easier to control the team. People managed by a competent person do not feel lost, are more involved in their work and feel that the tasks they perform are thoughtful, relevant and really give the company something. On the other hand, commitment to work is the best motivator and predictor of effectiveness.

At the same time, an assertive style of management allows for faster elimination of problems that arise in the company. First of all, as mentioned earlier, subordinates have greater respect and confidence in a confident manager, therefore they will have less resistance or fear of approaching him with a problem. On the other hand, assertiveness is the ability to confront a problem - therefore a really assertive manager will immediately start acting, asking and solving the problem. However, he will not have fears and a tendency to run away from emerging trouble. At the same time, problems related to interpersonal relations should be solved clearly by a good manager, not favoring either party or concealing a conflict. Clear and simple information flow is one of the main features of assertive management.

Assertiveness is also - and when managing people, often first of all - the ability to communicate criticism. It is important that this criticism is clear, specific and non-injurious.It is obvious that when managing people, a manager will often be required to provide negative feedback, which for some may turn out to be an overwhelming task. A good manager will present the criticism so that the person not only does not feel offended, but also understands why their conduct was assessed in this way and draws specific conclusions from it for the future. Constructive criticism is one of the most important development tools.

How can this be achieved?

I should be assertive - okay, just how? Unfortunately, it is not possible to gather all the methods of developing this skill in one place - it is really a very extensive field of knowledge. Therefore, there are a lot of publications on this subject (both scientific and slightly less serious guides) and specialized training.

Even so, there are some techniques that you can try to practice on your own. The first is about building assertiveness in yourself and is called an assertive inner monologue. It is based on the principle of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every day a person conducts a mental conversation-monologue with himself, often unconscious and made up of broken, completely unconnected sentences. It often happens that such a monologue is dominated by negative opinions about oneself - qualities, abilities, plans. People tend to be black-eyed and assume failure when they are just about to act. To change that, you need to focus a little more on yourself and your inner monologue - at least for a few moments a day. Sometimes you can write down sentences if the moment of self-reflection comes and the thought is realized.

You may be surprised how often a person can cut his own wings. So the first step to being assertive is to reformulate these negative thoughts into ones that give you wings. Of course, it is not about dreams that are impossible to fulfill, but the realization that most of the tasks we undertake, we are able to meet and we have the abilities and competences that will help us in this. This may seem a bit magical and hardly a serious motivational training, but starting with something as personal and individual as your own thinking can really help.

On the other hand, FUKO is a less "magical" and a very specific and frequently used technique. It is not a technique for building assertiveness, but for a manager it can be irreplaceable - it is a template on which to build constructive criticism.

The name FUKO is an acronym for four elements of technology - facts, feelings, consequences and expectations. When we need to criticize someone, the statement should be structured in such a way that all the elements presented are there.

So - facts first. Everyone probably knows by now (you can read about it in every colorful magazine that advises on how to solve conflicts in a relationship) that when criticizing you should not criticize the whole person, but a specific event or behavior. So it would be incorrect to say "you are always late" or "you are sloppy, you have never handed over a polished project". Such a message will actually always arouse a sense of injustice and a defensive, if not aggressive, reaction. It is natural - in order to feel good about oneself, a person has to develop a positive image of himself, and criticism of him / her reconciles this image. How then should the fact be presented? Simply - "you missed an hour yesterday" or "I found mistakes in yesterday's project".

The second element of the message should be about feelings. Rather, you shouldn't say that "I'm mad at you" or "don't even talk to me." It is more about specific emotions accompanying the event - eg "I felt disregarded". Importantly, the reference to feelings does not have to occur always in the FUKO technique, but only when it is natural. Adding information about sensations forcibly will be perceptible and artificial.

The third element is the consequences. It is very important because it shows that we are not just trying to criticize the other person. The consequences must apply either to the critic or - which may be more common in the case of a manager - to the good of the company. So - "you were late and you had the key to the office and I had to wait a long time for you, so I will have less time to do today" or "the report required corrections and was not sent to an important contractor on time, this puts our company in a bad light".

Finally - expectations. This element should never be missing if we want the criticism to be effective, not just resonate. Expectations have to be fairly obvious, not exaggerated - meaning "I want you to be on time if you have the keys" or "I expect next week's report to be flawless so we can send it on time." It is worth remembering that you should not say it in the form of a challenge (you will do it or ...), but a communication of what would have to be done so that the negative situation does not arise again.

In conclusion - an assertive manager is a good manager. The good news is that assertiveness isn't inherent in it - anyone can learn it. Exercise will be necessary, but the effort is sure to pay off. It's a good idea to start with the techniques outlined above.

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