As we all know, communication is a key factor for a healthy company and a strong organizational culture based on transparency, trust, and the emotional health of employees. Applying different assertive communication techniques in the workplace is a helpful way to increase healthy communication in your company.
Efficient communication, as the assertive type, has a lot of advantages both vertically, between different hierarchical levels, and horizontally, at the same level, between business lines, and between different departments.
However, not every type of communication is effective and has the desired effect, as we can already guess. It is important how and when the message is transmitted, how it is packaged, what the components are, what the frequency is, what the consistency is, and so on. But perhaps the most important thing is that so-called assertive communication is respected, allowed, and encouraged. This communication is the basis of healthy relationships in general, so it certainly applies in corporations, at work.
Let’s see what assertive communication entails and why it is sometimes so difficult to apply. To better understand, it is necessary to distinguish between assertive, passive, and aggressive communication.
Passive communication in the workplace
Passive communication is based on avoiding conflict and taking into account the other’s needs, rather than their own needs. People who communicate in this way have difficulty refusing, saying no, and often putting their needs first. They are usually the ones who apologize excessively and the people, in general, take advantage of it.
Thus, the message sent by them is that their opinions are not important or that they have nothing to say. As you have already guessed, this type of communication, although it seems reasonable and pacifist, can still cause a lot of problems. Among them is the accumulation of frustration, inefficient communication, errors caused by stress, loading with inappropriate tasks, etc.
In contrast, passive communication vs assertive communication in the workplace can have some disadvantages like employees who do not express their point of view, who do not refuse excessive duties, who are overly unjustifiably and frequently, who avoid conflicts of any kind, and never demand their rights. This kind of behavior over time can lead to exhaustion, stress, unresolved tasks and problems, lack of trust in your own powers and capacities.
Aggressive communication with coworkers or subordinates
Aggressive communication is based on overconfidence in one’s own power, on imposition rather than consultation, on focusing on one’s own needs without interest in the feelings, rights, and needs of others.
While assertive communication in the workplace puts you and your subordinate or coworker in an “I am ok – You are ok” type of position, so equals, which is healthy, the aggressive communication will lead to an “I am ok – You are not ok” type of position, so you are dominating and violating the basic rights of the other person.
People who use aggressive communication will use criticism, intimidation, and even humiliation in order to dominate the other person. In general, this profile is suitable for extremely demanding managers, abusive and without interest in the well-being of subordinates.
Obviously, this attitude comes with a lot of disadvantages that are implicitly reflected in the company’s health: stress and anxiety among employees, low creativity in activities and processes, burnout and overload, overdue deadlines, low productivity.
Assertive communication in the workplace is the best choice you’ll ever make
Assertive communication can be seen as a balance between the two mentioned above. It takes into account both their own needs and the demands of others. Assertive people express their opinions firmly, without apologizing, but they do so with respect and empathy for others, allowing them to express their opinions. We have employees here who value different opinions, do not put unnecessary pressure, provide feedback instead of criticism, and set healthy boundaries of relationships.
The benefits which come from using assertive communication in the workplace
- Employees become more self-confident, have high self-esteem, better understand what they have to do and will give more to the company, thus adding value;
- The company will have successful managers, who will treat their subordinates with respect and fairness and will receive the same answer in return. They will be seen as leaders, not just managers, and they will create united, efficient, valuable teams for any company;
- Successful win-win solutions will be found. Employees who will use assertive communication in the workplace will be open to negotiation, to understand the other’s point of view, to capitalize on the advantage of different opinions, which can come together to generate the best result;
- Employees will be focused on finding options and resolving conflicts. They will feel strong, justified and encouraged to resolve issues and discuss conflicts of any kind. It is known that unresolved disputes in a fair and transparent way generate losses and affect any company, at any level, image, financial, operational, legal;
- Managers can delegate the right tasks to the right people and at the same time they can support the people in their own team to develop and improve their skills. In this way everyone works optimally. Be sure that you delegate and not just dispose of those tasks, because this can lead easily in the old patterns of using aggressive communication instead of assertive communication;
- When information flows intelligently within the company, employees feel listened to and considered by their managers and feel that they can contribute and connect more easily to the organizational culture. The company thus becomes stronger;
- Using assertive communication, which is the most efficient way to communicate within the company, allows the creation of authentic links between managers and subordinates, which are considered practically in the same boat, thinking and acting in tandem towards the common goals of the company;
- The company that allows employees to express their ideas, practically open the doors to innovation, to a development of creativity, so important in an evolving and constantly changing market. The company thus becomes more visible and more competitive;
- Employees have good mental and emotional health, are satisfied with their jobs, are less stressed and less anxious and also less depressed.
The advantages are obvious here: high motivation to work, solution orientation, increased creativity, meeting deadlines, low absenteeism rate, low staff turnover, clear understanding of processes with a low margin of error, good customer relations, and ultimately results well.
Here are some tips for integrating assertive communication in the workplace in order to use all the benefits for growing your business or to have a less stressful life at work
- Encourage communication based on honest, non-critical, solution-oriented feedback. Feedback should be provided in the right way, through assertive communication, to help, not discourage. Use regular evaluations to encourage results, but also to develop and possibly correct certain aspects;
- Be transparent in communication, allow employees to express their opinions and ideas in a respect-based environment that can be both formal and informal. Be sure to not fall into old habits, especially if you are a leader which have been using aggressive communication. Make sure that the communication channels are open, both vertically and horizontally within the company;
- Create opportunities to strengthen and develop connections between team members within the company. You can take into account regular meetings, but also outings outside the company space, such as team building;
- Conduct surveys, provide ongoing training, tailored to the distinct needs, obtained through feedback, of each employee, both at the managerial level and at the executive level;
- Respect the rights of employees and encourage those actions that generate and sustain balance, high self-esteem and well-being. Remember that healthy and motivated employees are the most important resource for the company, and by using assertive communication in the workplace you will obtain this type of balance.
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