What is assertiveness training and why is it important to develop it through executive coaching and leadership development programmes?
Assertiveness is a very important skill for newly-promoted managers and leaders to develop, which is why it is such a key part of many leadership development programmes and an important part of working with an executive coach. However, it’s important to remember that assertiveness is not the same as being aggressive or constantly shouting. It’s about the ability to clearly express your thoughts and feelings and to effectively defend your position on a subject whenever necessary.
Unassertive people are often seen as passive and unwilling to contribute and will often leave meetings having not spoken at all, even if they had an important point they wanted to raise – a terribly frustrating position for them. If this is allowed to continue unchecked, it will lead to some extremely unproductive meetings.
These people also experience problems with time management, as they are unable to say ‘no’ to any request, and thus end up accumulating an unmanageable pile of work. This could easily be avoided if they were able to just say “I’m sorry, I don’t have time for that right now” every so often.
This doesn’t mean being rude – it’s just a question of being open and forthright with your thoughts and opinions. Consider times you weren’t assertive enough and regretted it later. What could you have done differently to steer the situation towards a more favourable outcome? An emotional intelligence test is likely to be of use here and help you and your executive coach identify what you could be doing to achieve the right balance.
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