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Melissa Chim, a Monash Master of Counselling Student, has written an article about Assertiveness. This is the most recent article in our Articles Gallery.
Here is an excerpt:
Assertiveness refers to the ability to express one’s feelings and needs directly while maintaining respect for others (American Psychological Association, 2020). Although this sounds simple enough, practising assertiveness does not always come naturally. For example, if you have ever been cut out from discussions, had your opinions ignored, felt misunderstood and had negative feelings as a consequence, it might be worth looking at your assertive levels.
Why is it important?
The unassertive tend not to make their opinions known, thereby limiting their contributions. This could either stem from a lack of confidence, an expectation that their opinions will not make a difference, or that it is not their rank and role to speak up. Such beliefs can undercut the value one brings to any cause or project, but can also leave one feeling disengaged, unnoticed or underappreciated.
I used to work in a firm where every quarter, all the secretaries had to work overnight to close the billing cycle. Although this could have been avoided with a simple system fix, the secretaries preferred to silently work the extra hours rather than speak up. This is because they felt they had no voice at the organisation, and could not effect change. None of them wanted to be the person to speak up, and the flaw was therefore left to persist for many years.
It is not hard to imagine that the unassertive are less motivated, and may constantly feel undervalued and stuck. In times of market instability, it tends to be the unassertive who most fear that they are dispensable, and most at risk of being laid-off. These unhelpful thoughts and fears can increase one’s levels of stress and anxiety, and could also lead to depression, sleep problems and other forms of disorders.
Go HERE for the full article