Building assertiveness

This short self-study module covers the fundamentals of building assertiveness and is the first module of a two-part series.

Have your voice heard in the right way

What is your communication style?

A common problem in the workplace can be miscommunication … have you ever relayed instructions or information to a coworker but somehow got your wires crossed? Whats more, your colleague now seems unhappy and you’re not sure why. Learning to identify different communication styles can improve team work and have a positive influence on your workplace culture.

Discover different communication styles in this handy download

Do you know how to say no?

Being able to say no, or even yes, respectfully … having the confidence to calmly express ideas, beliefs, concerns and opinions … valuing yourself and your time as equal to other people and their time … in short, being assertive, is fundamental to our wellbeing. Those who are assertive tend to have; higher self-esteem because they’re confident communicators, lower stress levels because they’re not taking on too many responsibilities, and healthier relationships which are based on mutual respect.

Not everyone is naturally assertive or feels comfortable being assertive. However, we can learn and develop this skill.

How can you be more assertive?

Above all, it’s important to remind yourself that being assertive in a good way isn’t rude or selfish. It’s an effective and diplomatic communication style. It helps to manage expectations and use your valuable time in the most productive way. It can also help you to express your thoughts and feelings without emotions or conflict getting in the way. According to research, the assertive style of communication is typically the most respectful and productive type of communication in the workplace.

Being assertive isn’t just the words you choose to say, but also how you choose to say them. Good assertive communication is clear, honest and respectful. Open and warm body language is essential. Using “I” statements rather than “you” statements such as “I don’t agree” rather than “you’re wrong”, will help you sound less accusatory and more confident in your beliefs. If the thought of being assertive fills you with fear, you may also want to rehearse different scenarios out loud or with someone you trust. Small steps in the beginning will have a big return in the long run.

The short self-study module below covers the fundamentals of building assertiveness. Once you have completed it, you may want to move onto the second part.

Move onto part two of Building Assertiveness


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Building Assertiveness:
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Learning to say no
Before you begin.
Before you begin, remember to:

• Be honest and open with yourself
• Treat yourself with kindness and respect
• Be present
• Enjoy!

What is assertiveness?
What is assertiveness?

• Being clear, open and honest about your needs
• Ensuring everyone's wants and needs are considered
• Clearly and calmly standing up for yourself
• Agreeing compromise.

Why is assertiveness important?
Why is assertiveness important?

People who are assertive in a positive manner thrive in the workplace. They are able to voice their opinions, ideas and concerns in a way which doesn't hurt other's feelings.

Encouraging assertiveness in a team lowers stress and anxiety, reduces ambiguity, and boosts productivity by allowing colleagues to prioritise.

Assertiveness quote
“Assertiveness is valuing yourself
and your needs as equal to the
values and needs of other people.”
Learning to say no.
Learning to say no.

Do you ever automatically agree with others? Being able to say no is a common boundary issue in maintaining assertiveness. Take a couple of minutes to think about what prevents you from saying no, even when you want to.

Saying no takes practice.
Saying no takes practice.

Lack of confidence can lead to you to think people won’t like or respect you if you say no. Try not to be hard on yourself if you still end up saying yes to things you don’t want to or don’t have time for.

Drop the guilt.
Drop the guilt.

In situations where you want to say no, remember:
• You can’t do everything
• You’re not being selfish
• You can’t please everyone
• Take notice of the tactics people use to get you to say yes.

Saying no (task).
Take some time to think about why saying no might feel difficult. Now, reflect on ways you could counter these barriers in the future.
Know your rights.
Know your rights.

Assertiveness rights are how you are allowed to speak and are spoken to, psychological interaction and physical contact. Asking for what you want, having an opinion, making decisions and mistakes, and being successful are all our rights.

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Know your boundaries.
Know your boundaries.

Being conscious of your personal boundaries will help you to protect:
• Your time
• Your emotions
• Your ‘feel good’ moments
• Your values.

Don't forget.
Don't forget.

Next time you want to practice assertiveness, remember to ask yourself:
• Am I being clear with what I am asking?
• Am I being brief and concise?
• Have I apologised when I didn’t need to?
• Am I being polite but firm?
• Am I be open and honest?

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Brought to you by Pharmacist Support
Brought to you by
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Are you looking for free mental health and wellbeing training?

Our Wellbeing Learning Platform is for individual wellbeing learning and training and is available to pharmacists, trainees and students. By signing up to the platform, you can access a range of free online wellbeing workshops such as Stress Management and Building Resilience and Time Management.

Find out more and sign up for free

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