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Assertive Behaviour styles

Featured in the The Assertiveness Skills Pack training manual

By Joanna Gutmann

Category: Communication Skills

Credit price: 4 download credits (Single user)

There are three broad styles of behaviour within assertiveness, as outlined below. It is important to recognise that these styles do not necessarily describe a person, but rather their behaviour at a particular time. It is quite possible to adopt all three styles, quite naturally, depending on the personalities involved – for example, to be assertive with friends, aggressive with subordinates and non-assertive with superiors. Non-assertive behaviour is often caused by a lack of self-esteem and confidence, non-assertive behaviour involves avoiding stating needs or opinions, or doing so in an apologetic manner. For example, ‘I don’t have much experience of it, but …’, or ‘I hope you don’t mind me saying, but …’ Other examples include simply not stating that you have a preference, or not giving your views, even though they may well be valid. Non-assertive behaviour may be caused by a desire to please and to avoid conflict, but its effect is often the opposite. Ask participants how they feel when they discover that the person who stayed late for them missed an important appointment but did not say so. Answers usually range from ‘their silly fault’ to ‘guilty’ or ‘irritated’. Although aggressive behaviour may involve anger, shouting, and so on, in the context of assertiveness this is not necessarily so. Any behaviour which contravenes the rights of others is aggressive. The friendly colleague, for example, who can see you are busy, but still hangs around to discuss yesterday’s meeting or golf round. A more devious example is someone who flatters people into a corner to get their help. The flattery and apparent lack of self-confidence make it difficult to refuse. People often do not realise they are behaving aggressively. A high level of self-confidence can lead someone to dominate without realising the effect of their behaviour on others. Indeed, lack of confidence may be hidden by a brash exterior, and an individual will find it hard to believe they are perceived as being aggressive when they feel ‘knotted up’ inside. Assertive behaviour is based on honesty, with clear statements of needs, feelings and opinions, directly stated without apology. This is balanced by sensitivity to, and respect for, the rights of others.

You introduce and explain the behaviour styles, and participants practise recognising them in everyday situations.

Who is it for: This training resource is intended for use by trainers to introduce participants to the three broad styles of behaviour within assertiveness: aggressive, non-assertive and assertive behaviour. Participants are enabled to identify their own, and other peoples, behaviour characteristics.

Resource Type:Activity
Min Group Size:4
Max Group Size:12
Typical Duration:01:50:00
No of Pages:22

Resources: View standard resources for Fenman training activities

Purpose: This training resource is intended for use by trainers, together with ‘Rights in assertiveness’, to form the basis of all work on assertiveness. Ideally, it should follow ‘Rights in assertiveness’, but it can also be used on its own. The group discussion provides a further opportunity for individuals to consider their behaviour in everyday situations. Handout 3.4 Situations and styles, can be re-written to tailor it to the work of the participants, while Handout 3.5 Action points – behaviour styles, can be used within the group or given to participants to complete in their own time.

Download the training activity, Assertive Behaviour styles as featured in the Fenman training manual; The Assertiveness Skills Pack