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The 9 Reasons Managers Want Assertive Employees

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The 9 Reasons Managers Want Assertive Employees

The 9 Reasons Managers Want Assertive Employees

A post from our Assertiveness blog

      Written by Ronnie Peterson
Have you ever been in a meeting, and most of the attendees seemed reluctant to speak? I once attended a meeting that had approximately ten people at it. There was an equal number of people from two companies, that were working on a joint venture.

The first meeting was to be at the other company's site, so we travelled across town to their location. While all five of our team contributed, only the boss from the other company seemed involved, the others simply sat there, deferring to him.Once back at our office and regrouping for our own debrief, our boss verbalised what everybody was thinking, "They all just sat there! I don't think I could work like that, having it all on me!"

And while you may find that the odd boss now wants a bunch of Yes Men, who simply agree with them, the majority don't. They want assertive staff members, and all the benefits that go with that.

So why do managers want assertive employees?

1. Effective communication

Assertive people, who thus communicate assertively, work better with other people. They tend to ensure that when explaining something, the other person has understood it properly, and when something is explained to them, are confident to ask questions to ensure their own understanding.

2. Less mistakes

If communication is better, there is less likelihood of mistakes being made due to misunderstandings. This can be both with other members of staff at your organization, but also outsiders, such as customers. This can save the organization time, money or other resources.

Of course, there's also less likelihood of a mistake being made when the boss makes a bad idea (yes, it happens), if people are actually confident enough to give their opinion. If all the boss has is submissive yes men, who through deferring to him allow the bad decision to be implemented, who is there to caution him on a false move?

3. Less tension in the workplace

If people communicate well, and get along with each other, there is less tension in the office. I had a friend whose father was an alcoholic, who started drinking each evening after getting home from work. By 6.30, the alcohol had made him aggressive, and they described being at home like walking on eggshells. You tiptoed around carefully so as not to trigger an outburst. Offices with people that are aggressive, rather than assertive, can be just like that. Nobody feels comfortable, and it causes a high staff turnover. A group of assertive staff are more balanced, and staff turnover is low.

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4. Less stress in the workplace

Directly linked to tension is stress. If tension is never released, it is a direct cause of stress.Assertive people can actually not only prevent tension from building in the first place, they can deal with it too. They can make a joke at their own expense, so that laughter lightens the mood. They are also less preoccupied about losing out to others, or upsetting others, and are in better positions to break tension.

This means that should tension be building, there are avenues for release, and it is less likely to turn into people experiencing real problems with stress. Stress is an ever bigger cause of high staff turnover than tension, so this can really reduce staff turnover.

5. Better problem solving

Assertive people do not back down when told about an issue, or react aggressively. They can calmly look at the issue and brainstorm to resolve the problem. Egos are not getting in the way, they do not feel threatened, and so can concentrate on how to resolve the problem.  It means that problems are resolved faster, and often without needing to be escalated.

6. Better customer service provided

As staff are able to problem solve, more issues can get dealt with in a first line call or visit, without long, drawn out investigations. That will always delight customers. And happy customer are loyal customers.

7. Make valuable inputs

Whether it's having the confidence to run meetings, or simply contributing to them, assertive people are not scared to pitch in. Even if some of the suggestions may be wrong, they are not afraid to throw them in. That results in a more creative environment, and they become an asset to the company in multiple ways.

8. More level-headed discussions

Some interactions are always going to have the possibility of causing friction. Annual appraisals are a typical example of this. It is much easier to be positive going into an appraisal meeting with a subordinate that is assertive, as you can expect a civil outcome, even if you have to give negative feedback. An aggressive person may lose their temper, and the appraisal is suddenly no longer productive. Knowing that the staff are going to reach well delights managers. Can you imagine knowing that you are going into any number of meetings with subordinates and they could all go really poorly? How happy do you think somebody would be with the reverse? No longer are appraisals a chore, but something positive to build on for the future.

9. Healthy competition

Assertive people that are confident in themselves accept others, rather than be threatened by them. That means, that in departments like sales, people can compete with each other in a healthy manner. The company benefits from salespeople being driven to achieve more. If the staff are not assertive, the company can lose out in different ways.

I've heard a salesperson say, "I don't mind sales coming in, as long as it's not for so and so." In their mind, it would actually be better for that deal to not have happened at all. Which just means that the company loses out.A confident salesperson may not like being beaten in any given month, but they react differently to it than passive or aggressive people. They may recommit to trying harder the next month, to do whatever they can to improve their own sales. A passive aggressive person may choose to try and sabotage some of the other person's deals, affecting the company. An aggressive person, if getting beaten and no longer the top dog, may want to leave. And a passive salesperson is likely to be underperforming anyway.

And if not in sales, healthy competition may result in people working faster, or harder, and productivity increases. The company wins in every respect.

Now look at these 9 things again. Can you seriously tell me that if you were the team leader, manager, boss, whatever word you use, would you not want to get these benefits out of having staff that are assertive? Of course you would! So why not ensure that your staff are all assertive? People can change, and if they're not currently assertive, help them to become so.

If you're not the boss, and want to obtain a great position, then remember that the boss of wherever you want to work probably wants assertive employees. So ensure you are one!

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