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COVID-19: Be Assertive Without Being Pushy

Speaking up can be difficult — and sometimes overwhelming — especially if you are shy, lack confidence, or come from a culture where it is inappropriate to speak up. It can feel pushy and overly aggressive to be assertive, especially if you’re timid or hate conflict.

Voicing your opinion with an “assertiveness formula” can help. Building on the book "People Skills" by Robert Bolton, here are three steps that can help you:

1- Start with a short, simple, objective statement about the other person’s behavior — what you’d like to see changed. For example: "When you interrupt me during meetings"

2- Describe the negative impact that this behavior has had on you. For example, "I don’t get a chance to voice my opinion"

3- End with a feelings statement, as this element is hard to refute and makes the message more powerful. An example might be "Which makes me feel marginalized"

The other person may respond in a positive way immediately; they might respond positively and productively but with a significant delay; or they might not change at all. But for you, getting up the courage to voice your frustrations in the first place can be a significant win.

To read the full HBR article, please click here.

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