Managing People who are not Assertive
How To Be More Assertive: Part 7
Both people in a dialogue need to be assertive in order to get to a satisfactory solution. If the other person is not being assertive it can cause problems:
- an aggressive person doesn't listen to your views/needs, so you need to make them listen
- an unassertive person doesn't express their views, so you need to encourage them to express their views
- a passive-aggressive person avoids any real dialogue, so you need to engage them in the discussion
To manage the other person's behaviour, you may have to temporarily suspend your own concern's and point of view, and manage the structure/agenda of the discussion. This means:
- you need to have a 'process' to follow
- you act as a facilitator in the discussion, explaining, and then making sure you both follow, the process
- once you have started the process, you also act as a participant in the process (this is challenging, because acting as both facilitator and participant can be difficult)
Here is a simple process that you can use:
- Outline the process (below) and the principle it is based on: that you are aiming for a solution that will work for both of you. (If you are talking to your boss, or someone senior, you will also have to acknowledge their right to make the final decision).
- Each of you explain your positions positively - that is, what you each want.
- Ask for, and suggest, potential solutions or ideas.
- Assess the idea(s) to see if it meets both your needs. If not, suggest (brainstorm) other ideas.
- If you exhaust all ideas, agree how you will both compromise to find a solution that partly satisfies both of you.
- Choose a solution that meets BOTH sets of needs.
- give in to the other person's needs (that is being unassertive) or
- ignore their needs (that is aggression) or
- go silent or withdraw (that is passive-aggression).
How To Be More Assertive:
Part 8: Build Rapport