“Turn that music down!!”
So there you are at home, relaxing and about to go to sleep for the night, knowing you need to be up early the next day. Your next door neighbours start playing music very loudly. You think the neighbour is doing this intentionally to annoy you! If that’s your thought pattern, how you feel and respond will be different from when you think maybe the neighbour is just not aware how loud the music is and oblivious to the impact it’s having. In turn, the way you have perceived the situation will create behaviours that potentially could have repercussions for the people around you and the neighbour.
Sometimes we have self-limiting beliefs that stop us from achieving our potential. For instance, I think I’m not artistic at all yet over the last few years I’ve taken scrap-booking up showing I do have the ability to be artistic. If I had continued with my thought pattern, I could have missed out on years of enjoyment and relaxation.
So the various beliefs you hold from the little to the big thoughts are your building bricks of your life. And when you believe, you have a commitment to that belief and it takes an awful lot to change that belief.
Beliefs arise from views and opinions that you’ve amassed along the way. You give yourself approval for these. Beliefs express your attitude about life in general and the way you view life. People can pick up what your beliefs are by the way you say things and the way you behave. This can spill over into your work life as well as your personal life.
Whatever you are doing from working with colleagues, to dealing with customers, to mixing with family members you need to create personal impact to get the most out of the relationships and what you put into those relationships needs to be effective. So your beliefs about yourself may be holding you back and can stop you being assertive. These thoughts can often be unconscious as well and may affect the way you deal with people at times. So it’s important to understand your beliefs and work to over-ride them where it can create barriers at work and home.
The way I would explain it, is if I am out driving and I see a man with a flat cap on – my unconscious thought is that this person will drive very slow and be unsure of their actions. Consequently, I have judged the person before seeing any evidence and as a result, I have less patience. In reality, this person actually drives very fast and overtakes me. So my unconscious belief is completely off the spot and affects incorrectly the way I see things at times. We all have these unconscious thoughts and as Bosses and Managers we do need to understand what we believe, whether unconscious or not and work to stay non-judgemental and open. Employees will then pick up that you are open and it will create better communications, in turn creating better personal Impact.
Being assertive also adds to your personal impact at work. Assertive communication consists of three key essentials, honesty and being straightforward, understanding and respecting the needs and feelings of others, and using appropriate and assertive body language. The times I’ve seen Managers who have felt uncomfortable with the messages they are giving out, not look at the person directly. In fact, anywhere but at the person! They also tended to fidget and squirm. Assertive body language is depicted by an upright, relaxed position with a calm manner and actions.
I’ve also seen Managers who have felt that once in the role they should have no emotions and feelings. This totally takes away the human element and doesn’t create bonds with the team. Team members need to know you understand and emphasise with whatever they are going through and that through the understanding you support them. In turn, if you exhibit no emotions and understanding of feelings as a Manager or Boss, it can isolate you and make you remote from your employees.
Being honest and straight-forward is about knowing and sharing your emotions in the right manner, owning your opinions and using “I” assertions. It’s important not to be judgemental or exaggerate and to use direct language so you can be easily understood.
Through understanding your emotional triggers, you can moderate your behaviour no it’s not too aggressive or passive.
Top tips for assertive behaviour include:
• Having confidence
• Being clear
• Recognising when to be assertive
• Being honest
• Being selective in your use of language
• Anticipate responses and reactions to temper your approach
• Consider your tone and body language
• Don’t make assumptions and use active listening
• Clearly state your point of view.
Hope this has given you some food for thought.
Take care and have a good week.