The quietly confident smile on Nick’s face said it all.
Nick was a middle-management colleague of mine. He led a team at work and he was a good sportsman too. He knew a lot about getting the best out of others.
When I saw Nick smiling I guessed the ‘quick word’ he had held with our senior manager had gone well.
Why was that quick word necessary?
That morning our senior manager (Sue) had chosen to brutally criticise Nick during a staff meeting. Nick’s team had been around the table.
Nick’s face had registered shock. The rest of us were embarrassed. It was one of those I’m-glad-that-wasn’t-aimed-at-me moments.
After the meeting broke up Nick sat quietly, writing a few words in his diary and looking in the direction of our boss’s door.
Once he had fixed his goal in mind he’d walked up to the door, knocked and gone in.
What Did Nick Do To Be Assertive?
When I had the chance I asked Nick the obvious question. Making the decision to act was one thing, what had he said to Sue about the meeting? His answer?
I let her know how I felt after what she said this morning ….I told her I never spoke to my team like that and I don’t accept it either …there’s better ways to work together…she said she saw my point of view.
Nick influenced a positive change in Sue’s behaviour towards him, judging by his upbeat mood.
Assertion Means Talking About Your Feelings When You Negotiate
Nick’s real-life example shows the value of bringing emotion into assertive situations.
Use the range of evidence at your fingertips, including your feelings. Involve the other party in a conversation.
Your theme is how to make your relationship more productive. Give them an incentive to change their behaviour so it benefits others.
If they join in with that conversation and then change their approach that’s a great outcome. You have both benefitted from your honesty.
If the other person refuses to engage with the conversation you have learned something.
That knowledge means you can choose your future options wisely. Those options might include downplaying or even ending the relationship.
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