How often do you speak assertively?

In our last two blogs (We Are Losing How Much To Conflict & Choose Your Action Wisely), we learned that getting crystal clear on “who you are” and “what you truly want” in any situation will help guide you to make wise decisions when facing any conflict at work. Once we are clear, the next step is to identify all of the options and choose the action that aligns with “who we are” and “what we want”.

As Jack faced the challenge of holding a fellow board member accountable, he chose to speak with Jill privately about the expectations of her position and to remain curious about what may be in Jill’s way towards honoring her commitment.

Jack chose to use his assertive communication skills in the discussion with Jill. Speaking assertively allows Jack to protect his thoughts, ideas and commitments while respecting Jill’s feelings, thoughts and commitments.

Here is how Jack prepared for his assertive conversation with Jill.

The formula for an assertive conversation is as follows:
1. State the Facts: Simply state the facts of the situation. By fact, we mean that it can be proven in a court of law.

“At the June 2nd BE AWESOME Charity Executive Board meeting, Jill volunteered to lead project A with Actions X, Y and Z to be completed by July 30th. Actions X,Y, and Z have not been completed. Today is August 15.”

2. State your Feelings: Feelings are appropriate in business, if they are used properly. This is one of the times to articulate your feelings. Here are the guidelines:
a. Use the phrase “I feel…”
b. Do NOT use the phrase “you make me feel..” or “that made me feel…”

“I feel concerned about the completion of the project and I feel disappointed that the deadlines for actions X, Y and Z have not been met …”

3. State the Results: Articulate the results or the consequence.

“… because if project A is not completed by August 30th, our benefactors will not be able to receive our donation. ”

By stating the facts, your feelings, and the results, you eliminate points of debate.

You can follow this assertive statement with a question that is appropriate to engage the other party, such as:

* “Was that your intention?”
* “Are there unexpected roadblocks that we can help you overcome?”
* “What is your commitment to this project?”

As you think about the potentially difficult conversations in addressing conflict in your workplace, consider practicing the art of assertive communication. Practice the simple assertive communication formula above and discover amazing results.