I started a new Clubroom today on Clubhouse with my ever-wonderful co-host Lisa Galea called Empower Mentoring. Our club meetings cover a range of topics across the spectrum of core (soft) skills that help us achieve a balanced life. They are topics invaluable as learnings and skill development for all of us in our professional and personal lives and underpin most if not all mentoring conversations and support. Each week we explore these core skills, including:

  • Communicating consciously
  • Assertive communication
  • Building resilience and managing change
  • Managing conflict
  • Handling difficult conversations
  • Stress management
  • Self-leadership
  • Self-esteem
  • Decision-making and setting meaningful goals

We had a great conversation today sharing views on what being assertive means and looks like and the comparison with aggressive and passive communication behaviours. The way I compare the 3 behaviours is all in the language – I call these the 3 Ps:

Assertive: ‘Power with‘ | Passive: ‘Power-less‘ | Aggressive: ‘Power over

Some of the other perspectives about assertiveness shared in the Clubroom today included:

  • Your use of language is important
  • Be aware of how you respond to feedback
  • It is useful to delineate the 3 communication behaviours
  • Being assertive means communicating your thoughts and feelings in an open, honest way and respecting the rights of those you are communicating with
  • Assertiveness is about recognising that your needs matter as much as anyone else’s

A story:

I remember an assertiveness course I facilitated where a common conversation centred around, “I am much more assertive but it’s difficult because now I am told that I am being aggressive.” This prompted a conversation about how some people don’t want you to change because it makes them feel uncomfortable or challenges their thinking and feelings.

For example, if you have been more of a passive communicator – avoiding saying what you think, avoiding identifying your needs, not speaking up in meetings even though you have an opinion – and you change this and start asking for what you want (as is your right) or saying ‘no’ (when you have always said ‘yes’), some people don’t like this. They liked you staying in the background and therefore being able to put their needs first. So yes, they will respond negatively to your assertive behaviour because they will have to change theirs.

It’s an interesting area to explore and reflect on.

How do you communicate with others? Are you an assertive communicator or always strives to achieve a ‘power with’ in your relationships?

There is a whole lot more to dive into with this topic, which Lisa and I will be doing each week in Clubhouse. If you want to learn more about assertive communication and those other core skills, and take some time to reflect, do join us – it’s always an interesting and lively conversation.

Empower Mentoring on Clubhouse: Every Tuesday (NZ and Australia), Monday 4pm