How is your Assertiveness and Self-Confidence?

We recently ran one of our assertiveness and self-confidence workshops at Base2 and it got me thinking about recurring themes that this program encounters.
Here are my top three tips to help you with any assertiveness and self-confidence challenges you may have.

  1. Take some time to consider what you are being asked
  2. Stop taking time to consider what you are being asked!
  3. Those around you also need to be in on it

Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.

Take some time to consider what you are being asked

One of the questions I always ask at the start of this workshop (and most others) is “why are you here?”.

Whilst the question is there to help focus our minds on the goals and objectives for the day, it is often very illuminating as to what the attendees think about their attendance. We talk about four different types of course attendee,

a) The prisoner – when you ask the prisoner why they are there, it’s often “because my boss sent me”
b) The vacationer – training is easier than working, so let’s treat it as a vacation
c) The socialiser – training is a great time to catch up with friends you don’t see often at work
d) The learner – those attendees who really want to develop and learn

For the attendees on this particular course, they often fit into both the first and the last categories.
When we drill down at the real reasons for attending, getting beyond the “because my boss sent me”, we get a clearer picture of why the boss suggested they attend. It’s often the case where ‘the boss’ is genuinely trying to help the attendee’s development and sees this workshop as a great way of at least starting the process. Perhaps the more important question is “when your boss told you to attend, did you ask them why?”.
Many people with assertiveness and self-confidence challenges simply do as they are told. They never question what they are being asked to do, they just do it. So one of the first things we investigate on the workshop is empowerment. Putting the attendees in a position where they feel they can ask the question. Not in a hostile or confrontational way, but just as a quizzical “why?”.

How often do you assume you know what you are being asked to do and why, without challenging it?

Stop taking time to consider what you are being asked!

OK so this is rather tongue in cheek, as it’s the direct opposite of the first question.
One of the things we do at Base2 is behavioural profiling. There are many profiling systems out there and we use Extended DISC because it maps really well to communication styles for our Business Communications section.
When we look at DISC profiling, one of the behavioural styles is a perfectionist. People with this style have incredibly high standards and strive to meet them on a constant basis. This in turn often leads to over-analysis and therefore over-complication. You ask them to choose between A and B, but it’s never as simple as that for this style of person. There’s always option one and two, choices for each option, etc.
Whilst this may be great for achieving a really high standard of work, it can often be seen by other profile types as indecision. “I ask this person to do a simple task and they take forever to complete it, if in fact they ever complete it at all”. Combine this with a naturally hesitant style, and you appear to have a person with self-confidence challenges.
Going back to the earlier question of “why did your boss send you to this workshop?”, perhaps it’s because he/she thinks you cannot easily make decisions and therefore have self-confidence challenges. This may just be your natural behavioural style, but consider how that’s seen by others.

When you are asked to do something, are you able to make a quick decision, or do you over-think it?

Those around you also need to be in on it.

We discussed in the last section how different behavioural types see you (and others around you too). This is an important fact when we look at team harmony.
Team harmony and specifically the support you receive from the team are vital ingredients to help overcome assertiveness and self-confidence challenges.
Whilst it’s great to send the workshop attendees away with a new self-belief and a toolbox of skills to support their new-found assertiveness, they will also undoubtedly need the support of others to help them deploy these new skills.
In an ideal world, the “boss who sent me” should also attend the workshop so that a team (rather than an individual) development plan can be constructed. Working together, one small step at a time, assertiveness challenges can be effectively overcome. It’s a team-work thing!

How can you help anyone in your team to become more assertive?

Whilst these are just three of the topics we cover in this workshop, we are always keen to continually develop our learning packages. Please let me know if there are any other points you think would be of assistance in overcoming the challenges associated with assertiveness and self-confidence. I’d love to hear from you.