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how to get assertive

I can't stand conflict, but now I've got a job where I spend a lot of time resolving conflicts on behalf of my company.  This morning I have to call a contractor about some work they did for us, and it's making me sick.

Any tips on overcoming my aversion to conflict?

James
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

imagine that you're an actor. playing assertive will be fun.

na
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Get a job you don't find so unpleasant? I mean, seriously, you're better off finding a job that suits you than changing you to suit a job.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Assertive and conflict resolution are not the same thing.  I suggest:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312270178/qid=1070460703/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/102-4754839-7999320

It is a good resource, and the title is a little misleading as it is not a "win at any cost" book.  Conflict resolution does not need to be win/lose.  Win/lose is the worst outcome because it builds bad feelings making the next encounter even worse. 

The ideas are basic, and work in 99.99% of cases where persuasion is necessary.  Getting tricky, devious, or making it a conflict, is a sure way to end up on a short career path.

Good luck.

MSHack
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Thanks.  I'll check out the book. 

I don't want to get a new job because I think this is a good opportunity to grow.  I have the same problem in my personal life, but there's less conflict there so it hasn't been an issue.  And I've been with this company for 5 years now and really like it except for this new responsibility. 

It's not that I can't be assertive, it's just that getting in a situation where I have to be makes me sick to my stomach.  I start feeling anxious and short of breath.  I dread picking up the phone to make the call.

James
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Get the Personal Enhancement Series of Richard Bandler.

It's a set of hypnosis CDs.

Use the last CD - it's about assertiveness.

Additionally, anything by Paul Scheele is excellent.

G33K 3L1T3
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Martial Arts... go joing a class, it is worth it.  The personal discipline you develop and the knowledge of self will help you immensely.

Lou
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

<psychobabble>
You need to figure out what it is you are afraid of.
Not being liked and accepted?
That you dont have the right?

Some might say that you have supressed anger that you are afraid of, and there for dont want to touch that end of the emotional spectrum.

</psychobabble>

DUDE
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Get a high powered rifle and kill the son of a bitch!

Anti-DUDE :)
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Let us know how it goes....

Joe Blandy
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I just posted above how it's really only with people that I don't know very well that I get this feeling.  I also have some classic suppressed anger symptoms.  Maybe it was due to being bullied in school.

James
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I don't know though.  I've since made friends with a lot of the people that bullied me.

James
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

You made friends with the people who bullied you?  How?  Are you their subordinate, or are they yours?

If they didn't do some serious ass-kissing, then they've still got a superiority complex over you.

Dominate them.  Crush them under your thumb.  Hear the lamentations of their women.

But seriously, if they bullied you and you don't have some kind of power over them, then you will forever be subordinate to them.

IMHO.  I Am Not A Therapist. yadda yadda.

Richard P
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Just remember the consequences of not doing your job or not doing your job good enough in this job market and you will find that you become assertive enough :-)

Code Monkey
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I didn't like the Lieberman book. Maybe it would work if you were in a sales position and could practice one idea per day from that book, but otherwise it's just a laundry list of ideas. Cialdini's Influence is much better, and more coherent. Not only that, but Cialdini does his own research, rather than just summarizing a few dozen articles on the subject. The Bandler stuff I wouldn't recommend either, that's sort of along the lines of self hypnosis.

But neither of those books will make you assertive. If you're serious about assertiveness training, get some of your bossy friends and take them out drinking. Choose some topics and just start arguing. It helps if you tell them ahead of time what you're planning on doing, but it's probably not necessary. Things like politics (the death penalty, abortion, Bush and so on), religion, and if they're tech nerds too, Windows/Linux, Open Source, etc.

When I saw Sharon Stone on Inside the Actor's Studio, and a student asked about nudity because she was afraid to do it, Sharon's advice was to tackle it head on. Sign up to do a nude scene as soon as possible and do it.

You won't learn assertiveness from a book any more than you'll learn martial arts from a book. Assertiveness is a skill, and you have to practice it, and in order to practice it, you have to be amongst people.

Full name:
Wednesday, December 03, 2003

And you don't need to think in terms of making drastic changes. All you have to do is stand up for yourself a little more, and a moment longer. And then a little more, and a little more still.

It IS a skill, and as long as you remember that, you will master it in time.

Fernanda Stickpot
Thursday, December 04, 2003

How to get assertive laid bare

1.  Stand in front of mirror
2. In deep voice say "YOU ARE A TIGER!"
3. Growl
4. Repeat as necessary

LoveByte
Thursday, December 04, 2003

An important thing to remember about  being assertive is that you might offend the person you are being assertive with.

So, first, you should ask if it's ok if you get assertive, and then you should periodically ask them if you are being too assertive.

Gustavo W.
Thursday, December 04, 2003

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