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HEALTH| 01.16.2024

Assertive communication: a key tool for companies

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Assertive communication is a core skill in the workplace, as it makes a major contribution to the creation of effective relationships between leaders and teams.

The ability to express ideas, opinions and needs clearly and respectfully is essential when it comes to fostering a healthy and productive work environment.

But what exactly is assertive communication?

Assertive communication involves the direct expression of thoughts and feelings, maintaining respect for both oneself and others.

In a work environment, this means the ability to share ideas, offer and receive feedback, and resolve conflicts constructively. Assertiveness avoids aggression and submission, instead promoting an open and honest exchange.

The need for a good work environment

A lack of assertive communication can lead to misunderstandings, tension and unnecessary conflict in the workplace. When employees are able to express their ideas and opinions clearly and respectfully, this creates an environment conducive to collaboration and innovation. Assertiveness encourages openness and trust, making it easier to build strong relationships among colleagues.

What’s more, it’s critical when it comes to effectively resolving problems in the workplace. By clearly and directly expressing concerns or challenges, it’s easier to identify solutions, as teams can address problems objectively, keeping conflicts from escalating and promoting a collaborative approach to problem solving.

Assertiveness also plays a crucial role in improving productivity and creativity at work. When employees feel free to express their ideas without fear of retaliation, the creative potential of the entire team is fostered and harnessed. Open and respectful communication contributes to the constant exchange of ideas, which can lead to innovative solutions and effective strategies.

How do you develop assertive communication skills?

Developing assertive communication skills is a continuous process that benefits employees and the company as a whole. Training employees in assertive communication techniques, offering personal development programs and fostering an environment where the respectful expression of opinions is valued are key strategies when it comes to cultivating a culture of assertiveness in the work environment.

Tips for working on your communication skills and the communication skills of your team:

  1. Work on your self-awareness

Before you can communicate assertively with others, it’s essential that you have a clear understanding of your own thoughts, feelings and needs. Reflect on your values, goals and personal limits. This self-awareness provides a solid base for you to express yourself authentically and consistently.

  1. Active listening

It’s not only about expressing your ideas, but also about actively and respectfully listening to others. Pay attention to your coworkers’ words, tone and body language. Listening skills improve mutual understanding and strengthen working relationships.

  1. Be clear

Use clear and specific language when communicating your ideas, avoiding ambiguities that could lead to misunderstandings. Be aware of your tone of voice and nonverbal language to ensure your message is consistent.

  1. Learn to say “no”

The ability to assertively say “no” is essential for setting boundaries and priorities. Learn to respectfully decline requests and offer alternatives when possible. This will help you maintain a healthy balance between work and other aspects of your life.

  1. Learn how to have a discussion

You will not always agree with other people’s opinions: assertive communication also involves addressing conflicts constructively. Rather than evading or attacking, focus on solving the problem. Be clear when expressing your concerns and listen to other people’s perspectives. Pursue collaborative solutions that benefit both parties.

Accept criticism constructively, recognizing areas for improvement. Not only will this strengthen your ability to communicate, it will also contribute to a work environment where feedback is appreciated and welcomed.

Assertive communication is a skill that’s honed over time. Keep an open mind when it comes to continuous learning, looking for opportunities to improve and adapt to different communication situations. Your willingness to grow and adjust your approach has a significant contribution to make to the development of strong assertive skills. 

Assertive communication is a core pillar in healthy and productive work environments. By encouraging an open and respectful exchange of ideas, you can strengthen your interpersonal relationships, improve problem solving and catalyze creativity and innovation. Investing in the development of assertive skills not only benefits individuals, but also contributes to the success and harmony of the organization as a whole.

At MAPFRE, we have a Global Healthy Company Management Model which we use to address strategies to create healthy work environments where safety, physical and mental health and people’s well-being are our priority.