I recently had a situation at work whereby I needed to draw on all of my assertiveness training and assert myself to the most senior people in the company. Although I stood my ground it was incredibly stressful whilst I was working in what I considered to be a hostile environment. I remember one conversation when I chose to bite my tongue to the most senior person in the company, despite having very real grounds for asserting myself and disputing what he was saying.
The conversation was related but not about the subject matter which I initially asserted myself on so, to minimize hostility in my work life I decided to remain quiet. I chose not to dispute what he was saying. Although I’ve always held the view that it is important to stand up for yourself both diplomatically and assertively, it is sometimes wise to pick and choose your battles.
Factors like how stress and hostility in the environment should be taken into account prior to using your assertiveness skills however it is important to state that for most being truly assertive will almost always be uncomfortable and that this is not a reason to avoid being assertive in and of itself. I asserted myself when the stakes were high and because I was already stressed I decided to avoid further potential conflict – strictly because my stress levels were already high.
So if you are wondering how and when to pick your battles I would simply say this, if you are 70% stressed or more from other factors outside of the immediate situation consider whether you are able to assert yourself without increasing your stress levels any further and then base your decision on that.
If you are stressed please read my article titled ‘Tis the season to be stressed; how to leave stress behind you for good’ which is applicable year through.
How stressed do you get when you assert yourself? Do you consider yourself assertive or do you avoid asserting yourself whenever possible? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, support and insight from our community, we’d love to hear from you.