AssertivenessPush/Pull Styles
Why?Experienced ‘Pushy’ people and less experienced ‘Quiet’ people often exercise the mind of the change project leader. The border between assertive and aggressive can often get blurred.Ignoring the non-assertive person is an easy out for the busy leader.Typically we use 3 to 5 times more Push than Pull. Increased effectiveness in communication occurs when there is Push/Pull style parity.
What?The Assertive individual aims to achieve ‘win- win’ outcomes. This contrasts with rival behaviour patterns;
Aggression & Non-Assertiveness
Discrete Verbal Communication Behaviours (VCB) underpin the Push & Pull styles of communication. Both styles are necessary for effective communication
How?The Assertiveness-Aggression-
Non-assertiveness trio looks at the whole person whether in ‘broadcast’ or ‘receive’ mode, where:

  • At best, the spoken word constitutes 10% of the message.
  • This is backed up by paralinguistic features such as how the content is spoken, e.g. fluency, in the order of 35%.
  • The rest, some 55%, is body language, e.g. eyes, face, posture.

The ability of people to ‘read’ non-verbal communication signals accurately varies greatly. However, it can be learned, provided the person is motivated to do so.

Understand the VCBs which underpin the Push and Pull styles:

  • A short Communication Styles Questionnaire is completed to establish a baseline perception of their everyday use by the person.
  • The VCBs are described so they can be consciously observed and displayed by the person.
  • An influencing activity with three distinct roles; conscious observation, conscious display of VCBs and conscious responding to influencing attempts.

Input on the VCBs includes understanding the impact of the broadcaster’s behaviours on receivers. This builds confidence in the use of learned VCBs.

  • More accurate reading of the whole communication message
  • Understanding that Aggressiveness is easily interpreted as Bullying
  • Action plan to replace Aggressive behaviours with Assertive behaviours
  • Action plan to replace Non-assertive behaviours with Assertive behaviours
  • Clearer communication, e.g. distinguishing the difference between fact and opinion
  • Flexible application, in context, of the Push and Pull styles, e.g. powering up a particular VCB to achieve a specific response
  • Action plan to access and deploy both the Push and the Pull VCBs to achieve specific communication outcomes
Communication Applied Assertiveness
Everyday AssertivenessHandling
Aggressive Verbal Behaviour
Why?We have already seen in Assertiveness how communication is enhanced.
Costly communication errors can be reduced when the individual and team adopt assertive behaviours, instead of the destructive behaviours; aggressive and non-assertive.
It is not a frequent occurrence in a business context.
However, change projects can be stressful affairs. In reality, leaders feel better equipped to handle aggressive verbal behaviour directed at them when they have learned a systematic approach to handling it.
Experience informs us that leaders feel more confident about leadership in general, when armed with this assertiveness application .
What?Everyday Assertiveness continues this theme by addressing three everyday situations in change communication.A six-step process focuses and structures this assertiveness application.
It aims to create a ‘win-win’ by concentrating on:

  • Talking the person down
  • The pitfalls of loss of control of the situation.
How?The three everyday situations are:

  • Asking for Something
  • Disagreeing & Getting Your Point Across
  • Giving Bad News.

The focus is on doing these in an assertive manner, which has an underlying theme of ‘I win – you win; we win’. In other words, change collaboration; change that sticks.

It all starts with the right frame of mind – confident and assertive – to control an event that is more often than not unexpected.
Step one concentrates on rapidly generating a positive ‘internal dialogue‘. Thereafter, an up to five step process locks in, which explores the issue(s) and your response.
  • Confident, accurate communication of change messages
  • Significantly less communication errors
  • Fewer costly issues attributed to breakdowns in communication

  • Confident and controlled handling of what is often regarded by many to be a ‘difficult’ situation
  • Less opportunity for emotional conflict to distract the change project leader or change project team
  • Fewer costly issues attributed to breakdowns in communication