Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 5 – Assertiveness

 In Assertiveness, Belief, Emotional Intelligence, Engagement, Happiness, High Performance Culture, Leadership, Management, Networking, Organisational Culture, Organisational Happiness, Organisational Performance, Passion, Presenting

This blog is part of a series of blogs where we explore Emotional Intelligence. We will look at ways to be able to develop and enhance our own perceived levels of Emotional Intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional IntelligenceTo gain a greater understanding you can read a previous blog What is Emotional Intelligence and How Can I develop it, for more detail. Here’s a little detail to get this blog going, Emotional intelligence is all about how well you understand your own emotions and the emotions of others, and the ability to identify and manage them. Emotional Intelligence, also known as “Ei” or “EQ”, is now well established set of “Competencies” that contribute to performance, engagement and success.

Their are five key areas of Emotional Intelligence, Self Perception, Self Expression, Interpersonal, Decision Making and Stress Management. Within each of these areas there are three traits. We are going to discuss each of these traits in more detail with their own blog. We have previous looked at the area of Self Perception and now looking at Self Expression. This week we will be exploring the trait, Assertiveness.

What is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is the ability to express feelings, beliefs, and thoughts and defend one’s rights in a nondestructive way. It involves effectively and constructively expressing one’s emotions and oneself. Being forthright and frank when putting your views across. It looks at how far you will go to stand up your rights for what you perceive is right. Assertiveness and aggression are two very different things although the two qualities can become somewhat confused. Aggression involves hostile acts or feelings whereas assertiveness is a tendency to stand up and constructively argue your own views.

“It’s a fact that you’re going to have a different opinion or view on certain topics or issues. You need stand your ground by sharing your view.” – Michael Barbarulo 

How Assertive are you?

Are you able to explain to people your view and be open to lists to their view? Do you overpower people with personality rather than the weight of your argument?

When Assertiveness is operating well:

  • Easily defends own rights and the rights of others
  • Openly expresses thoughts and feelings
  • Shares ideas and is able to be heard
  • Unlikely to be taken advantage of

When Assertiveness is low:

  • Often seen as supportive, team player. But at the expenses of standing up for own beliefs
  • Can have an over-reliance on there people and their opinions
  • May keep own opinions to themselves rather than speak out
  • Has much to contribute, but feels defeated as no one hears their good ideas

Developing Assertiveness

Being assertive means being able to stand up for your own or other people’s rights in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive, or passive. People with good levels of assertiveness are able to get their point across without upsetting others, or becoming upset

During Learning Cog’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Masterclass, starting with ‘Self-Perception’, we explain how to assess you own emotional intelligence and how to develop your EQ awareness. Here in this blog we have added some areas to think about when developing Assertiveness.


Who do you know, or see as being confident and assertive? Take some time to observe them and see how they “Do” Assertiveness.

  • How do they express themselves?
  • How do they project themselves?
  • What do you like about how these people express themselves?
  • Is there any particular language (vocabulary) that they used to express themselves?
  • How do other people interact with them?
  • How do they deal with conflict?
  • Is their intention still positive when they experienced conflict are when things do not go to plan?
  • How do they stand up for their rights?
  • What do you hear them saying?

Self Coaching

  • When am I assertive, what precedes the desire to do so?
  • Is it the same in different roles in my life (e.g. home versus work?)
  • Am I more assertive with some people than with others?
  • When I am submissive or allow others to dominate me, what are the triggers?
  • Are they always the same people, situation, reasons?
  • How do I stand and hold my body when I am assertive and I am not assertive?
  • Have I ever been aggressive, rather than assertive?
  • What is my body language like?

Thinking and Reflection

Here is an exercise for you to complete to help build your understanding of your own Assertiveness.

Exercise: Learn your formula

Learn an assertive formula like the one below, or one you can create yourself, to make the task of being assertive much easier

  1. The SITUATION is…. (using your emotion perception, to give a perspective on what is really happening)
  2. I am FEELING… make sure this is a three word statement e.g. “I feel concerned” rather than an expression of a thought “I think that..”
  3. The CONSEQUENCE of the situation is… i.e a statement of the negative results of the situation for all those, you, the company off the customer
  4. My REQUEST / SUGGESTION is… i.e. giving a very practical steps that the other person can do. Make the step really small and specific

The situation is that we are two days later delivering this report. I am feeling frustrated, annoyed and embarrassed. The consequence is that our customer is unhappy and has lost faith in our ability to deliver. My request is that we make this priority now in the next three hours and get this report done and sent to the customer


It is important to actual do something when taking part in any self development. The practical is more important than the theory.

  • Pick out which emotions are more difficult for you to express and rehearse expressing them with someone with whom you feel safe
  • Went to recognise when others are making unreasonable demands of you and say no when you have to
  • Create scripts for yourself to follow in order to practice expressing yourself ascetically
  • Choose your battles
  • Deciding advance what your position is, how are you expressing it and how far you will go with it Develop alternative ways of expressing your feelings, beliefs and feelings

The more time you spend observing yourself, the more you develop your Assertiveness. Give yourself time, it may feel mechanical, clumsy and awkward at first, but with practice it will become quick and easy and automatic. Why not get in touch and talk to us more about developing Emotional Intelligence in yourself, your Leadership Team or your whole business.

Look out for the next blog on Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 6 – Independence

Or read previous blogs:

What is emotional intelligence? and how can I develop it…

1 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 1 – Self Regard

2 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 2 – Self Actualisation

3 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 3 – Emotional Self Awareness

4 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 4 – Emotional Expression

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