“Be Assertive!” It’s not as easy as it is said! Assertiveness is quite complicated and one of the supreme forms of art to be learned in communication. Being assertive is to appropriately communicate one’s convictions without affecting existing congeniality among the parties that communicate. It’s a way of respectfully disagreeing without losing the sense of harmony.
Assertiveness and diplomacy are considered different although, diplomacy is synonymous with assertiveness. Hence, is the false dichotomy in terms of connotation. Here is one of the nicest stories picked to demonstrate assertiveness: Once upon a time, a Lieutenant General was throwing a great party for his troop in a grand hotel. The hotel management took pride in taking the opportunity to host the party and made arrangements to keep up to the grandeur. They took utter care in decorating every trivial detail, from a chandelier borne ceiling to a finely polished wooden floor. Flowers, lights, live music and whatnot! All arranged to add magnificence to the splendid evening! The specialty about the dining was silver cutlery, exotic and wide range of beverages.
All the guests sat around a table bearing delectable dishes, ready to savor as the party began. While serving, a bearer noticed one of the army majors silently dropping a silver spoon and a fork into his pockets. But, the bearer had no guts to confront him, hence decided to bring it to the notice of his manager. Even the manager himself hesitated; he neither dared to question him nor check him, as the Major might simply bluff or claim to be innocent. Also, confronting him might ruin the hotel’s reputation, causing either loss of the next big deal on the way or even his job.
The manager couldn’t even ignore the complaint, as he remained accountable for any missing cutlery. A perfect catch-22 indeed! He thought only the Lieutenant could come to his rescue and puts in a word to him. Taken aback and embarrassed by the demeaning act of the Major, the Lieutenant assured, he would deal with the situation.
Without curtly confronting the Major, he walks up to the Major and gently whispers in his ears, “Major, we are caught by the hotel management. Let’s put the cutlery back in place. Shall we?” With an embarrassed grin on their face, he did as the Lieutenant said, and the Lieutenant walked back to his chair with poise while he gave a gentle wink and a smile to the banquet manager as an assurance that he could keep his calm.
The Lieutenant conveyed what exactly has to be communicated, but with assertiveness. He put forward his opinion in a straightforward, honest, open yet respectful way without offending the Major and got the resolution. Assertiveness is associated with the right intonation, tact, art of diplomacy and common sense. It is innate in some people, whereas an art to be practiced for some.
Now, I would like to ask if there is any other way to think of how assertive the Lieutenant could have communicated? And, can you think of any other stories or examples or real-life scenarios where assertiveness can be used?