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Leadership Without Assertiveness is Deemed Useless

Sep 6, 2008
The perception of assertiveness or its absence may be the turning point to any leader's life. The lack of assertiveness or too little of it is often seen as a form of weakness--and to a leader this is highly catastrophic. Nothing could be more embarrassing for a leader than to be tagged weak or useless.

When it comes to the necessary traits of a good leader, the following characteristics are always sought for by companies and employees alike: intelligence, charisma, self-discipline, and self-confidence. Not too many people would point out that a leader must be assertive. This is because there are some negative connotations when it comes to the term assertiveness.

Assertiveness Defined

Assertiveness will never be a negative word yet people often associate it to negativism. Only a few people correctly understand the meaning of this behavior. There is also no such term as too much assertiveness as this can be defined in its more proper term--aggressiveness.

Being assertive means having the confidence to express one's emotions, opinions, ideas, wants, needs or feelings - in a calm way. It also means not being reactive even in the face of adversity or abuse. Assertiveness does not go about ravaging people's feelings on its way just so one's emotions could be vented out.

Leaders and Assertiveness: The Great Link

Aspiring leaders who do not have assertiveness will never be able to stand up for what they believe in or even their interests. This will inevitably lead to being ineffective and the inability to deliver results. Those who are overbearing with their aggressiveness, on the other hand, will only garner hatred from their subordinates. They might be able to produce the numbers that they have set but their followers will never respect them.

Assertiveness is all about moderation and being graceful even when under pressure. No aggressive or frail head has ever succeeded in leading people. Being assertive will bring about respect and success on a great equilibrium.

Studies have observed that most leaders are not even aware of how they behave and how this behavior affects other people. Gauging assertiveness begins by knowing the different levels to this behavior. This gauge is much like a spectrum where the starting point is at being moderate, the middle part being persuasive and the other end of the spectrum is standing firm. Not one of these is better than the other. The key is to know when to be mildly assertive and when to be firm about a decision or belief.

A leader needs to be taken seriously especially when a task is at hand. Letting loose may only happen after office hours where everyone is equal. Would-be leaders who are seriously considering the idea of supervising other people would do well to learn the virtue of assertiveness over time. If this is not possible on a self-learning mode, there are classes that are specially set up to teach assertiveness, so there are no reasons for anyone to say that it cannot be done.

Assertiveness is always healthy and positive in its meaning. Good leaders are not born with it, they develop it over months or even years constant practice.
About the Author
PDL Courses is an international provider of training services with an established reputation for design and delivery of professional courses.
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