ASSERTIVENESS AND SELF-CONFIDENCE
How to help build, boost, and
develop self-confidence and assertiveness
self-confidence and assertiveness is probably a lot easier than you think.
'Non-assertive' people (in other words 'normal people') do not
generally want to transform into being excessively dominant people.
When most people talk about wanting to be more assertive, what they
usually really mean is:
'How can I become more able to resist the pressure
and dominance of excessively dominant people?'
'How can I stand up to bullies (or one bully in
And also, 'How can I exert a little more control
in situations that are important to me?'
assertiveness - dominance for the sake of being dominant - is not a
natural behaviour for most people. Most people are not naturally
assertive. Most people tend to be passive by nature. The assertive
behaviour of highly dominant people tends to be driven by their
personality (and often some insecurity). It is not something that has
seeking to increase their own assertiveness it is helpful to
understand the typical personality and motivation of excessively
dominant people, who incidentally cause the most worry to
It's helpful also
at this point to explain the difference between leadership with
dominance: Good leadership is inclusive, developmental, and a force
for what is right. Good leadership does not 'dominate' non-assertive
people; it includes them and involves them. Dominance as a management
style is not good in any circumstances. It is based on short-term
rewards and results, mostly for the benefit of the dominant, and it
fails completely to make effective use of team-members' abilities and
The fact is that
most excessively dominant people are usually bullies. Bullies are
deep-down very insecure people. They dominate because they are too
insecure to allow other people to have responsibility and influence,
and this behaviour is generally conditioned from childhood for one
reason or another. The dominant bullying behaviour is effectively
reinforced by the response given by 'secure' and 'non-assertive'
people to bullying. The bully gets his or her own way. The bullying
dominant behaviour is rewarded, and so it persists.
bullying people, usually from a very young age, become positively
conditioned to bullying behaviour, because in their own terms it
works. Their own terms are generally concerned with satisfying their
ego and selfish drives to get their own way, to control, to achieve
status (often implanted by insecure ambitious parents), to
manipulate, make decisions, build empires, to collect material signs
of achievement, monetary wealth, and particularly to establish
protective mechanisms, such as 'yes-men' followers ('body-guards'),
immunity from challenge and interference, scrutiny, judgement, etc.
Early childhood experiences play an important part in creating
bullies. Bullies are victims as well as aggressors. Although it's a
tough challenge for anyone on the receiving end of their behaviour
they actually deserve sympathy.
N.B. Sympathy is not proposed here to be a
sole or significant tactic in countering bullying. Rather, sympathy
is advocated as a more constructive, stronger, alternative feeling to
being fearful or intimidated.
people do not normally actually aspire to being excessively dominant
people and they certainly don't normally want to become bullies. When
most people talk about wanting to be more assertive, what they really
mean is 'I'd like to be more able to resist the pressure and
dominance of excessively dominant people.' Doing this is not really
so hard, and using simple techniques it can
even be quite enjoyable and fulfilling.
non-assertive person should understand where they really are - a true
starting point: non-assertive behaviour is a sign of strength
usually, not weakness, and often it is the most appropriate behaviour
for most situations - don't be fooled into thinking that you always
have to be more assertive.
you want to be: what level of assertiveness do you want? Probably to
defend yourself, and to control your own choices and destiny (which
are relatively easy using the techniques below), not to control
For people who
are not naturally assertive, it is possible to achieve a perfectly
suitable level of assertiveness through certain simple methods and
techniques, rather than trying to adopt a generally more assertive
personal style (which could be counter-productive and stressful,
because it would not be natural). People seeking to be more assertive
can dramatically increase their effective influence and strength by
using just one or two of these four behaviours prior to, or when confronted
by a more dominant character or influence, or prior to and when
dealing with a situation in which they would like to exert more
control. Here are some simple techniques and methods for developing
self-confidence and more assertive behaviour.
and self-confidence methods and techniques
- Know the facts
relating to the situation and have the details on hand.
- Be ready - anticipate
- other people's behaviour and prepare your responses.
- Prepare and use good
open questions (Why, What When etc.).
- Re-condition and
practice your own new reactions to aggression (posters can help
you think and become how you want to be - display positive
writings where you will read them often - it's a proven
- Have faith that your own
abilities and style will work if you let them.
- Feel sympathy for
bullies - they actually need it.
- Read inspirational
resources that reinforce your confidence in proper values and
all the good things in your own natural style and self, for
example, read Kipling's If and
Kipling is said to have written the poem
'If' with Dr Leander Starr Jameson in mind, who led about
five-hundred of his countrymen in a failed raid against the Boers, in
The 'Jameson Raid' was later considered a major factor in starting
the Boer War (1899-1902).