Jonathan Hooker

Assertiveness Exercise #2 Answers


The Following Statements are answers to the Assertiveness Exercise

1. Expressing feelings openly and honestly. ___

Assertive – saying how you feel does not criticize or blame others.

2. Mixing (and being accepted equally easily), with peers, work superiors and subordinates, at work and socially. ___

Assertive – not feeling inferior or superior to others but equal with others is balanced assertive behaviour.

3. Speaking your mind openly, even if it may give offence to others ___

Aggressive – not taking other people’s feelings into account is aggressive.

4. Being manipulated by other people. ___

Passive – allowing ourselves to be manipulated does not serve us and implies we are not standing up for ourselves.

5. Seeing the other person’s point of view in arguments and discussions. ___

Assertive – this does not imply surrendering our own point of view, it is simply allowing ourselves to understand someone else’s and it does not mean we will change our mind.

6. Preferring to give subtle hints to people about your wishes. ___

Passive – not being clear about what we want does not serve us. It is giving our power away to others. They will decide if they want to take the hints or not. So we rely on them as to whether or not we get what we want.

7. Keeping other people waiting without any apology or explanation. ___

Aggressive – this is us looking after ourselves without consideration and respect for others and their time.

8. Getting bad food or service in a restaurant corrected without a fuss, and faulty goods replaced without a fuss. ___

Assertive – we do not have to be aggressive to point out there is a problem and ask for it to be corrected.

9. Getting angry and telling someone off when they push in front of you in a queue. ___

Aggressive – we do not have to be angry to point out there is a queue and we would like others to respect that.

10. Keeping your temper when other people attack you. ___

Assertive – this does not mean giving in. It means you are choosing not to lower yourself to their level. It also means you can stay calm and think more clearly.

11. Finding a resolution to a problem caused by someone else without damaging relationships. ___

Assertive – solving problems and keeping working relationships going is the aim. It does not imply accepting any blame for the problem.

12. Keeping quiet when someone pushes in front of you in a queue. ___

Passive – if you allow someone to push in it implies that their time is somehow more precious or important than yours which is not so.

13. Keeping quiet, or only complaining to your friends or colleagues, when you get poor service in a restaurant. ___

Passive – restaurant managers cannot correct problems they do not know about. That is why complaining at the end of a meal is a complete waste of time, because it is too late to do anything about it.

14. Answering the telephone in the middle of a conversation with someone. ___

Aggressive – ignoring someone or behaving as if something else is more important than they are is rude. If you are expecting an important call, tell them in advance and apologise for the interruption when it comes. If it is confidential explain that to them up front and that you need them to wait outside for a few moments, but that you will keep them waiting for as brief a time as you reasonably can. If it starts to run on then it is appropriate to ask the caller to hold for a moment and to tell the person that it is running on and you will call them back when finished rather than keep them waiting.

15. Telling people who annoy you to shut up. ___

Aggressive – we need to take responsibility for how we feel and own our own feelings. Telling people to shut up is rude, even if they do annoy us.

16. Finding yourself doing extra ‘voluntary’ tasks that you do not really want to do. ___

Passive – saying “Yes” to requests when we would rather say “No” does not support us.

17. Resolving differences with people, by raising them and discussing them. ___

Assertive – this is not avoiding issues for fear of conflict or non- agreement, but bringing out differences so that they can be understood.

18. Avoiding confronting people because you have to work with them tomorrow, and you do not want to upset or anger them. ___

Passive – not confronting inappropriate behaviour or comments does not support us and not expressing how we feel causes us to feel resentment.

19. Criticising and openly finding fault with others. ___

Aggressive – this is attacking others and is not okay, and is not the same as telling others how we feel about how they behave.

20. Launching a verbal attack in response to being attacked. ___

Aggressive – if someone is aggressive towards us it will not serve us to be aggressive back. This is usually how fights start. It is better to stay calm and be clear about how you feel.

21. Changing your mind to go along with the majority or a powerful group. ___

Passive – going along with a powerful group to ‘stay in with them’ is not being who we really are and saying what we really feel. If however you are working in a group, and a rule has been established that when there is disagreement there will be a vote, and the majority decision will win. Then stay with your point of view, but if you lose the vote, thereafter the decision made by the vote becomes the group’s decision, so support it unconditionally because you belong to the group.

22. Asking someone calmly for the money that they owe you. ___

Assertive – They owe you the money so you have a right to ask for it. You are not threatening them or being aggressive.

23. Believing in “Anything for a quiet life”. ___

Passive – avoiding conflict at all cost does not allow you to be yourself or stand up for what you believe in.

24. Feeling that if you are reasonable with other people you will probably end up giving something away. ___

Aggressive – if you feel you will lose out by being reasonable then it is unlikely you will choose to treat other people reasonable, and we all deserve that.

25. Trying to get ‘one-up’ on people. ___

Aggressive – this implies using others or taking advantage in some way which is not okay.

26. Finding it difficult to cope with aggressive verbal behaviour from others. ___

Passive – this implies you will not stand up for what you want or believe in if other people are aggressive. You do not have to be aggressive back, in fact this is unwise, but say how you feel about the situation.

27. Correcting people who push into a queue in front of you in a calm even voice. ___

Assertive – you have the right to say there is a system and that you would like them to follow it like everyone else.

28. Making excuses when you are verbally attacked. ___

Passive – if someone chooses to attack you that is up to them, it does not imply they are right or that you are wrong or have to be defensive. You can comment on their aggression, or say you feel attacked.

29. Regarding yourself as someone who “does not suffer fools gladly”. ___

Aggressive – this implies we are better than others and classifies others as fools.

30. Helping others to sort out their own problems rather than imposing a solution. ___

Assertive – This is supporting others not just in this situation but in learning how to find solutions in the future. Also it does not set you up as the expert or better than them.

31. Finding yourself staring other people down. ___

Aggressive – this is an aggressive stance and is trying to impose your authority on others.

32. Describing yourself as ‘blunt and to the point’. ___

Aggressive – this means you are not polite or caring about how others feel and do not mind if you offend them.

33. Finding it difficult to stand up to people in authority. ___

Passive – they are no better than you and you have as much right to say how you feel and what you think.

34. Getting into arguments with people and leaving them unresolved. ___

Aggressive – arguments tend not to get resolved when people are unwilling to see each others’ point of view. It does not mean anyone will change their mind but you can agree to differ and respect each other’s viewpoint.

35. Believing that ‘attack is the best form of defence’. ___

Aggressive – attacking others is aggressive behaviour.

36. Dealing with your own concerns and the concerns of others openly rather than ignoring them or changing the subject. ___

Assertive – showing your concerns and seeing other people’s is a polite and caring way of making sure everyone is heard.

37. “Suffering in silence”. ___

Passive – how can this strategy serve anyone?

38. Losing your temper with someone. ___

Aggressive – getting angry with people is aggressive behaviour.

39. Being ready to complain if you get bad service or food in a restaurant. ___

Assertive – being ready does not mean you will, nor does it mean you are looking for an opportunity, it simply means if the need arises you are prepared to say that something is wrong.