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The Middle Path to Assertiveness

To have self-knowledge is to be filled with wonder, adventure, curiosity, and creativity. We must understand the importance of this concept if we are to be successful as leaders.
Maurice Sykes, The Art of Leadership: Leading Early Childhood Organizations

Assertiveness is “stating your feelings and needs in a kind, respectful way that makes them more likely to be heard,” according to a recent Psychology Today article by Dr. Jonice Webb.

“It’s not something that comes easily to most, so if this is difficult for you, please know that your skills can be strengthened. One of the most impactful ways to develop assertiveness skills is to begin to take your own feelings and emotional needs more seriously. But this does not come naturally for the legions of people who grew up with childhood emotional neglect.”

Webb describes five learnable assertiveness skills, including being aware of your feelings in the moment; trusting your feelings deserve to be heard by others; identifying and validating your feelings internally, so you are better able to express yourself externally; attempting to understand others’ feelings; and considering your surroundings, the situation, and the setting.

They note, “You won’t get it right every time, and that’s OK. The benefits of working on these assertiveness skills are great. After some practice, you’ll soon discover more ease in communicating, increased awareness, and growing confidence.”

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