Violence at Work (UK)

Being Assertive

Getting what you want all of the time and being assertive are not quite the same thing. Assertiveness is about speaking up, saying no when that is appropriate, taking responsibility to ask for what you want and being comfortable that what you are asking for is reasonable in the circumstances.

It involves listening to and giving consideration to the other person’s point of view, and it requires patience and a good understanding of workplace practices and procedures.

Begin any requests, only after gaining the other persons attention.

Always pre-amble any instructions or requests with a brief explanation.

Try and make your reasoning clearly understood - this may be the most difficult task.

Make your explanation and add " So would you please…. So I’d prefer you to….. So I’m going to ask you now to"

In the context of managing an angry and aggressive person, being assertive can also mean compromising on original ‘ideal’ goals, if this is required in order to achieve the best ‘available and workable’ solution to the immediate problem.

Being assertive can also mean choosing to leave a situation - and doing so. The primary consideration will always be safety.

‘Sticking to you guns’ and persisting with your request is fine until it becomes clear that the other person is not minded to agree with anything you say. Then it may become wiser to accept this rather than to continue to try to convert their point of view. Knowing this, it is wise to set a ‘fall back’ position beforehand, to turn to if the other person shows that they are not going to agree to your request in full. For most workers this will mean calling for and passing responsibility for dealing with the angry person, to a more senior member of staff.

What will you do?

Plan now.