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Assertiveness Training

Carolyne French

By Carolyne French, Head of Program Learning,
15 February 2024

Thinka’s ‘Boost Assertiveness’ Workshop

People often mistake assertiveness for aggression or abrasiveness. In fact, assertiveness is more about clarity. If we think about the phrase ‘to be clear is to be kind’, then we understand the true meaning of assertiveness. We don’t arm ourselves with false confidence and we don’t apologise or dance around issues. It’s about truth, authenticity and dropping the ego to seek the ‘win-win’.

What leaders will explore

  • Four communication styles and ‘win-win’
  • Understanding the role of body language
  • The role of radical candour
  • Understanding emotional agility
  • Assertiveness and the authentic you

What leaders will apply

  • Ability to negotiate ‘winwin’ outcomes
  • Strategies for increasing assertiveness levels
  • Preserving the relationship while still getting
    the message across
  • Regulating techniques for emotions
  • A more authentic communication style
Workshop Purpose

Assertive communication is essential for leaders to manage teams in a complex world of work. Skills in assertiveness help leaders in decision-making, conflict resolution and developing self-confidence. When leaders are assertive, they are better able to deliver clear messages and manage difficult situations. The purpose of this workshop is to help leaders step into assertive behaviour and adapt their communication style so they can have more influence.

Working with organisations across Australia, we know that communication is the #1 skill sought after by leaders and teams. Here are some reasons why assertive communication is essential to modern workplaces:

  1. Rise of ‘human skills’: More and more, organisations are helping employees develop both technical skills and soft skills. Leaders are engaging in more candid conversations about behaviour and accountability. Assertiveness skills will help leaders coach and give feedback to team members and manage conversations around behaviour. 
  2. Technology and rise of AI: Advancements in technology and the way we work will automate more manual work, changing job roles and what organisations consider valuable. Employees with highly developed communication skills, who can lead through change, will become increasingly desirable. 
  3. Complex world of work: Living in a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment means that leaders will need to give confidence and assurance to their teams constantly. Assertiveness techniques help leaders present a clearer picture for their teams so they understand priorities and expectations. 
  4. Role clarity: Because the lines are more blurred in modern workplaces, employees will continually need role clarity and tasks defined. Assertiveness training gives leaders an edge in dealing with conversations related to role clarity and finding agreement on tasks, so outcomes can be achieved. 
  5. Mental health: 1 in 5 Australians are currently experiencing a mental health issue. Skills in assertiveness can help leaders express their needs clearly while respecting the rights of other parties. A communication style that is more self-assured can help leaders manage mental health and issues like overwhelm and possible burnout.

Overall, assertiveness can help leaders navigate these challenges and develop greater self-respect. With Assertiveness Training, coaching sessions, and support from peers, leaders can uplift their communication style and put across their point of view more confidently.

If you want to learn more on communication and assertiveness skills, see our article on ‘What is communication?’ that talks you through the four communication styles.

Workshop Benefits

With the help of Assertiveness Training, skills that leaders and teams can put in place to enhance performance include:

  1. Communication: Leaders who are assertive communicators are better able to manage aggressive, passive aggressive and passive communication styles in their direct reports. Leaders understand why people might default to these communication styles and how to manage them out of these behaviours. 
  2. Self-confidence: New situations, projects and ever-changing work environments call for assertiveness and certainty from leaders. They are better equipped to support team members when they have strong interpersonal skills, articulate problems clearly, and identify solutions. Leaders who are assertive can make a big difference to the self-confidence of their direct reports as well. 
  3. Relationship management: This involves the ability to recognise and regulate one’s own emotions and maintain healthy relationships with others. Leaders can improve this by engaging in positive body language and making eye contact, while they communicate their needs and expectations clearly. 
  4. Perspective taking: Conflict can arise when there are different perspectives in the workplace, but leaders who are skilled in assertiveness can navigate this. Leaders who stay calm and objective in situations and look for the ‘win-win’ have a greater impact on workplace culture and get results. 
  5. Decision making: When leaders communicate decisions in a positive way while considering the rights of others, they get better buy-in. Leaders can build this this capability by weighing up both positive and negative impacts of a decision and by being ‘clear but kind’. Lack of assertiveness can lead to ambiguity and team members need certainty and direction.

By developing capability in assertiveness, leaders can grow their interpersonal skills and manage people, projects and performance with greater ease.

Workshop FAQs

What is Assertiveness Training?

Our Assertiveness Training workshop is specifically designed for leaders to boost self-esteem and develop skills in effective communication. It aims to provide participants with the strategies, tools and resources to apply their learning and lead with greater confidence. Our experienced facilitators have worked with many Australian leaders on assertive communication skills and will share case studies and stories to help your leaders.

Why should my organisation offer Assertiveness Training?

Being part of Assertiveness Training can help leaders become more confident, leading to greater job satisfaction. It can also help participants to break through barriers that might otherwise hold them back from accessing new opportunities. The workshop experience is designed to help leaders learn from each other and see how they might support each other to grow assertive behaviours.

Who can attend Assertiveness Training?

Assertiveness skills training is designed for leaders. The skills we focus on encourages clear and straightforward communication that helps them convey expectations, tasks and goals to their teams. However, this training can be easily customised for team members and middle to upper management as well.

Is Assertiveness Training only available in person?

We deliver a lot of in-person workshops across Melbourne and Sydney but Assertiveness Training can be delivered in an in-person, virtual or hybrid format; depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of strategies, discussions and a series of activities to support on the job application.

The training can be complemented with coaching sessions with a Thinka coach. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and building fresh confidence and capability in each of the participants. Organisations might also opt for a blended program that makes use of an online course and other forms of media as well.

Workshop Case Study

‘Radically Candid Teams’ with Specsavers

 

1. What was the objective?

Leaders at Specsavers wanted to develop greater assertiveness to achieve win-win outcomes with their direct reports. We partnered with the organisation to deliver two workshops for 30 Senior Managers, Managers and Executives. Each workshop ran for three and a half hours, focusing on the skill of delivering compassionate but direct feedback using Kim Scott’s ‘Radical Candor’ framework. The workshop targeted individuals’ understanding of the role of self-awareness, mindset and bias when providing feedback as a leader.

2. How did we do it?

The workshop was a balance of theory and practical application. We started the workshop by exploring how the leaders’ mindsets and potential biases could impact the effectiveness of their communication skills and the outcome of a feedback conversation.

Through bespoke scenarios applicable to the organisation’s context, the participants learned about potential language traps and how assertive communication versus other types of speech impacted the power of their message.

The participants workshopped how to prepare and execute a ‘Radical Candor’ conversation with their peers. This role-play exercise helps to build ‘muscle memory’ in participants and enables them to get real-time feedback on their delivery.

3. How was it integrated and what were the results?

Leaders received a post-workshop video and an application tool to embed their learnings of ‘Radical Candor’ and support conversations with their direct reports. Based on the success of this assertiveness training, Specsavers has continued to engage us with further work in the coaching and leadership development space.

It was such a valuable opportunity to be in a room with a diverse group of colleagues (and role play) and hear their experiences.

Boost Assertiveness participant, Abacus Property Group

Workshop Outline

Delivery Options

In Person Workshop

Virtual Workshop

See Demo

Key Outcomes

1. Leaders who are self-aware.

2. Leaders who role model assertiveness for team members.

3. Leaders who can authentically communicate, seeking the ‘win-win’.

4. Leaders who can regulate their emotions to steady themselves.

5. Leaders who know how to be ‘clear to be kind’.

Target Audience

Leaders

Learning Approach

Experiential and application based learning

Workshops to pair me with:

Win Negotiations

When the ‘win–win’ is more important than the ‘win–lose’.

Negotiation Skills for Leaders

Drive Accountability

It’s about holding people accountable to
expectations, goals and outcomes.

Skills to Hold People Accountable

Our in-person workshops maximise opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – our in-person workshops build a formidable bridge between exploration and application. We have a 10 person minimum for an in person workshop.

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Our virtual workshops breathe fresh life into the online experience with their almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built workshop materials, participants can be assured of a lively, dynamic session that has a distinct bias to action. We have a 6 person minimum for a virtual workshop.

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This audience includes ‘middle management’ leaders who support team members in capability building. The skills are geared toward increasing leadership effectiveness and driving performance in team members in modern work contexts. These skills are flexible and built to grow with individuals as they evolve in their leadership journeys.
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Thinka believes that every learner needs to walk away being able to do something differently once they’ve engaged in a learning solution. The real power is in every individual applying their learning. Our behaviour-based methods, supported by the latest research, are key to making the steps for change relevant and realistic.

Thinka supports with methods like storytelling, experiential activities or rich questioning, but ultimately, we know the integration between solution and real world is the most crucial part of the learning experience. That is why we look for ways to ‘build a bridge’ between the solution we provide and what happens back out on the job.

Whether it’s an application template, a set of strategies, some tips or a ‘how to’ model – we work hard to provide every learner with not just information but the tools they need to make a real difference.

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