Assertive behavior and the Future of Work

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“Our silence makes our relationships more superficial, as the more we are silent, the more people will only know us partially.”

This quote is from a book on assertiveness, by a bloke called Duke Robinson.

I was familiar with – and also had bought into – a number of reasons as to why it makes sense for us, as humans and as professionals, to strive to embody assertive behavior (as opposed to passive, aggressive, or – the worst! – passive-aggressive behavior), but when I came across the reason above, I felt a deep resonance, and thought, “Now this is a reason I can get behind!” 

So. What is assertive behavior anyway and why should we care about it?!

My favorite way to understand assertive behavior is via a four-quadrant image. (Heads up! For those of you who don’t know this about me yet – I love quadrants!!! Bear with me…)

Here’s a clear, descriptive schema that I grabbed off the internet -->

I like this visual (there are tons of variations on this BTW if you want to look for others on the Internet!) because it sets out what assertive behavior – and its alternatives – are in a very clear and simple way. ⬇️

  • ASSERTIVE: I win + you win
  • AGGRESSIVE: I win + you lose
  • PASSIVE: I lose + you win
  • PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE: I lose + you lose (womp womp! …let’s avoid this one like the plague!) 🙃😎

One of the really exciting things to keep in mind with regard to this, is that behaving in an assertive way is a LEARNED BEHAVIOR, and therefore even if our current / natural way of being falls into one of the other quadrants, we can still learn how to move into an “I win + you win” model. SO COOL!!!! 💫 (I can vouch for this, as I used to hang out more in the ‘passive’ quadrant…but with practice, have wormed my way into the assertive quadrant, and now hang out there most of the time. 🙌🏼)

So this – of course – begs the question. 

Why should we care about any of this? And: why should we care about which quadrant we hang out in the most?

My most compelling reason is this: incredible, beautiful things happen – internally and externally – when people who are by nature more passive start speaking up more, and people who are by nature more aggressive start listening more. Incredible, beautiful things happen – internally and externally – when I value you as much as I value me, and when I value me as much as I value you. Inside the workplace. And outside of the workplace.

Here at Growmotely, our interest in hanging out in the assertiveness quadrant manifests itself in many ways, and I will share a few here:

➡️ Within our own company, we have decided to operate without a hierarchical structure.
➡️ We have made a company-wide declaration that all stakeholders matter.
➡️ We are not here to exploit remote workers or companies – we are here to lift both groups of people up, and to facilitate win-win matches and solutions between the two.

We see the Future of Work as a place where “I win; you win” solutions abound more than ever before. When it comes to relationships between a company and its team members, when it comes to relationships between team members, and when it comes to relationships between companies and the planet. “I win; you win” is possible, and we’re all about pursuing this assertiveness quadrant with all of our hearts. 💫❣️

Written by: Vanessa Kettner (Growmotely’s Creative Writer and your Remote Work Cupid)
Dedicated to: Dr. Disa Cornish (née Lubker) – with whom I had a lovely (and substantive) chat about assertiveness yesterday! 🙏🏼

P.S. Friends! Monday, 26th September (one day after my mother’s 73rd birthday!) is the last day to invest in our Republic Crowdfunding Campaign. (Yikes!) If you’re feeling it, you can cruise over here to sneak in your investment just before the deadline…

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