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Description: Assertiveness: Not Anger or Aggression | Assertiveness: A Personal Positive | Getting Employees to speak Up | Team Building
Volume 8 Issue 6 November 2014 Assertive or a Bully What s the Difference In this newsletter we re going to take a look at an issue that affects many areas of your life...your workplace your position on a board of directors your personal life. There is a fine line between assertiveness and bullying and often the definition placed on one s behavior has to do with the person who is responding to and perceiving that behavior. To some being outspoken is a positive sign of assertiveness. To others it s a sign of someone who bullies and monopolizes conversations and interactions. For women the issue can be particularly sensitive. In workplace environments women often have a smaller range of acceptable behaviors and some behaviors by men that would be considered positive and valued are considered negative if exhibited by women. If women are decisive and competitive the way they are perceived doesn t always translate positively. Since the field of early childhood education is predominantly female some of the heat is removed from perceptions of behavior however as you move into leadership positions either in the workplace or within your association these perceptions begin to matter significantly. Here are some tips (for both men and women) that may help you to Inside this issue Assertiveness Not Anger or Aggression Assertiveness A Personal Positive Getting Employees to Speak Up Team Building 2 2 3 4 be perceived in an assertive positive manner. 1) Listen to Others Although you are passionate about your beliefs allow people to disagree. Assertiveness doesn t translate to ignoring others and refusing to listen to their perspectives. You don t have all the answers 2) Learn to Compromise. Once divergent opinions have been expressed learn how to find common ground. If you re an advocate this is a skill that you certainly need to have. 3) Support Positive Change Change is hard for most people and backing people into corners won t benefit anyone. Maintain your positions but be ready to work with others. Trying to force others (bullying) to accept your positions and solutions won t work in the long run. Remember that assertiveness translates to stating your opinions clearly and concisely listening to other opinions being flexible enough to modify your ideas and working as a team to implement changes that are needed. Good leaders managers know when to be assertive and when to sit back and listen. The Leadership Letter SOUTHERN EARLY CHILDHOOD ASSOCIATION Resource The Fine Art of Female Assertiveness Marcia Reynolds www.psychologytoday.com Retrieved 3 26 2014 Leadership Commission Members Anita Dailey GA Marti Nicholson OK Susan Barnes VA Crystal Campbell SC Jeffrey Leffler MS Assertiveness Doesn t Equal Anger or Aggression You have an employee or board member that spirals out of control with a temper that s hard to tame. She he displays behavior that is perceived by colleagues as aggressive veering toward bullying and you ve got to do something to change the situation. This employee isn t assertive this employee is just angry. She is a valued employee in her role with the program (or board) but her behavior is causing disruption and distress for her colleagues. Some of her anger is channeled into passive aggressive responses and that s causing even more disruption. The anger may have a basis in the workplace or it may be on a personal level. Regardless it s your problem because you re the manager leader. Healthy anger can be a good thing and as early childhood educators we spend a great deal of time helping children learn to deal with impulsiveness anger and inappropriate responses to frustration. By the time we re adults we should have learned how to channel those impulses but that s not always the case. People who are constantly putting others down criticizing everything and making cynical comments haven t learned how to constructively express their anger. As a manager you ve got to find a solution. This means either removing the employee (and that means hiring and retraining) or you ve got to try some strategies to help her learn to suppress redirect and calm. may not be possible and controlling and challenging that inappropriate behavior becomes the job of the President. The September 2013 issue of The Leadership Letter is devoted to conflict resolution in a board of directors and you may find useful ideas there. People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustraYour employee handbook should tion inconvenience or annoyance. clearly delineate how inappropriate They can t take things in stride behavior within the workplace will and they re particularly infuriated be handled. Employee policies if the situation seems somehow and procedures usually outline a unjust for example being corseries of steps to take with an emrected for a minor mistake. ployee prior to termination that includes several rounds of manager to employee counseling all documented and placed in the employee s file. These steps most often reflect an increasing penalty for behavior that doesn t change and provides the basis for eventual termination if it becomes necessary. Regardless of whether this is a workplace or volunteer issue there are no easy answers. Assertiveness is a positive trait. Anger and aggressiveness are not. If it s a Board member that you are dealing with it s a different situation. Removal from the Board Resource Controlling Anger Before It Controls You American Psychological Association www.apa.org Retrieved 3 26 14 ASSERTIVENESS A Personal Positive Assertiveness is the ability to positively and constructively state your rights or needs without violating the rights of others. When you use direct open and honest communication in relationships to meet your personal needs you feel more confident gain respect from others and live a happier fulfilled life. Acting assertive helps maintain honesty in relationships allows you to feel more in control of your world and improves your ability to make decisions. Go to http www.utexas.edu hr current services informational assertiveness.html to get some tips on how to make that personal journey. Resource Assertiveness Skills for Current Employees University of Texas www.utexas.edu hr Retrieved 3 26 14 Page 2 T H E L E A D E R S HI P L E T T E R Getting Employees to Speak Up We all know the employee or board member that has great ideas but won t speak up during meetings. They may be naturally shy or just afraid of the response they ll receive if they participate and contribute. They are probably the children from the past who wouldn t raise their hands in class unless the teacher specifically called on them. If you have an employee or board member that you know has good ideas but tends not to share there are some things you can do to help them become more assertive and contribute to the organization. Ask for their feedback. Just who s just getting started) may have all the talent in the world and could be on a fast track to assume more responsibility however their failure to contribute is perceived as a negative and can adversely impact their chance for promotion or leadership opportunities. If they re working as a team (as boards do) that group is losing the benefit of their contributions and the success of a project or operation may be at risk. Encourage them to learn verbal feedback. Some folks just won t get to the point of speaking up much during a meeting. There are introverts and extroverts and we re not going to change personalities. Find a way to provide a communication channel for everyone and publicly recognize those whose contributions come through alternate channels. Many community organizations provide assertiveness training or public speaking opportunities that can benefit your board or workplace. This training teaches persons to COMMUNICATE in a way that s interactive respectful of others and contributory. If you feel that you have a significant number of employees or board members that could benefit from this training check out your community resources. Remember being assertive can provide big benefits for both employee and employer. New ideas constructive criticism can all contribute to the success of the workplace. (This holds true as well for boards of directors.) If you re in a management or leadership position it s assumed that you have learned to be assertive along the way or you wouldn t be there. That doesn t mean that you can t hone your skills. Take advantage of opportunities to increase your skills as a manager or leader and assume the role as mentor for those who need a helping hand. Source 6 Ways to Get like the teacher who called on them in class you can solicit their responses and feedback. For most people who don t participate group settings are difficult. See if you can figure out how to do this initially oneon-one and then gradually integrate this strategy into team or board meetings. Don t ignore others to implement this strategy. Just make sure that you re providing the opportunity for this person to participate. simple thank you goes a long way and helps to build confidence. It someone feels that their ideas and contributions are valued they are more likely to open up and share more frequently. speaking up. This person (quite often a young person public speaking. The dreaded speech class is not the answer As a manager you can provide them many opportunities to learn in a safe environment. Why not let them lead a parent meeting or do a presentation with your board Baby steps with lots of support will help them to become comfortable with public speaking opportunities. There are also community groups that mentor and nurture public speakers. for a team meeting or to help develop an agenda. Some people are more comfortable putting their ideas down on paper at first. If you ask them to develop a team or board meeting agenda with your support they will begin to organize their thoughts and think through how to share those thoughts. Ask them to lead the discussion on one item of the agenda. You can sit back and relax Ask them to develop a plan Thank them for sharing. A Point out the risk of not Accept both written and Shy Employees to Speak Up www.cbsnews.com Retrieved 3 26 14 T H E L E A D E R S HI P L E T T E R N OV E M B E R 20 1 4 PAGE 3 More Resources Targeted Leadership (2010) www.gryphonhouse.com This is an essential resource for leaders to use when polishing their skills as well as fostering them in their staff members. Whether you are creating a vision for the team you wish to recruit empowering new staff members through orientation coaching and training or energizing experienced staff members with team building Targeted Leadership provides you with the tools you need to transform your team. This book includes a CD-ROM with printable handouts for training or classroom use. SOUTHERN EARLY C H I L D H O OD A S S O C I A T I O N PO Box 55930 Little Rock AR 72215-5930 1-800-305-SECA (7322) Fax 501-227-5297 Email info southernearlychildhood.org The Leadership Letter September 2013 Board Conflict What Triggers Conflict How to Manage Conflict Let s Remain Friends Promoting Quality Care and Education for Young Children and Their Families SECA is a Voice for Southern Children www.southernearlychildhood.org Find it on the Leadership page of the SECA website. Team Building The Fun Stuff You re working on helping your employees to become more assertive increasing their contributions to your agency or board. You ve worked through your strategies to avoid conflict and defuse anger. Now s the time to look at team building strategies to build productivity innovation creativity and agility into your organization. Team building exercises can be a powerful way to unite a group Do team members know each other or should that be a goal of the exercise If it s a brand new team getting to know each other will be important. Are some members aggressive and focused solely on themselves Is the communication within the group positive or does it break down Does the team work as a team or is it just a group of individuals working side by side Are some members resistant to change Does this affect the team s progress How is the group s morale Does it need a boost questions you ll have some idea where to start. You want to plan something that will make each member of the team feel valued and included and you certainly want them to leave the exercise without feeling that they wasted their time. These exercises are usually laid back and fun but that doesn t mean that they can t meet certain goals and objectives. Make sure to keep competition out of these exercises. After all you re trying to build a team not see who as an individual can be the most successful Mind Tools is a website that contains many resources including suggestions on team building exercises. develop strengths and address weaknesses or it can be a monu- mental waste of time Planning is the key and should revolve around some basic questions Are there conflicts between individuals of the team Is this causing disruption in the team s operation When you ve answered these Resource Team Building Exercises Planning Activities That Actually Work www.mindtools.com Retrieved 3 26 14