This brings us to the question about whether managers prefer assertive employees. Contrary to popular belief, today’s employers and recruiters are looking for certain indications of assertiveness during the interview process. But why is it such a valued trait and why do managers prefer assertive employees?
1. Better problem solvingAt work, an assertive employee is able to address interoffice, as well as customer issues head-on. Unlike them, people who are very passive in their approach to dealing with others will face difficulties in expressing their opinions and needs, while aggressive employees are more likely to disregard the needs of those they are interacting with. Typically, this is why managers prefer employees who are able to toe the line of assertiveness and not let it evolve into aggression.
2. More effective communicationA large part of working in an organisation is about teamwork and communicating well with superiors, colleagues and subordinates. Unlike others, assertive employees are able to do all these in a constructive way, and get their message across without hurting other people’s feelings.
An objective manager knows that assertive people are more productive and are likely to perform better, since they have the confidence to consistently make independent decisions whenever necessary and don’t have to wait for their manager’s feedback all the time. They also know when they need to ask for clarification in order to perform their tasks to the required standard. They are also level-headed and can digest critique without actually withdrawing into their shells or exploding in anger, both of which can impede performance.
3. Valuable inputsWhenever assertive employees interact with their co-workers, they are easily able to delegate assignments. They can conduct team meetings (if that’s part of their job responsibility) with assurance and make positive contributions in departmental meetings as well. Assertive people are able to liaise with their colleagues both in and outside of work, and become a valuable asset to the company.
4. Better customer serviceRegardless of the scale of the business or the service or product being offered, customer satisfaction becomes the cornerstone of a business. Assertive people can communicate effectively with customers, listen to their complaints, ask appropriate questions and resolve the issues they are facing. When they are unable to resolve an issue, they can politely and firmly apologise that they are unable to do any more, without hurting the other person’s feelings or giving the company a bad name.
5. Less tension in the workplaceMany organisations now opt for specialised assertiveness training sessions for their employees, such as the one Activia provides, and smart managers know that this will benefit them (and the company) too. In most cases, workplace tension is the result of poor communication or the inability to control one’s emotions, both of which can be remedied by assertiveness training.
When employees are assertive, destructive and unnecessary interpersonal tensions are significantly reduced. The fact is that assertion breeds assertion and employees are more likely to work better with assertive colleagues, rather than against them. From a manager’s viewpoint, a more assertive workforce means being able to get more satisfactory outcomes from team members.
6. Increased confidenceAssertive employees are more confident about themselves, which helps them recognise and accept the strengths of the people they work with, instead of feeling threatened by them. This creates an atmosphere of healthy competition within the team. It keeps everyone on their toes, helps them improve their productivity and ensures that no one is unhappy, which makes it a win-win for the manager handling that team.
7. No fear of failureOne of the most important reasons why managers prefer assertive employees is that assertive employees aren’t afraid of failures or of making mistakes. This also means that they will be more proactive at trying out new strategies at work, and will be more actively involved in the workings of the organisation.
They won’t step back from taking initiatives such as putting forth ideas in team meetings, or asking whether certain changes are possible in the workings of the department. This helps them climb the corporate ladder faster and benefits the organisation as it keeps stagnancy at bay.
8. Less stressWhen employees are no longer constantly preoccupied with losing out or upsetting others, they save themselves a great deal of nervous energy. In turn, this reduces the stress levels among co-workers, which are typically associated with proving themselves and getting results. Since they are much less concerned of what others think about them and have no fear of making mistakes, it gives them the scope to work more productively in other aspects of their jobs.
9. More level-headed discussionsIn addition to this, there are certain intangible benefits too; some of which are directly related to the managers themselves. Every manager conducts appraisal meetings for their team members. There are times when employees have to be given some unsavoury feedback, which can lead to a certain amount of tension that can impact the manager-employee working relationship.
Having to give negative feedback is tough, but it can be even more stressful to conduct these meetings with hostile employees. Since assertive people are more confident and are able to communicate and discuss issues in a more level-headed manner, it helps the manager maintain positivity in the course of appraisal meetings.
10. Honesty and integrityIt’s a proven fact that employees who are more assertive are automatically perceived as being very honest and having higher levels of integrity compared to those who aren’t. There are some managers who feel threatened by assertive employees, as it is also a trait of successful and effective leaders. However, smart managers will encourage employees to be assertive and vocal – after all, leadership is not about holding the reins and controlling employees by pulling back. It’s about reaching organisational goals by leading, supporting, encouraging, and honing employee behaviour and creating a workplace culture where everyone’s opinion is respected and every person is valued.
What do you think? Do you agree with us or could you give any other reasons why managers prefer assertive employees? Make sure to let us know in the comments below.