Do you remember a time when you wanted to voice a perspective or opinion but held back out of fear of upsetting others or appearing overly assertive or cold-hearted?
The dilemma results from a struggle between having compassion for other people and having strong opinions.
Assertiveness and compassion are frequently perceived as being mutually exclusive. While they can coexist in such a seamless and healthy way because they go hand in hand:
Compassion involves showing empathy and understanding, while assertiveness entails clearly expressing thoughts while still considering the rights of others.
These two definitions are not contradictory; they can complement each other.
A workplace that embraces compassion cultivates a supportive and inclusive culture, leading to many benefits such as improved employee well-being, enhanced teamwork and productivity and overall organizational success. Compassionate leaders are not solely focused on driving profits for the company but also on fostering personal growth among employees. These leaders are very approachable in conversations and are motivated to provide constructive feedback.
Nevertheless, it is important to be mindful of the boundaries of compassion. Excessive compassion can lead to compassion fatigue, where individuals become emotionally drained and find it challenging to perform on the long run. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain self-care and set boundaries to avoid unfavorable effects on one’s well-being and work performance.
On the other hand, assertiveness often receives negative connotations when it is linked to being aggressive or annoying. This misconception can discourage individuals from developing assertiveness skills.
However, it is important to recognize that assertiveness, when practiced effectively, contributes to a positive work environment. It allows employees to build effective relationships, ensures that their ideas and needs are acknowledged, reduces conflicts, enhances collaboration and promotes growth.
Practicing assertiveness is crucial because it empowers employees to communicate their opinions, navigate challenging circumstances, address conflicts, express limits and contribute to the team’s success.
If you are looking for ways to combine compassion and assertiveness, it is worth considering the establishment of rapport and trust within your team. That way, your employees are granted the freedom to express themselves while still fostering responsibility and accountability within their roles.
Assertiveness is most valuable when it contributes to the team’s overarching milestones and achievements. By not being assertive, leaders may unintentionally accept unsatisfactory results, leading to unmet goals. As a leader, you have the ability to blend these two attributes, leading to a more productive and successful team and will grant you the balance you are looking for.
Adjusting your leadership style to incorporate more assertiveness might initially feel inauthentic, yet it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s crucial to recognize that you’re not fundamentally changing who you are as a person, but rather making a deliberate choice about your behavior.
You can still maintain a friendly and compassionate attitude while effectively communicating your needs and expectations.