Assertive Communication To Reduce Workplace Stress

ladies in a meeting

Now more than ever our workplaces seem to be a place that exposes us to stressors and depending on our psychological health at the time, our reactions to stress can be varied. While each of us are responsible for how we react in every situation, you can play a significant role in communicating effectively to minimise the risk of others adversely reacting to your comments and instructions.

One strategy which will have a major positive effect on others in the workplace is for you to be continually practising and displaying an assertive communication style.

What is an assertive communication style and how does it work?
Assertive communications is that middle ground between passive and defensive communication styles which are driven by hidden fears, uncertainties and hidden agendas.
Assertive communications do not evoke a threat response in others because it is based on the premise of providing the transparent communication of information.
Assertive communication displays authority and confidence.

Assertive communication can be defined as:

  1. The ability to express both  positive and negative content in a constructive manner;
  2. The vehicle that allows recognition of your rights while respecting the rights of others;
  3. A communication style that is not passive or defensive, but constructive and effective;
  4. Taking responsibility for your own communication style;
  5. Constructively debating a matter to find mutually beneficial solutions; and
  6. A choice. By accepting that by choosing to communicate in an assertive manner, you set an example for others, thereby implicitly inviting others to make this choice also.

THINK before you speak
To be able to communicate in an assertive manner, ensure you collect the necessary data/information you need to clearly convey a message and that you THINK carefully before delivering that message.

T  – is it True?
H – is it Helpful?
I   – is it In line with our values?
N  – is it Necessary?
K  – is it Kind?

If you would like one of our free Workplace Conflict Resolution THINK reminder cards, please email

Look for the second blog in this series released in June and published monthly on our website.

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.