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Time management - Assertiveness



Assertiveness can easily be confused with anger, aggression, overbearing nature and rudeness.
Whenever you are trying to assert yourself you are communicating with one or more persons who also want to assert them selves.

Both groups are trying to get into a winning position.
In fact, each individual has rights so you have no more right to get your way than another.

Assertiveness is about trying to influence others to go in your direction whilst respecting them as a person.
It is not about who can shout the loudest.

An aggressive personality does not respect the rights of others.
A passive personality is not assertive but may respect others.


In this context we are worried about persons trying to take up your time and you trying to avoid it.
At the end of the day you want to say, ‘no’. Other aspects of this are covered elsewhere, see ‘can’t say No’.

Try to delay people while you search for a reason to refuse the task.
Ask them how long it will take?
Get advice on your current responsibilities.
Arrange another time to discuss it.


These series of steps may prove useful.

  • Listen carefully to what the person is asking you to do. Clarify any points so that you fully understand This has the advantage of gaining you time while you consider reasons not to do the task.
  • If you want to say ‘no’ make sure you use the word ‘no’. If you end up doing the task ask for what you need, more time, more resource, more information etc.
  • Check the other person understands what you have said and requested.

Many people that make requests of your time will do so using similar methods each time. If this applies to you consider how you may circumvent being put into this position. Plan ahead your actions and replies.

Many people also add a personal feeling to the reason why they are unable to do the task. This could be, for example, ‘I need to spend more time with my family’ or ‘I’ve been neglecting my health and want time to rejuvenate’ etc.
If you put forward a reason make sure that it is concrete and can not be used against you.
If you don’t want to attend a party and say you have another friend coming round the answer may be, ‘That’s OK bring them along’.

Non - PRINCE2 information