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Assertiveness

Assertiveness

Definition: The comfort one has to express oneself boldly, to persuade, to persist or to speak up. The willingness one has to impose themselves on another.

Greater Description: It measures the willingness in difficult situations to jump in and say something without outside motivation. Also, it measures the willingness to take control of conversations in some way. For example, in sales it is the willingness to openly ask for a sale, ask for the money, persist with questions or close a sale.

What the Trait is NOT: This trait does not measure aggressiveness although people who score high in assertiveness are sometimes aggressive in their dealing with other people. It does not always measure ability or willingness to talk. It does not measure aggressiveness toward dealing with situations. It does not measure how important assertiveness is in appropriate situations.

Closely Related Traits: Self Esteem, Confronting People, Competitiveness, and Assertive on the Ability tests.

Closely Related Tests: Sales, People, and Logic Ability Test, SL Behavioral Aptitude and IC Behavioral Aptitude assessment

TRAIT RANGES:

Extreme Low: 0 to 14. These people find it very uncomfortable to speak up when they know they should. They cause delays and problems when they do not speak up. For example, I know of one lady hired as a bookkeeper who didn’t go to her boss for help when she was having a software problem and just let the work build up. A person in this range should not be in a position that frequently deals with and controls people or require changing someone’s mind. These people should not be put in charge of more than three subordinates and definitely not put in charge of another supervisor who has subordinates. Because these people don’t speak up when they should, it is important for their supervisors to encourage them to voice their concerns and make them feel safe about what they say. This is not an indicator of attitude problems. WARNING: These people are telling you in no uncertain terms they are very uncomfortable about persuading others.

Low Range: 15 to 39. These people find it uncomfortable to speak up when they know they should. They cause delays and problems when they do not speak up. A person in this range should not be in a position that frequently deals with and controls people. These people should not be put in charge of more than three subordinates and definitely not put in charge of another supervisor. Because these people don’t speak up when they should, it is important for their supervisors to encourage them to voice their concerns and make them feel safe about what they tell you. WARNING: These people are telling you in no uncertain terms they are uncomfortable about persuading others.

Medium Range: 40 to 60. These people show a good balance of Assertiveness. This trait in this range would not adversely affect any position.

High Range: 61 to 95. They have no problem influencing other people. They are likely to persist in changing someone’s mind about something. The assertiveness may turn into aggressiveness at times. They deal with people or control people comfortably and gravitate to leadership roles. The Assertive trait on the ability tests shows how well they understand the importance of Assertiveness and when being assertive is most appropriate.

Extreme High: 96 to 100. They have no problems influencing other people. They are likely to persist in changing someone’s mind about something. They deal with people or control people comfortably and gravitate to leadership roles. The assertiveness may turn into aggressiveness too often. This person could easily overwhelm others and drive out their initiative by fear. They deal with people or control people almost compulsively and gravitate to leadership roles. This is not an indicator of integrity and attitude problems. The Assertive trait on the ability tests shows how well they understand the importance of Assertiveness and when being assertive is most appropriate.

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

When you find out you need more information from a customer to complete a task, how would you go about getting it if you had their fax number, e-mail address, phone number and address?  What type of task are you thinking about?  How long would you wait if they didn’t respond right away?  (If they say it depends.) What would it depend on?  (If other than the telephone) What would you do if they didn’t respond in that time?  Why is that?  What would you do it they still didn’t respond?  (If they said they would use a telephone.) Would you leave a message or keep calling?  (If they said they would keep calling.) How often would you keep calling?  Why?  (Question their answers.)

Is it easier to do something yourself than ask reluctant co-workers to do their job?  Why is that?  What experience have you had with that?  (Question their answers.)

Do you enjoy controlling people?  Why is that?  What experience have you had with that?  (Question their answers.)

Do you enjoy convincing others of your ideas?  Why is that?  What experience have you had with that?  (Question their answers.)

How do you feel about upsetting someone you are trying to persuade?  Why is that?  (Question their answers.)

What do you feel is the best strategy when someone says NO to your request?  Why is that?  What experience have you had with that?  (Question their answers.)

Do you prefer letting others make up their own minds?  Why is that?  What experience have you had with that?  (Question their answers.)

Do you enjoy changing someone’s mind just for the challenge of it?  Why is that?  What experience have you had with that?  (Question their answers.)

Has there been a situation where you wish you had said something in a meeting or in an encounter but did not?  How about a time when you did?  Describe the situation.  Why did you decide to do what you did?

Have you ever offered an idea or suggestion to someone who did not ask for it?  How did that go?  How did you approach that situation?  Why?

TIP: Don’t telegraph the profile or the answers you would like to hear. Instead, ask questions where the correct answer is difficult to determine. For example, don’t ask, “Are you assertive?” (The obvious answer you’re looking for is that you are assertive, whereas these suggested questions are designed to avoid that and still find out about the trait.)

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