Nadine Powrie Consultancy | Executive & Leadership Coaching

LinkedIn Live Assertiveness v control

This is the first in a series of LinkedIn Live talks by Nadine on leadership opportunities. Each session focuses on the difference between two ideas or words.

***The following transcript has been automatically generated and is presented here unchecked***


LinkedIn Live Assertiveness v control

Fri, 8/26 [3:11]PM • [19:24]


assertive, controlling, leader, observing, assertiveness, control, unkind, linkedin, conversation, leadership, emotion, meeting, policies, loud, work, assumption, extent, speaking, linked, performance management


Nadine Powrie


Nadine Powrie  [00:01]

It’s great to be back on LinkedIn live. So let’s do this. I’m truly surprised to have leadership conversation around assertiveness and control. And I wanted to share with you today some of the leadership conversations that I have been having with leaders around leadership around assertiveness and control post COVID. And I’m saying post COVID, because a lot of conversations have been focused on kindness and kindness, leadership, and empathy and listening skills. And it seems, and it feels for some leaders that actually being assertive and controlling, are not great things to do in your in your leadership. So I don’t necessarily agree with that. I would like to make sure that we have an opportunity to perhaps explore a little bit further about what is assertiveness? And what is controlling, and the assumptions that leaders are making when they think about assertiveness and control. So the first thing I’d like to do is I’d like to go back to the definition of assertiveness, so what is it? What does it mean? So assertiveness is a social skill, and it’s social skills that relies on effective communication. So by effective communication, yes, it’s when we speak for sure. But it is also everything that is linked to the nonverbal communication. And as we know, 55% of our communication is nonverbal. So Being assertive is relies on your communication. And it’s when you are respecting the soul to thinking of other people when, when you stand for what you believe in, and for for your home for yourself, for your own self, and for other people’s rights. So assertiveness is about being polite, it’s about being respectful. It’s about being firm, and it’s about being fair. And when we think about assertiveness, it tends to go in one direction, because you are assertive with people. So there is only kind of, I call it movement, there is only one movement between yourself and between others. Now, control is very different, because control is about influence. And when you when you influence, it usually goes two ways. And here it has two layers, because first of all, there is the internal influence, whereby, as a leader, it’s it’s about controlling your emotions, so your fear, your anger, your happiness, your your joy, your surprise, your disgust as well, because Disgust is an emotion. So it’s about regulating those emotions. And it’s something you know, that is within yourself, but it’s also something that is linked to external, so linked with other people link with external outcomes. For example, it may be KPIs that you want to achieve objectives that you want to achieve, or a number that you want to target. Or it may be when you want people to do what you want them to do. And that’s not necessarily being being aggressive. It’s just that you want them to do something. So, I hope that the definition is is clear. And I want to move on to the assumptions that some leaders are making about assertiveness and control. So assumption number one is that is this one is to be assertive, is to be loud. Okay, so to be assertive, is to be loud. So, being a great leader, I think is about self awareness. It’s about self control, and it’s about self regulation, first of all, so, if you’ve ever filmed yourself as a leader, when you are doing a presentation, or when you’re in a meeting, or a one to one meeting or a group meeting, if you’ve ever found yourself, you will have looked and analyze and and heard the conversations that you are having with your colleagues. Now conversation analysis is really fascinating because we observe the voice intonation, we observe the interruption, the break the pause, the silence, the type of questions, you’re asking the turn taking the delay the gaps, so we look at all of those when we are doing a conversation analysis. So how is that link to be being loud, when it’s only loud, if your intonation if your voice are very high, if your questions are quite, quite aggressive, so all of that is going to depend on how you are communicating and you’re in control of how you are communicating. Remember, Being assertive is being polite, it’s speaking, speaking with respect, and you choose your words, you choose what you want to say, remember that Tony Robbins said that we have an inventory of 200 words a day, so we tend to use the same words. And therefore we have habits. So if we have the habits of speaking loud, and speaking over people, yes, you aren’t going to be to some extent, quite quite rude because you’re not going to be respecting people. But being assertive isn’t being rude at all. Being assertive, is knowing yourself. And speaking from respect. So, to be assertive is to be loud. No, I would disagree with that. I think that sometime you can be loud, but not heard. The tone and the voice isn’t going to define how many people are going to be necessarily watching you listening to you. And and understanding you actually they may, they may it may have the complete opposite effect, they may switch off because you are being loud. So being assertive, isn’t being loud. And you can be assertive. Once you are silent. Whilst you are listening. Once you are thinking whilst you are figuring out things you are processing you are analyzing, you’re kind of sitting there and observing, and you can be assertive while you are silent. And I really want to make a point here. I did a LinkedIn Post this morning about observing and the importance of observing when when you are a leader. So I’d encourage you actually to read it. Because there are some I’ve made, I’ve made a few points about how observe how observing will be helpful for you when you’re a leader. So that’s assumption number number one. Assumption number two. It’s this one. It’s better to be assertive than controlling. So first of all, I want to go and explore really, what does it mean? What does it mean to be better? And I think in the past myself, I’ve been guilty of using that word. So I want to be better at what I do. But then when you are diving deep about what does it mean to be better? Here? It’s better to be assertive than controlling. Okay, so does it mean taking less risk? Does it mean less potential damage? Does it mean that it’s safer. And I would actually disagree or disagree that it’s better to be assertive than controlling simply because in some situations, any leader is going to have to be controlling, you’re going to have to make some decision, you’re going to have to take some actions, where you’re in control. And in those situations, you need to be controlling and being controlling doesn’t mean that you are aggressive by your mean. So let’s explore. Let’s give you some example of situations where you might need to be controlling. So the first one is about remember we talked about controlling your own emotion. And here if I’m thinking about a difficult conversation, so let’s say you’re you’re having a difficult conversation and you’re really struggling because you’re quite said by what the person is telling you. And yet you can’t appear to be to be upset. So, sometime there is what we can see. And sometimes there is what is visible to what is not visible. And ideally, it’s better to some extent, if you can control your your own emotion, and I think it, it comes with time when I work with leaders, and they get frustrated, because, you know, they are fed up, and they say, to me, it’s written all over my face that, you know, I am not controlling my emotion, because I’m very unhappy with what I am I am hearing that comes with time. And I think that you, the more you practice, the more it helps you understanding who you are, and self regulating those emotions that you’re having. The second example that I want to give when it’s better to be controlling, is when you want people to do what you want them to do. So when you want people to do specific things, okay. So those specific things, specific things might be when you want your colleagues to follow some specific policies. So for example, performance management, and whether it is a performance management where, you know, it’s ongoing discussions throughout the year, or whether you have some touch points during the year three or four touch points, it’s not about the format of the performance management, it’s the fact that it is a policy, and that it needs to be done. It’s same with other policies in your organization, you know, the bullying policy, the harassment policy, but also, you know, the code of conduct the absence leave, you do want people to some extent comply to those policies, otherwise, you know, everybody does what they want in your organization’s so at times, you’re going to have to control that people do what they’re expected to do. And that might come with training, it might come with all your communication, but it needs to happen. The other point that I want to make here on controlling is, so it’s the policies, yes, follow policies. But it may be that sometimes you have to be controlling, when you want your managers for some, some extent to attend training. So you might organize a training on perhaps, you know, line management, training, or performance management training, and you want them to attend that training so that they can improve the way they give feedback, the way they communicate the way they’re asking questions. And it’s not something that is optional. It’s not something that is open to debate is something that will make them be more skillful at what they do. Because everything we say, has an impact. You know, conversations don’t need to be hours long for you to have an impact. It’s about what you say, it’s about how you see it, it’s about the questions you’re asking. And my second point on that about controlling is a time you will fight for some cause. And you know, there are quite a lot of causes at the moment that we are fighting for, you know, a lot of movement that we are fighting for. So for example, gender pay gap is something that we are all working on. And you will have to exercise some control to make sure that it’s going in the right direction. And it’s about speaking up. And again, it’s not about speaking up with some aggressivity. About being loud, it’s not at all about that is just making sure that your message is is getting through. And a lot of calls that you might be fighting for at work. And I think that there is a very good person on LinkedIn. Julie Dennis, she works on menopause menopause at work, and she was a guest actually on one of my podcast, you know, it may be something that you want to fight for at work. So it’s better to be assertive than controlling. Absolutely not. I think that at times, it’s okay to be controlling because of the context. You’re just adapting to the context of what’s happening at work. The third assumption is it this one is to control is to be unkind. So we’re coming back to the notion of kindness and empathy and listening skills and if I Control and not going to be kind with other people? Well, first of all, it’s an assumption, we don’t know. Secondly, is, I think we need to look at the definition of the word unkind. And being unkind is to deliberately so deliberately, okay, carelessly, or accidentally causing people harm, Fi upset, distress, anger, for reasons of perhaps, you know, personal reasons, or for pleasure, okay. So as I explained earlier on, controlling isn’t about that at all. And controlling is more about the duty of care that you have, and the duty of care that we exercise, in terms of the well being in terms of the welfare, or the compliance, or the good practice. So it’s important to say here that, to control isn’t to be unkind, actually, you know, to control is about is about caring, and is about making sure that we are all protected. And that we that our well being is that the is at the center of what we are doing sexually, it’s quite the, it’s quite the opposite. Of being unkind. Controlling, can be kind. So next time when you are in a in a meeting, and I’ve said that in my post this morning on LinkedIn, so next time when you are in a meeting, and when you are really feeling that it’s complete waste of time to be in this meeting. And we’ve all been there. Okay, we’ve all been there. And I could do a LinkedIn live on meetings. And what’s the point of having them at times promise yourself to observe two things, assertiveness in a meeting. So your colleagues and assertiveness yourself and assertiveness and control the element of control in the in the meeting. So John Leeds, you know, write some notes down and reflect and learn from it. And I promise you that it will pay off in changing the perception that you have about the difference between assertive being assertive, and making making sure at the same time that you can be controlling, you can be assertive, it’s two very different characteristics, two very different traits that we can demonstrate as a leader. And, but that there are situations where it’s actually okay to be one or the others situations will be very different. And as you are journaling your observations, you will understand more what those two means. So being assertive, and being controlling. So I hope that my, my little, my little LinkedIn life has been has been helpful for you. If you have any question you can, you can contact me. And just to say that, I will be doing a webinar on the eighth of September, about those kinds of things, leadership and exploring, observing, exploring conversation, analysis in leadership, all those kinds of tools that we are using to be better. So more about it on my LinkedIn post. In the meantime, if you have any question, don’t hesitate to ask me. But have a great afternoon. And I will see you I think it’s on Monday, where I have Yes, I have another LinkedIn life and this time I have a I have a guest all will be revealed in my post tomorrow on LinkedIn. Thank you. Good bye for now.




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