The Assertiveness Facet in Leadership and Education

The Assertiveness Facet in Leadership and Education

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8327-3.ch013
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Abstract

This chapter demonstrates how leaders promote the assertiveness facet by giving feedback and having tough conversations with their followers, asserting their rights as a leader, and leading with ethics and integrity. In addition, this chapter also identifies how educators promote the assertiveness facet in their classrooms by teaching with ethics and integrity, having tough conversations, and using their legitimate power. Finally, this chapter identifies the viewpoints of those scholars who oppose the promotion of the assertiveness facet in leadership and education.
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Introduction

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know, and you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. -Dr. Seuss

Throughout history, there have been people who are willing to take a stand on issues important to them. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights, Mahatma Gandhi contested the British rule of India, and Aung San Suu Kyi struggled to bring democracy to Myanmar. These great individuals had one thing in common, they stood up for their own and the others’ rights, without attacking other people and putting them on the defensive (Lamberton & Minor, 2010), which, coincidentally, is the definition of assertiveness, the central topic of this chapter.

Petrides (2009b) defines assertiveness as individuals who “are forthright and frank” (p. 5). He continues by stating that individuals who are assertive “know how to ask for things, give, and receive compliments, and confront others when necessary” (Petrides, 2009a, p. 59). In addition, individuals who are assertive “have leadership qualities and can stand up for their rights and beliefs” (Petrides, 2001, p. 5). It is of paramount importance that leaders and educators alike are able to promote the assertiveness facet in their leadership and classrooms, since tough conversations are commonplace in both leadership and education, and because both teaching and leadership involve giving feedback to others.

Therefore, in order to ensure that leaders and educators alike are able to assert themselves as needed, this chapter will meet the following objectives:

  • Consider how leaders promote the assertiveness facet by giving feedback and having tough conversations, asserting their rights as a leader, and leading with ethics and integrity.

  • Examine how educators promote the assertiveness facet by teaching with ethics and integrity, giving feedback, having tough conversations with their students, and using legitimate power.

  • Give credence to the paradigms of those who oppose the inclusion of the assertiveness facet in leadership and education.

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Assertiveness In Leadership

Unfortunately, in the minds of many leaders, assertiveness means aggressiveness, which is to “hurt others and put them on the defensive” (Lamberton & Minor, 2010, p. 260). When someone is being aggressive, they are threatening another person or something that another person cares about (Lamberton & Minor, 2010), which immediately makes the other person become defensive. Examples of aggression include, “what a stupid idea,” “could you be more of an idiot,” and using a harsh tone of voice, threatening body language, and actively seeking to intimidate others in order to gain dominance of the situation. Yet, contrary to popular belief, it is possible for a leader to be assertive, to defend their own and their followers’ rights without slipping into aggression, and that is why it is imperative that leaders promote the assertiveness facet of trait EI.

Consequently, with support from the scholarly literature, the subsequent sections discuss ways that leaders can promote the use of the assertiveness facet of trait EI when leading by investigating (1) giving feedback and having tough conversations, (2) asserting your rights as a leader, and (3) leading with ethics and integrity. In addition, the subsequent sections will also explore (4) the barriers that leaders face when promoting the assertiveness facet of trait EI, in order to give credence to the arguments of those who oppose the promotion of the assertiveness facet when leading.

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