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Assertiveness and cooperation

Collaborating: everyone has a voice, decisions are made after informed discussion

· team
Assertiveness and cooperation are skills that all team members need to possess and exercise.
The leader or leaders take responsibility for the final outcomes and for the process by which the team achieves these.
However, for the team to work effectively all members must have a voice and all must be willing to listen, otherwise it's not really a team and members become quickly disenfranchised, leaving the team opened conflict.

Everyone needs to practice assertiveness & cooperation.

  • Assertiveness here is defined as the extent to which an individual attempts to satisfy their own concerns and
  • cooperation as the extent to which an individual attempts to satisfy another person's concerns.

It sounds tricky to get both right but with practice it is possible.

This isn't about pigeon holing people in terms of their responses.
A person can, and will, respond differently based upon the particular circumstances involved.

The point here is that everyone in the team should purposely develop both their assertiveness and cooperation.

Here the 5 responses:

  1. Low levels of assertion and cooperation result in avoidance. The individual or team is neither addressing their concerns nor those of others. In other words, this is the do nothing response and decisions or problems may be left unaddressed and unsolved. This may have a negative effect on the project.
  2. When an individual or team is accommodating they're being cooperative but unassertive. So they are meeting other people's concerns, but not speaking up about their own. It could mean that eventually their ideas will get little attention from the rest of the team and the rest of the team may perceive that individual is not pulling their weight. An accommodating team will almost certainly never achieve project deadlines and or requirements.
  3. Individuals are assertive so they're satisfying their concerns but they're uncooperative which means they are not listening to other team members opinions, and by this it means effective listening whereby opinions are given due consideration. I don't know anybody who likes to work in this sort of environment. My recommendation would be to avoid it at all costs. If you feel that there is little cooperation your best bet is to raise the issue at a team meeting and get a process whereby everyone has a voice established.
  4. Compromising is the middle ground. With this type of response the team is attempting to satisfy everyone. Usually this happens without the rigorous debate that is so important for sound project outcomes. The risk for an individual who responds in this way too much is that people may end up viewing them as someone who has no firm values or principles.
  5. Lastly collaborating, where you should be most of the time. This is where the team functions well; everyone has a voice, decisions are made after informed discussion, and the best use is made of everyone in the team.
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