Being Assertive Without Harming

By Fred Kofman
Philosopher and Vice President at Linkedin

Do I have to give up me to be loved by you?” Jordan and Margaret Paul

Angeli wants to improve the work practices of her report, but she is met with resistance.

She finds herself in a bind. If she pushes hard enough to “break through” the resistance she’ll also break the relationship. If she stops pushing, she’ll accept the dissatisfying status quo.

Angeli thinks that her employee’s process is disorganized, that it imposes a burden on her and anybody who needs to manage it. She has a suggestion to make it better. In the following video, I work with her on how to hold this conversation in the spirit of collaboration.

How to Be Assertive Without Causing Harm

For many of us, we consider compassion to be an essential part of our mindfulness practice. When we engage in mindfulness exercises, there are a number of things we hope to accomplish. For one thing, we want to become more mindful in our daily lives. Our goal is to begin to integrate our mindfulness practice into everything we do. Over time, this is something we can begin to achieve.

In addition to this, though, many of us seek to introduce greater compassion for others into our lives as a result of our mindfulness practice. The more mindful we are, the easier we often find it to exercise compassion for those around us. This isn’t limited to friends and family members, either. For many of us, bringing compassion to bear in the workplace is one of the places where our mindfulness practice can be the most useful.

How to Be Assertive in a Mindful Way

At the same time, though, we can run into problems on the job when we attempt to exercise compassion. On the one hand, our goal is to be more compassionate towards our co-workers, employer, and anyone that we might be in charge of supervising. Meanwhile, we have to also ensure that we’re being adequately assertive. If we allow other people at work to “walk all over us,” we’ll begin to experience difficulties and find our work environment difficult to navigate. So, then: how can we be both compassionate and assertive? How can we be assertive without causing harm?

In this video, Fred Kofman assists someone with this very issue. Fred holds a PhD in economics from Berkeley, and has led seminars worldwide focused on greater consciousness in business.

Would you like to teach mindfulness to others, helping them integrate mindfulness practices into their working lives? Learn more about our mindfulness teacher training here.


Find more exercises related to mindfulness at work here

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