Using Assertive Techniques to Deal with Conflict

 Sofema Aviation Services  looks at assertive techniques which can be employed when performing conflict resolution.


Should we find ourselves in circumstances which require us to communicate assertively, we usually have underlying reasons to achieve the best outcome. Consider the challenge that learning assertive behaviour is only part of the story, having the confidence to practice what has been learned is the other half.

Assertive behaviour comes from within and is important for us all to recognise this fact!

Now promise yourself that you will strive to be honest & frank always polite and will learn effective techniques to deliver the best possible outcomes.

Repeat the following to yourself – “I matter including what I want, feel & think. I shall speak my truth & stand up for myself and others, I will say NO! when this is my best outcome.

Building a Case

Strive to find a win/win agreement, rather than committing to a position which you feel you must defend.

By thinking through our approach to conflict as something which should be seen as a positive experience. Focus on solving together a problem rather than trying to win the day! assertive communication can make a positive difference in solving conflicts.

When the “other side” understands that you are searching for a positive solution and not attacking them, they are more likely to take your viewpoint into consideration. Always remember that your message is more likely to be accepted if you are respectful to others.

Do not make it personal & be sincere

If we can separate the people from the problem we are trying to solve, we move to a higher level whereby we can focus on the problem rather than scoring personal points.

We must recognize the difference between our positions and interests

Other people read our body language and will quickly discover if we are not being sincere with them. At the same time, it is important not to be rude or harsh. Whilst we share interests we should recognise that we will take different positions on dealing with those interests.

Facing communication challenges to get your message across

As long your listener is in defensive mode they will be busy working on counter arguments rather than focusing on listening to you.

Consider their position, try to understand the challenges they face. Ask questions and use positive body language to show you are engaged, respond to their concerns directly, do not become emotive

Search for common ground seek compromises. Look for clues in their body language, address their concerns directly, do so ideally by suggesting solutions that you wish to enact.

Different Approaches to Conflict Management

Aggressive Behaviour (I win—You lose). Opting to resolve a conflict in an aggressive manner may help you achieve your goals in the short term, but the approach will most probably cause alienation from others, feelings of frustration, bitterness, and isolation.

Passive Behaviour (I lose—You win). choosing to avoid an unpleasant situation caused by conflict does not take you to where you want to be, this outcome brings frustration and failure on your part.

Assertive Behaviour (I win—You win). An assertive response respects both sides and engages in a way where you express your position, needs, and feelings in a respectful way and open a positive discussion with the other side.

Essential Steps to achieve a positive outcome

If you provide an aggressive approach to conflict management, It is quite possible that you will damage your relationship with the other side. Likewise, a too passive approach to handling conflict may affect your credibility diminish your reputation. Finally, when the conflict is managed assertively, it can have a positive impact and be used to your advantage in the workplace.

a) Share how you feel – The first step in assertive communication is to tell the other person how you feel about the issue including the related emotions for example frustrated & angry.

b) Share the outcome you desire do so clearly and specifically by communicating clearly what you want.

c) Provide flexibility (wiggle room) so that they are not boxed in – seek the middle ground whilst still meeting your outcome objectives.


Responding to conflict assertively increases the likelihood of achieving your goals. Even if the results aren’t initially perfect, this approach leads to feelings of self-worth because you are being straightforward. Self-confidence improves, and relationships become more open and honest.

Sofema Aviation Service (SAS) and SofemaOnline (SOL) provide both classroom and online training providing Leadership in Aviation Best Practices Support and Guidance Vocational Training Course. For details please see the websites or email or