As we have seen in the article "Introduction to Corporate Conflict Management", assertiveness may be regarded as the ideal attitude towards conflicts and other tense situations. It indeed consists in clearly expressing one's needs and expectations, while also giving consideration to the needs and expectations of others.
In the previous articles, we have seen many communication tools and techniques (articles) that can help us develop both the technical and behavioral aspects of managerial communication. The observation of our everyday corporate communication shows, however, that miscommunication is plentiful, and that communicational biases are more frequent than the practice of listening and reformulation. One example is when someone asks a question while already showing the desire to hear a specific answer. Indeed, declaring to someone: "I offered you this book because I know that you like the Italian Renaissance sculpture" forces the person to respond in a predetermined way… or incites them to provide a discourteous answer. This attitude may be deemed a communication failure, as it does not provide any useful information to those involved in the process. It may actually be regarded as a kind of coercion when repeated.
Other frequent causes of miscommunication include the monopolization of talking time or, at the other end, the stubborn adoption of complete silence, both of which can have a negative impact on future agreements. Furthermore, the manipulation of information, the failure to address essential issues, or a submersion into excessive detail, can also lead to communication failures.
Finally, we should be aware that there is a diversity of reasons that can cause one’s interlocutor to misunderstand one’s message: lack of trust, knowledge or time, misinterpretation, noise… Obviously, there will always be some room for improvement, no matter what efforts we make (and how many personal development classes we attend). So let's take things a little easy and give ourselves a right to fail - for we will certainly need it time and again!
The article "Conflict Management: Applicable Communication Techniques" offers you to explore different techniques that may be of some help to those willing to practice assertiveness in the tense situations of their professional life.