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Assertive communication leads to stronger relationships

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Charles V. Rivezzo
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is part-two in a twelve-part series highlighting the twelve master resiliency skills as part of Comprehensive Airman Fitness.

As part of the Air Force-wide initiative of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, there are 12 master resiliency skills that servicemembers can use on a daily basis to help maintain resiliency.

These skills are built through a set of core competencies that enable mental toughness, optimal performance, strong leadership and goal achievement.

In part-one of this twelve-part series, the topic highlighted was "hunt the good stuff." Part-two will discuss "assertive communication" and how to utilize this resiliency tool.

Assertive communication is being confident in your ability to handle a conversation by being clear in the message delivered and remain controlled to "track" the other person and adjust if necessary.

"The heart and soul of this skill is being able to follow the three C's; communicating confidently, clearly and in a controlled manner," said David Guidera, Dyess' master resiliency trainer.

There may be times where communicating passively or aggressively is needed.

However, according to Guidera, communicating assertively better strengthens relationships and allows for better communication because the individual is more confident, the message is clear and communication is controlled.

"When addressing something that involves a conflict or challenge, you want to use assertive communication," Guidera said. "Assertive communication builds toward the competency of connections. If you learn to communicate more on the assertive side of things, you tend to build stronger relationships. One will find that discussions and disagreements are resolved much quicker and conversations go much better when utilizing this skill.

One of the main tools used within the assertive communication skill-set is employing the IDEAL model.

I - Identify and understand the problem
D - Describe the problem objectively and accurately
E - Express your concerns and how you feel
A - Ask others for their perspectives and then ask for a reasonable change
L - List the outcomes

"If you can successfully employ the IDEAL model when utilizing assertive communication, you will be able to walk away from a disagreement or discussion with both individuals on the same page," Guidera said. "This is a skill that does not take much time to put into practice, and the positive impact made on relationships is long lasting."

Dyess is scheduled to host its quarterly CAF Day early next month, where three new master resiliency skills will be taught. Next week's article will focus on the "thinking traps" resiliency skill.
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