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Assertiveness with LADDER

Assertiveness - Stress Management Techniques from Mind Tools

I’ve been enjoying reading The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook, which is a very useful tour of popular methods for getting it together, including introductions to meditation, thought stopping, and deep breathing among many others. It also includes a great little chapter on assertiveness, which—like many people, I suspect—I’ve always equated with acting like a jerk.

Turns out assertiveness is the alternative to either aggressiveness or passivity, in which you learn to stand up for what you want without either being trampled or disrespecting others. It’s a way of having firm, neutral, “fair fight” exchanges with people whenever something is in dispute.

Unfortunately, I’m not picking up assertiveness very quickly—I still tend to oscillate dramatically between aggressive and passive in most of my dealings with people—but I do like the idea of finding fair and unemotional ways to resolve conflict. This Mind Tools page includes a good summary of the LADDER method originated by the Bay Area authors of the workbook.

LADDER describes a six-stage process for handling problems in an assertive way. These are:

  • L – Look at your rights and what you want, and understand your feelings about the situation
  • A – Arrange a meeting with the other person to discuss the situation
  • D – Define the problem specifically
  • D – Describe your feelings so that the other person fully understands how you feel about the situation
  • E – Express what you want clearly and concisely
  • R – Reinforce the other person by explaining the mutual benefits of adopting the site of action you are suggesting.
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Looks like "DESC" that was... by Jeremy (not verified)

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
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