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Assertiveness, independence 


“You have the right to express yourself - even when it hurts someone else - as long as your intentions are not aggressive. You have the right to make your requests known to others - as long as you feel they have the right to decline. There are situations where the rights of individuals are not clear. However, you always have the right to discuss the situation with another person. You have the right to exercise your rights. " Human rights according to Herbert Fensterheim


It can be assumed that there are three types of human behaviour: submissiveness, aggressiveness and assertiveness.


A submissive man agrees to everything because he feels the fear of losing a client, partner or job. Aggression is the counterbalance of submission, that is, not agreeing to anything. Both attitudes are negative because submission leads to a loss of respect, and aggressiveness makes it impossible to enter into dialogue.


Assertiveness in psychology means the ability to express your thoughts, feelings and views within your own boundaries and respecting the boundaries of other people. Assertiveness is also the art of saying no when you really disagree with the whole.


Most people equate assertiveness with refusing, and refusal is only part of the assertive behaviour. Being able to say "yes" is just as important as being able to say "no". We are assertive when we are able to receive praise but also criticism; as well as when we know how to ask for help.


People tend to display one of the attitudes - they are either submissive or aggressive. Assertiveness is somewhere in the middle; it can be defined as "a subtle balancing act between defending one's own boundaries and selfishness."

Hence, according to the definition, being assertive is directly connected with honest and firm attitudes, opinions, desires expressed towards another person, but in such a way as to respect the feelings, attitudes, opinions, rights of the other person; do not behave aggressively. Assertiveness is the fact that we exercise personal rights without violating the rights of others, assertiveness should not be confused with submission, because we act in accordance with our own interests.


It should be emphasized that being assertive is not easy as it requires knowledge about yourself. To be an assertive person, you first need to find out what I care about, what is important to me. You need to precisely define your boundaries, relieve yourself of beliefs and cultural influences that pigeonhole many attitudes and behaviours. And this is not as simple as it may seem, because it is quite non-obvious knowledge.


Our assertive attitude is the result of the attitude: I'm fine (despite my many faults). I have the right to be myself. You are fine. You have the right to be yourself. Both sides are equally important. This approach facilitates respecting people and - on the basis of reciprocity - provokes respecting you.


Assertiveness is quite an art, especially if you often say "yes" when you think "no." We can propose a small set of knowledge about assertiveness with exercises. To start with, being assertive means respecting yourself and others. Your opinions, beliefs, thoughts and feelings are as important as anyone else's. Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself appropriately, clearly and directly, and to attach meaning to what you think and feel. It is respect for your own abilities and limitations.


 Both in professional and family life, each of us is in a maze of countless issues that always lead to another person, so we are in no way "doomed" to contacts with others, building relationships. The quality of our personal life and our professional success depend on how we feel and find in these relationships. To begin with, an assertive contact style is a way of communicating with people; it is firmness and gentleness towards others at the same time. Assertive attitude means looking at oneself and others as valuable persons who deserve respect and thus respect for dignity and personal rights. Assertive behaviour is a non-violent response that respects our rights, dignity and interests.


Why are we being assertive? We are assertive when:

  • we are satisfied with ourselves

  • we respect ourselves and others

  • we don't hurt others

  • thanks to this, our self-confidence grows

  • it gives us a sense of control over our own life


Why is it worth learning assertiveness? Mastering the skill of being assertive will help you at work:

  1. be firm and confident without aggression or submission,

  2. not allow for manipulation with oneself,

  3. be effective, get what you want without manipulating others,

  4. express your anger and anger without offending other people and respecting yourself,

  5. express your opinions, feelings and desires openly, clearly and adequately.

  6. to defend their rights firmly, acting in accordance with their own interest, but in a manner that respects the personal rights and feelings of other people.


So, contrary to popular belief, assertiveness is not the ability to say "no", it is the ability to negotiate and reach a compromise. In business, it is about making both parties benefit from the cooperation they have undertaken, to find a compromise, a "win-win" situation. By directly communicating to the client that although it is possible to negotiate the offer, you are not able to fully agree to its terms, you can work out not only a mutual compromise, but also mutual respect.


Exercise 1


Exercise 2


Exercise 3



Good manners


Personal culture has many synonyms in Polish, it can mean good manners, principles of savoir-vivre, social manners or politeness. Most people intuitively know what this term means, but putting it into words can be problematic. What is personal culture and how to behave culturally in different situations?


Collective culture is not the sum of personal cultures. 

It is the totality of those products of thoughts and actions, values ​​and methods of conduct that have been recognized and accepted by the community and have become important for its members, setting out behaviours considered obligatory, e.g. decency, rules of coexistence, criteria of aesthetic and moral judgments, etc. No therefore everything from the personal culture of the members becomes the common good of the entire community. Many individual ideas and ideas, both brilliant and unsuccessful, are lost and do not enter the common system.


Collective culture is not the sum of personal cultures; so we have a set of cultural norms that should apply in a given society, however, it should be remembered that on our way we can meet someone who is:

  • an educated boor,

  • a dishonest moralizer,

  • emotional sadist,

  • utopian or cynic,

  • pedant,

  • arrogant, ignorant,

  • a wise slut,

  • a cultural life failure,

  • an inaccessible bastion to others,

  • an unpredictable partner.


In the colloquial, narrower sense, it is said that someone is a man of high personal culture, that is, he is a well-mannered person scrupulously following the rules of morality and politeness.

The professions that should be characterized by a higher personal culture of employees are presented below:


Working with constant contact with customers:

High personal culture is required in every work with clients. Many employers providing services for particularly important and wealthy people even point out in the job offer posted, for example, on Pracuj.pl, that the requirement is high personal culture and impeccable manners. Advertisements of this type most often come from international concerns and industries such as architecture, construction, finance and trade. Usually, the employee's behaviour in contacts with the client is to have the features of extending the company's policy, which is why high culture is so much required.


Taking care of others: 

Professions of social action and those in which we are responsible for other people require a lot of personal culture for a simple reason. Only thanks to it and self-control, we are able to provide information, apply persuasion and translate important things to our care. High personal culture is therefore impeccable in professions related to social care, in education, as well as in foundations, clinics and hospices.


Scientific career: 

Scientists and academics should be characterized not only by above-average knowledge and intelligence, but also by polite and good manners, as befits enlightened people. For this reason, high personal culture is inscribed in the scientific and academic environment, although it is not required in writing. Nevertheless, especially senior professors, doctors and associate professors can boast of a very advanced level of savoir vivre. This fact results from their combination of caring, didactic and scientific functions.


A wider arrangement of objects, devices or images, ideas, regulations and rules functionally related to a specific element is called a cultural complex. For example, a commune's budget is undoubtedly a separate feature of culture, just like the budget of a workplace, voivodeship or state. We can also talk about the financial system, about the economic system, about the efficiency of production or services, about marketing, about loans, about money, about securities, about the stock market, about recession, about inflation, etc. on an economic cultural complex or in itself is such a complex of matters, problems, institutions, decisions, regulations and, finally, concepts and programs.


Exercise 4




Self-control (self-discipline) is the ability to control your emotions and behaviour. Research using the functional resonance of the human brain shows that self-control is associated with a certain area of ​​the dorsolateral part of the prefrontal cortex that belongs to the frontal lobe. The control of one's emotions was also mentioned in the case of personal culture; talking about soft skills


Self-discipline muscle

American psychologists and researchers of self-control, Mark Muraven and Roy Baumeister, have noticed that the mechanisms governing self-discipline resemble those related to muscle work. There are two conclusions important for practice:

  • Self-control can be developed and strengthened through exercise.

  • Willpower weakens with exertion.


What does it mean? First of all, working on self-discipline resembles physical development exercises - no matter which sport discipline you choose, regularity is the most important. This is because it is regularity that most effectively stimulates changes in our central nervous system - it causes the development of a network of neurons responsible for self-control. So if we discipline ourselves in any area of ​​our life, it will strengthen self-control in other areas of our life.


Second, studies by Muraven and Baumeister found that the functioning of self-control is dependent on blood glucose levels. That is, what tires and weakens the work of muscles, affects self-discipline in a similar way. What strengthens it, however, is a good psychophysical condition.


Exercise 5


Exercise 6


Exercise 7


Exercise 8



Analytical skills, critical thinking

Often, job advertisements for the position of an analyst require "analytical thinking" or "analytical skills". For formalities, do you declare that you are like this?


Exercise 9


Exercise 10


Exercise 11


Exercise 12



Social media skills, digital skills

New digital media are an integral part of our world, even in our daily work life. As a result, more and more employers are looking for employees who can handle the media. Reflective use plays an important role - this means that you use your media deliberately and responsibly.


Digital competences are increasingly seen as a major component of basic skills. There are many initiatives to define digital competences. However, in many cases, especially at the legislative level, critical thinking and reflection on digital content do not receive the necessary attention to safely guide European citizens through technological challenges.


Exercise 13


Exercise 14


Exercise 15



Career management

The career path is a logical and coherent sequence of successive positions that employees take during their work in a given organization, the purpose of which is to achieve personal goals, fulfil their own ambitions, raise qualifications, acquire new experience, and meet the company's expectations. The idea behind career paths is to enrich them with new skills and practical experience, and not to have formal diplomas that guarantee the completion of specific vocational training or evidence of education.


Career management consists of 2 processes:

  • Career planning, which defines the development of employees within the organization in accordance with the needs of the organization and the results, capabilities and preferences of employees;

  • Consequence planning management aims to ensure that the organization has the managers that it will need in the future to meet its various needs. "


Career finds its meaning also in English, where the meaning of the word "career" means the course of life, including professional life and is sometimes translated as a path, professional life path. performs throughout his life.


Career paths are an important tool used in the process of employee career planning by human resource management units in an organization. Despite the fact that employees are the most interested and responsible for the development of their own careers, the organization or enterprise employing them has a lot to do in this respect. It should clearly provide employees with comprehensive and transparent information about their career and professional development opportunities, and encourage them to act in this direction, which results in benefits both for employees (enrichment of skills and qualifications) and the organization itself ( acquiring increasingly better qualified employees within the internal labor market, which reduces the need to look for new employees outside).


Career management has three overall goals, which are:

  • Meet the organization's needs for follow-up in managerial positions.

  • Hiring promising employees and providing them with the appropriate training and experience to help them fulfil their responsibilities.

  • Providing predisposed employees with the guidance and encouragement they need to see their predispositions and pursue a career that matches their talents and aspirations.


Career planning is a key process in career management. It uses all the information from the organization's needs assessment, assessment of effects and potential, and management follow-up plans, and turns them into individual career development programs and general arrangements for leadership development, career counselling, mentoring and training of management personnel.


When planning a career, it must be remembered that it should be controlled by the company and development strategies aimed at meeting the company's needs. It is also important to take care of all employees, not only those who have high ambitions and those whose career is developing rapidly. All employees should be encouraged to use and develop their skills and aptitudes. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the topic of employee career planning, not only in the field of managerial positions.


Human resources management and career planning should be strategic in nature and closely related to the company's development strategy, as well as the development of the existing work potential. They allow to achieve mutual benefits, reducing the costs of selection or recruitment (if it is necessary to acquire employees from outside), bind employees with the organization, as well as strengthen the organizational culture in a given organization and reduce the number of unnecessary destructive conflicts between employees' personal goals and their organizational tasks.


Good career path development brings benefits in the form of higher qualifications of employees, better matching of their interests to the work performed, greater job satisfaction, which results in a significant improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of employees.


As the majority of contemporary organizations are unique and unique systems characterized by different goals and needs, the problem of developing career paths in each of them is approached in a different, appropriate and best-suited way for a given situation. It does not change the fact that this process should be the subject of special care of the top management, because in the near future it will certainly bring great benefits to both parties, both employees and employers.


Tools used to manage the career path include:

  • preparation of the so-called the displacement matrix, which recognizes various types of internal and external employee movements at a given time within the organization, clearly and transparently presents employees with opportunities to change positions, and thus helps in the development of their own careers.

  • creating career paths is the logical development of knowledge and skills, as well as the desired characteristics of an individual, which is rewarded with successive promotions within the organizational structure of a given organization.


All necessary information regarding the possibility of promotion or replacement of a position is provided in this case by a job analysis, which summarizes all the necessary qualification requirements for a given position, as well as the scope of subsequent duties and competences.


Profiles of qualification requirements taken from the job analysis are compared with the individual profiles of specific employees and on this basis the difference between the so-called job analysis is determined. the potential and actual job profile.


The smaller the difference between the aforementioned profiles, the better the selection of an employee for a given position, the greater the employee's chances of self-education and further development, as well as a huge benefit for the company resulting from acquiring a senior employee who knows the organization perfectly without the need to look for him on the external labour market .


The mere definition of possible forms of promotion or career paths does not guarantee adequate development of the company's personnel.


As you know, the interest of the organization itself in the professional development of its own employees is not less than the interest of the employees themselves. Therefore, all cells or departments responsible for human resources management play an important role here.


In addition to developing possible career paths, they should also:

  • predict careers, that is, identify staffing needs in the company and adjust the filling of positions to the existing supply of work potential within the organization,

  • plan careers, i.e. adjust the needs and aspirations of the employee to the needs and expectations of the staff resulting from career forecasting so that the benefits are reaped on both sides,

  • advise on a career, that is, carry out all activities related to the evaluation of the employee's previous work and on this basis provide advice on further career development. HR managers or other units responsible for HR matters in the organization must play an important role here,

  • help in professional development by creating opportunities for further education, training, granting long-term study leave, or assistance in starting or continuing studies.


In addition to developing possible career paths, they should also:

  • predict careers, that is, identify staffing needs in the company and adjust the filling of positions to the existing supply of work potential within the organization,

  • plan careers, i.e. adjust the needs and aspirations of the employee to the needs and expectations of the staff resulting from career forecasting so that the benefits are reaped on both sides,

  • advise on a career, that is, carry out all activities related to the evaluation of the employee's previous work and on this basis provide advice on further career development. HR managers or other units responsible for HR matters in the organization must play an important role here,

  • help in professional development by creating opportunities for further education, training, granting long-term study leave, or assistance in starting or continuing studies.


Based on the time ranges related to career planning, we distinguish three types of policy:

  • Short-term policy is where employers focus on the "here and now" principle. They recruit employees with very good results who fulfill the duties entrusted to them for adequate remuneration. For good results, there is a prospect of promotion, if there is such a promotion, which means that the employer assumes that the future training of managers is unnecessary. If he has a demand, he will hire a new employee from outside. Short-term policy is usually applied in small dynamically developing organizations.

  • Long-term policy, i.e. the employer's structured approach to career management, focuses on the analysis of the effects and potential and uses integrated assessment methods to confirm the employee's potential or discover his talent. The employer plans this type of career development in accordance with the previously planned program. The long-term system is mainly used in large and bureaucratic organizations. Where the career development of employees is stable and we can easily forecast needs.

  • Long-term flexibility, which is based on focusing on achieving a good result at a given moment which prepares the employee for development. This is an attitude similar to an employer using a short-term policy, but with the difference that the employer assumes that employees' abilities should be developed through training, rotation or career change. Thanks to this method, we can avoid the error of myopia when focusing on the present state, as well as avoid the stiffness of assumptions used in a structured system. Considered the best of the methods listed.


By analysing the career dynamics, we can divide it into three stages:

  • Initial career development - define your ability to develop competencies

  • Career definition - confirmation or modification of aspirations, acquired skills are combined with experience and the full level of competence is achieved.

  • Maturity - Career develops steadily in line with his abilities and motivation


Based on the study of career dynamics, assumptions for career management are created and follow-up plans are developed. It can also be helpful in identifying the necessary career changes for an employee. It helps to detect problems such as: overgrowing the manager's top form or stagnation.


Exercise 16


Exercise 17


Evaluation quiz # 1

Analyse and write down your answers to the questions in exercises 1-17.













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