PXT Select™ Assertiveness

In this video, Robin talks about the Assertiveness scale as measured by the PXT Select™ assessment. You’ll learn about the characteristics of individuals and tips for how to work with others who have a different level of intensity. Robin shares an example to illustrate how a person can adjust their style and the ramifications when they happens.

The PXT Assertiveness Scale

In this video I’m going to be talking about the assertiveness scale. This scale measures a person’s comfort level in expressing themselves, as well as their need to control. I also want to share a few misconceptions that come with the assertiveness scale and how to navigate through those.

Let’s talk about the two ends of the spectrum in regards to how comfortable we are in expressing ourselves. On one end is the unassuming approach and the other is the more forceful approach. First let’s look at the unassuming approach, which is someone who has a low need to control the situation. They often work behind the scenes, they keep their opinions to themselves, and they are comfortable with other people taking the lead. They are also very diplomatic, compliant, tolerant, and they are great listeners. The individual who has the more forceful approach is direct, proactive, they can take the lead easily, they are confident, and they often are competitive. They are going to push their ideas, even if it creates some tension.

How to Approach Low and High Scores on the Assertiveness Scale

So the challenge here is to remember even the individual who has an unassuming approach has opinions, it’s just that they’re not as easily, openly sharing them. So in those situations when an unassuming person comes into a situation they need to remember to voice their opinion when appropriate and when needed. For the forceful person, they need to remember to, as much as possible, without being overwhelming, to solicit the ideas and the opinions of others.

Flexibility in the Assertiveness Scale

All of us can move up and down any one of these scales depending on the situation. The assertive scale allows us to see this a little easier in action, because I suspect that you can think back on a time when you might have ramped up, or ramped back down your level of forcefulness depending on a situation that you were in.

As an example, I can think about a time when a partner of mine shared a story about an individual who had taken the PXT assessment and scored very low on the unassuming side of this assertiveness scale. So she had taken her young toddler into the emergency room for care. They sat in the waiting room half an hour, an hour, and hour and a half has now elapsed. And the mother has been getting increasingly upset and anxious about this. So at the hour and a half mark she goes up to the nurses station and she just snaps and demands for her daughter right then. And they do. They take the mother and the child back, the physician comes in and they work through the situation. After that, the mother goes back to the waiting room, flush red, embarrassed, and apologizes to everyone there for losing her control and getting upset in that way.

So because she naturally comes at situations in a more tolerant, unassuming way, it took her a while to get to that point of being direct and proactive. However, if a person is more naturally forceful, they probably wouldn’t have waiting an hour and a half. It may have been an hour, it may have been thirty minutes. It may have been fifteen minutes before they had a similar kind of behavior to encourage the care staff there to come in and get involved. So when we move up and down these scales it’s a matter of where our threshold is. What’s the priority? How important it is. And how comfortable are we doing so. If we move outside our comfort zone, we will still do it, but it’s more stressful. We come back red in the face, for instance, and embarrassed as this woman had done, where someone who scored higher would not have had the same after reaction with a similar initial reaction.

Adjusting to Reap the Benefits

I’m certain you know that there are benefits to both ends of this spectrum. The unassuming and forcefulness each has its value in different times and places. So it’s critical for us to understand how do we naturally, most frequently, come into a particular interaction. Then if we are getting signs or signals, whether from within ourselves or from others around us, that we maybe are being too much of a wallflower, or maybe we are being too much of a bully. That’s when we need to take stock and adjust as needed for the best outcome.

Whether you are coming into situations more frequently with an unassuming approach or a more forceful approach either way is perfectly fine. The key is where and how you tend to come into these situations and then taking note, so if you feel like you need to make an adjustment either to be more forceful or to be more unassuming, that’s when you need to make those shifts so that you can have better outcomes for yourself, for the other person, and the situation.


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