controlling attitudes, the basis for minimizing violence

Presentation of the method of controlling our attitudes and behaviors.

Daring to be yourself.

The term “assertiveness” emerged during the first half of the 20th century. American psychologist Andrew Salter introduces it and defines it as:

ability to express oneself and defend one’s rights without encroaching on those of others”.

Defending your rights is a communication effort to refuse:

to be passively submissive and refuse to put anyone passively or submissive,

being assaulted and refusing to assault someone,

being manipulated and refusing to manipulate someone.

This method distinguishes between 3 attitudes that are sources of violence that we must not use and for each of these attitudes, it specifies the different behaviors to avoid.

Defending one’s rights is therefore based on a precise and complete knowledge of our 3 attitudes to be eliminated and their behaviors.

With this knowledge, we can immediately detect which attitude and behavior the other uses in interpersonal communication.

It then remains to be learned how to respond in an assertive manner to stop a violence and return to a rational and controlled situation on our side, free for the other side to become also assertive or to pursue elsewhere its attitudes of passivity, aggressiveness, manipulation.

Assertiveness training, like most personal development training, has a major disadvantage: it takes too much of the form of privileged moments in a positive discourse tending towards the ideal. All too often participants have to understand that in everyday life they will have to try to apply these courses but that it is hardly possible. We also had these comments and experienced them following this type of internship or seminar.

That’s why, for, this assertivity training is related to the social environment. 

It’s a different situation, depending on whether you’re in a system-based organization or a network. Take, for example, this training for high school classes and first-year engineering students. 

The students demonstrate quite quickly and loudly that this discourse on assertiveness cannot coexist with what is happening in the school system of a high school and they remain very suspicious of this intellectual demonstration, which is certainly coherent but unrealistic considering the social context that they must respect and the role of pupil that the system requires them to observe scrupulously.

First-year students quickly realize that assertiveness can bring them something precisely if they set up their own student networks and for them, not only is it more possible than for high school students, but it is almost indispensable for the success of their studies.

By the end of the first year, most recognize that this early-year training greatly facilitated their integration into a peer group. No one remained passive and isolated, and the aggressive and other manipulators were quickly brought to heel. 

At the end of this training on assertivity, the participants understand that there are no cognitive difficulties, problems of understanding.

The good notes collected following the exercises allow us to conclude on the essential: understanding assertiveness is easy, what matters is having the will to make this fundamental effort in his daily communication. When a difficulty arises afterwards, it will be sufficient to remind the person that he has already proven his understanding of assertiveness and that you therefore want to encourage him to make the necessary efforts to achieve it even in the face of difficulties. It will no longer be a mark of autocracy but a real encouragement. This will also improve the climate of your group.

Distinguishing between system and network makes this assertivity method credible and gives real prospects for implementation. But networks must not remain passive in the face of power systems.

Implement assertivity training

Relationships created around the site will be assertive… or will not be.

To join the movement, this is a prerequisite: to control one’s attitudes in communication without passivity, aggressiveness, manipulation. It is an effort towards performance: the quality of our relationships and the evolution of the movement, for satisfaction and real personal enrichment. 

respecting others means:

♦ do not make them passive by aggression or manipulation 

♦ but help them if necessary to get out without aggression 

♦ communicate with them by being assertive and proposing at least one solution

asking for respect from others: 

♦ it is to refuse their aggression or their manipulation to make us passive

♦ it is to want to communicate by being assertive and using the fundamental rights of assertiveness.

To create a network, to train classes of students, teams of employees, offers you to equip yourself with a number of materials gathered in a kit to download in the shop of the site.

Description of the contents of the downloadable kit (in French) on assertivity: 

  • Powerpoint method overview: simply load the file onto your computer attached to a projector or video monitor.
  • a test and an analysis grid of the test so that everyone can measure their degree of assertivity. exercises and their proofreaders: usable for high school students and students or employees.
  • For employees, help from is possible on request, use the mailbox to contact.

Refunds on the practice of assertivity by team members

In an economic dismissal.

Gérard, a professor of Economics and Management, discovered this method thanks to a fellow consultant who is also a temporary professor at a National School of Engineers. He had used this method as a manager in the Personnel Department in the establishment of the company BullPeripherals when the site was closed in 1992.

In the context of the economic dismissal of a thousand employees, training in assertiveness was introduced for all employees with a clear message: no unnecessary violence, everyone remains assertive and Bull will develop spin-offs. Its two sheltered workshops, as well as seven related activities, have been taken over by former managers. The company will also help finance the budget of a conversion company, Sybel. At the end of September 1994, some 500 jobs were re-created.

This communication with its assertive base was successful only because of the “assertive solutions” provided by Bull, the city hall, the region and the state, new American investors in computer technology.

Without the presentation of a solution that keeps the dialog open, there is no assertiveness. Now we are back to the point of obtaining a solution, that is to say within the framework of the principle of subsidiarity and the search for the optimal solution by a group of experts, an optimal solution which will then be adapted to local circumstances.

The affirmative answer does not go as far as presenting an optimal solution, but it is the starting point, the opening of a dialog to improve this proposed solution.

In reality, the use of assertiveness in interpersonal communication involves exchanges in the field of everyday, everyday activity. The solutions are known and often part of the obvious. It is only a question of not imposing them by the attitudes of aggression and manipulation or of not presenting them by remaining passive or believing that they are helping someone by leaving him alone in his passivity.

The mistake most often made by students or trainees in copying homework is precisely to make the effort to present a valid solution and to leave it at that, without keeping the dialog open. The result is an end to the response, with dialog closed and autocratic behavior matched by aggression.

In high school

Gérard uses the assertivity method during the first TD (directed work) of Communication and organization in the First Class. The goal is to eliminate communication incidents, empower students to control their attitudes and behaviors, and begin to create a pact or charter for a peaceful and constructive classroom life.

When the graph is produced from the answers to the personal test questionnaire, the students find that most of them are already assertive at their age. However, there is still some progress to be made because the second highest level, often very close to the level of assertiveness, most often manipulation or aggression, or even passivity for a few pupils, is much lower or non-existent in the assertive adult.

In the classroom, untimely and disruptive interventions are quickly eliminated. All the teacher has to do is ask the student what his attitude and behavior is. If necessary, the teacher can look at his list of homework notes on assertiveness and see that this student, like a large majority of the class, had a “good grade”. The student will give an exact answer. No need to tell him that he must become assertive again.

When the answer is wrong, the class will correct the error and give the correct answer. For example, you are manipulating your neighbor with demeaning behavior… As this is the exact answer, there is no question of denouncing a comrade or demeaning him because he does not know or does not want to remain assertive. Very quickly, a tacit pact is put in place, we all remain assertive and finally we are in a calmed class where we can really learn and no longer waste our time.

Then there are the remarks of the other teachers: look, in your class, what have you done to them, they have changed a lot since the second class and they are much more pleasant this year.

And finally, the results at the Bachelor’s level are excellent: 93 percent, 97 percent success, or even a year at 100 percent success like the best science and math classes. Mention levels up to Very Good as in other sections or streams. And a few years later, the Inspector said that at the Rectorate, it is difficult to understand how in your high school, your section or sector has better success rates at BTS or DUT than other high schools and that the number of former students who go to bachelor’s and master’s degrees is unique in the Academy for students coming from Economics-Management.

Of course, there was a beginning to all of these achievements, and the students all became assertive and remained so as students.

In higher education

As we have already mentioned, Gérard followed his colleague, who is also a temporary professor in this ENI (National School of Engineers), to disseminate the assertivity training at the beginning of the first year.

This first communication TD was followed by the TD on the Blake and Sheep Grid with the case study on Canada’s loggers. The relationship between assertiveness and management of the 3rd type, participatory management up to 9/9: everything for the objective and everything for the human, is simple to establish.

For example, in the group work evaluation questionnaire, the question was asked: was there someone to monopolize the floor and lead the discussions? At the beginning of the group work, hierarchical superiors or manipulative or autocratic persons, have a clear tendency to seek the direction of the debates. In principle, if the other members of the working group are assertive and dare to be themselves, they will point this out by setting out the 100 points to be allocated for this theme in response to this question: yes, there was indeed someone who wanted to lead the debate and monopolized the floor.

This result in the grid of individual and group positioning will raise the level of objectives and lower the level of the human. If this trend is reflected in the other evaluation themes, the group’s position will be 9/1: everything for the objective, nothing for the human. It’s either walking or dying! Or the forced labor camp. In general, the group is dissatisfied with this positioning and will correct its operation to arrive at 9/9 or as close as possible.

The first improvement effort in such a group focuses on the more equitable distribution of speech. Clearly, the leader or non-assertive person becomes assertive again and listens to others. Some autocratic people with superior status find it exceedingly difficult to accept this effort to improve the quality of their group’s work. Especially in France with its paternalistic management, its worst social relations of all industrialized countries, and the rapid end from the beginning of the 1990s of the Total Quality movement of the 1980s with its Quality Circles and its participative management and its management of power in participative local direct democracy.

In associations

We have no conclusive experience. In the late 1990’s, in the group Redirecting the Energy of Violence (REV), founded by a university team of psychiatrists and psychologists in their early retirement, several of us were interested in Personal Development, and a colleague specialized in Non-Violent Communication (NVC).

The Center for Nonviolent Communication (The Center for Nonviolent Communication, CNVC) also speaks of “conscious communication” whose main characteristics are empathy, authenticity and responsibility. For Marshall Rosenberg, the goal of the CNV is to “foster the momentum of the heart and connect us to ourselves and others, giving free rein to our natural benevolence.

This colleague, a member of an association for the development of CNV, had impressive technical documentation and training programs established by the movement. She admitted that Assertivity is a simpler and more coherent approach with the aim of getting to know her communication better, making her aware and responsible. In short, in the program of our association REV, we had to present each of our methods.

But the government’s demand grew more in the late 1990s to train neighborhood negotiators, social mediators as part of the city’s policies. Gendarmes, policemen, local government officials had joined our association, and public funding was becoming available. The mayor of the city where we had established our headquarters, made available to us premises of the commune.

In short, all was well and good when the founding members of REV suddenly decided to close their association and abolish it. They wanted to remain a research organization applied to the social reality of cities and urban neighborhoods, but not to interfere in public policies to combat social and criminal violence in the sensitive neighborhoods of cities in the region.

In 2002, we then started the website, and minimizing violence through appropriate management of the Authority-Power-Command, through the development of the Institutions of the Networks of Life, is a fundamental pillar of our movement.

To conclude this presentation of the assertivity method,

we return to the distinction between systems of power and organizations in Networks of Life with respectively

  • despotic political regimes or democratic regimes with elite-led states and especially the anglo-saxon financial oligarchy and its sect of puritans predestined to rule the world
  • and on the other hand the political systems in participatory direct local democracy with their Confederation and their use of the Institutions that we present on

How can we remain assertive in a system of power whose social influence in order to subjugate the peoples is conformism, the state of an agent in the experience of Milgram and currently the will to impose voluntary submission since in the neo-liberal system there is no alternative to the dogmas of free markets and the one that affirms that there is no society but only markets.

Remain assertive by conformism or voluntary submission? Not even an oxymoron, but the cruel reality of the brazen criminal manipulations carried out by the elites of the systems of power.

Daring to be fearless and blameless in our use of assertiveness remains a starting point to leave our submission to systems of power and develop a new civilization in Our networks of Life.

Daring to be fearless and blameless in our use of assertiveness remains a starting point to leave our submission to systems of power and develop a new civilization in Our networks of Life.

That starting point is still awkward in the face of autocratic rulers, despots, and tyrants who can’t stand anyone daring to say NO. But any resistance movement to oppression starts with saying NO, daring to say NO to stay oneself and be able to respond assertively… before taking up arms if necessary. As Malraux said in his 1973 speech at the inauguration of the monument to the maquis des Glières, the slave always says YES to save his life in the face of the cruelty of his masters.

In 2014, in Lausanne, our Swiss friends from Romandie pointed out to us, the French, that the weapons were already at home, in their homes, and that they regularly trained for shooting. Whether their companies were using a debt-free currency, a full currency or Vollgeld in German, the WIR currency. Whereas in France—

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