Professional Development Programme

Participants: This course is suitable for all staff who want to develop their understanding of assertiveness at work in order to improve or maintain their levels of performance.

Courses have been targeted to specific staff groups so that participants may explore assertiveness in relation to their broad range of responsibilities, and share experiences with their peers. When selecting which course to attend, please select from the following:

  • Managers (those who currently have leadership, management or supervisory responsibility; or anticipate taking on this type of responsibility within the coming year)
  • Non Managers (those with no responsibility for staff)
  • Researchers

Pre-requisites: None

This course focuses on types of behaviour and uses techniques to explore how we can stand up for our personal rights and express thoughts in direct, honest and appropriate ways that do not violate another person's rights.

Anticipated Learning Outcomes:
This session will help you to:

Learn to:

  • Think differently about assertiveness
  • Negotiate and reach workable compromises
  • Be aware of different influencing styles
  • Behave in a rational and adult manner
  • Use the verbal and non-verbal means of assertion


  • Empowered to say no
  • Able to take responsibility for difficult feelings
  • Confident to manage upwards, sideways and downwards
  • Comfortable asking for what they want

Be more able to:

  • Handle difficult relations better
  • Create more rapport
  • Insist on being heard even if they have to keep repeating their message
  • Say directly what they want, need or feel; but not at the expense of others

Course Outline:


  • The need for assertion - identifying real situations
  • The differences between assertion and aggression

Assertive / Aggressive / Passive:

  • Exploring the classic model around assertion
  • Identifying behaviours associated with each position
  • Recognising our propensity to inhabit a position


  • The importance of status
  • Status is not reliant on position or title
  • Learning and practising the physicality of status
  • Adjusting status for different people and situations

Assertiveness Techniques:

  • Delivering the 'positive no'
  • Staying in 'adult' positions
  • Asserting boundaries


  • Dealing with individual examples and devising strategies for dealing with difficulties
  • Improvising scenarios to demonstrate techniques and options

Action Plan:

  • Anticipating issues and planning to translate learning to the workplace
  • Encourages personal development and helps others to learn
  • Demonstrates effective self management and focus
  • Fosters two way communication and effective team-working

Please think about Assertiveness and YOU in the following situations:

  • In what situations in or out of the workplace would you like to be more assertive?
  • When was a time you felt you achieved assertiveness successfully?
  • What was a situation when you felt you could have asserted more successfully?
  • When was someone assertive with you and did it well?
  • When was someone assertive with you and didn't do it well?
  • Think of a particular challenge you have at the moment (preferably in the workplace) which you would like to turn around positively?

Please be prepared to give examples of the above and share with the group.

Related resources:
Desktop Learning topics:

Facilitator: Barbara Thorn, Maynard Leigh About the facilitator...

Date, time and venue: Half day workshop


28 May 2015 1000 - 1330 Room 339 Rockefeller Building

Non Managers:

18 June 2015 1000 - 1330 Suite 1, 188 Tottenham Court Road


More dates will be available in the 2015-2016 Academic Year. In the meantime please Register Your Interest by scrolling down the page to How to Book and clicking on the link to the Booking Form. We will then email you when new dates are available.


  • Free for all staff on the UCL payroll 
  • £80 for UCL Affiliated / Higher Education Institutions / Charities 
  • £200 for External Applicants

How to book: Booking Form

OD Course Contact: Khiera Yusuf