In interpersonal communication theory, a person’s communication style is determined by the way he or she interacts with others, their perception of self in relation to those they are interacting with and how they influence others. In this regard, a common model for categorizing personality traits is the ‘DISC’ model developed by a psychologist William Marston.
Simply put, the DISC model identifies people’s communication style as dominant, influential, steady and compliant. Depending on the situation and who we are interacting with, our communication style varies along the spectrum. For example, if you are speaking with your child, the style of communication will be different compared to when you are speaking with your boss at work or an elder person in the family.
The sunnah of prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) counsels us to cultivate an assertive personality without being aggressive or on the other extreme, being meek and overly compliant. Assertiveness does not mean aggression or getting people to agree with your viewpoint even when it is not beneficial to them. The Quran directs us to know people, get familiar with different customs and cultures, and seek to understand different perspectives:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed , the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. (Chapter 49 Verse 13). We are specifically told in the same chapter not to make assumptions about people without knowledge (Verse 12 ) and not to ridicule one another, meaning not to consider others inferior to ourselves (Verse 11).
Assertive behavior calls for creating a “win-win” situation, one which prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) was adept at. His pleasing and warm personality, combined with his innate sense of justice for all and upright nature gives us an excellent role model upon which to consciously model our assertiveness in a positive manner.