Workplace Assertiveness: Benefits, Disadvantages, and Tips for Being More Assertive

Workplace assertiveness is a crucial communication skill for politely expressing your thoughts. Adopting assertive behavior can improve your self-esteem and assist you in making constructive changes in your company. Employees must know how to deliver assertively in a way that their audience can easily comprehend. In this post, we define assertiveness, discuss its value, and offer suggestions for how to behave assertively at work.

What does assertiveness mean?

Assertiveness is a feeling that allows professionals to convey their thoughts while also respecting the viewpoints of their colleagues. Workers can stand up for their beliefs while still developing friendly relationships with coworkers and superiors. As opposed to aggression, workplace assertiveness is sensitive to others’ feelings.

Also, it differs from passivity in that it conveys messages firmly. Employees who are aggressive strike a balance between granting others’ demands and furthering their interests.

What distinguishes assertiveness from aggression?

People occasionally have a misunderstanding of what workplace assertiveness is and how it differs from aggression. But, recognizing this distinction is crucial to your professional success. Being assertive implies being capable of successfully expressing your wants and feelings and getting the results you want while also being sympathetic to the needs and goals of others. This is in contrast to aggression, which is characterized by intrusive energy and initiative. Even if they are outspoken, people can build and keep up good professional connections.

What makes workplace assertiveness crucial?

Assertiveness is essential for developing effective relationships in the workplace. Even if it differs from your coworkers’ opinions, you can feel free to voice them. You can resolve disputes and collaborate effectively if you respect other people’s opinions. Depending on your position in the hierarchy, workplace assertiveness may take several forms:

Workplace Assertiveness for employees

Workers frequently employ assertive communication strategies to address managers and coworkers aggressively but respectfully. These are some situations at work where it might be a good idea to be assertive:

  • Requesting a raise from your manager: Workers might reassure their management of their commitment to the position while arguing that the duties at hand call for a pay raise.
  • Rescinding a group decision: Maybe the group came to a decision where one person didn’t agree. The team member can support their argument with evidence while remaining open to their colleagues’ consideration.
  • Developing a different strategy for a task: Let’s say a worker develops a method for managing activities at work that is more effective. They might discuss how their plan will help the company while expressing their admiration and respect for earlier customs.

Workplace Assertiveness for Managers

Managers must be firm when setting expectations for their staff. To increase productivity, you can assert your authority and embrace different viewpoints. Here are some scenarios where being forceful may be required:

  • Employee task delegation: Supervisors might justify why they gave a certain project to a particular employee. You may, for instance, be stern about keeping an eye on their job output while assuring them that the assignment will help them in their careers.
  • Accepting accountability for their deeds: An assertive leader admits their errors and expresses regret. They are also open to suggestions for improvement and attentive to constructive feedback.
  • Keeping your cool under pressure: Being assertive can help a project manager soothe staff members when things go wrong. It entails taking decisive action while being sympathetic to the team’s worries.

Advantages of workplace assertiveness

There are advantages to workplace assertiveness, including:

  • Gained self-esteem: Workers who properly defend themselves at work may have greater confidence in their communication abilities, which can boost their confidence. You will feel much better as a person and perform more effectively at work as you learn to appreciate the worth you have to give and what makes you tick.
  • Effective teamwork: This allows for the sharing of knowledge and the confidence to make suggestions between teammates who resolve conflicts by exercising workplace assertiveness.
  • Respect for power: Firm managers can improve their leadership abilities with their employees. They give straightforward and trustworthy instructions, and their staff is aware that the manager pays attention to what they have to say.
  • Increased participation in team performance: Stronger team performance results from every team member feeling confident that their teammates will interact with constructive comments when the task is progressing smoothly and with useful feedback when changes are required. With workplace assertiveness, you can ensure that your team has open communication channels and that everyone—including you—is adding to the company’s performance as a whole.
  • Improved stress-management abilities: workplace assertiveness gives you the self-assurance to voice your concerns and contribute to the solution of challenges or problems. Also, you have the confidence to handle upcoming interpersonal conflicts with respect and composure. All of this helps to reduce stress and make the workplace a healthier, happier place for everyone.

Disadvantages of workplace assertiveness

There are other disadvantages to not asserting oneself at work. They consist of:

  • Lack of clear guidance: Supervisors who lose their authority may confuse subordinates when assigning responsibilities. They must hold their team members responsible and attend to their requirements.
  • Increased interpersonal conflict: Employees who don’t voice their ideas may continue to be unhappy at work, which can lead to more arguments among coworkers. Even if one member of the team takes a different path, respecting everyone’s viewpoint helps ease stress.
  • Increased sensitivity to criticism: Individuals who lack confidence may also be more easily offended by critique. Employees could benefit from practicing workplace assertiveness so they can recognize the worth of their opinions.

How to enhance workplace assertiveness

To carry out workplace assertiveness, use these strategies:

1. Employ suitable nonverbal cues

Body language describes your posture and hand gestures when expressing your ideas. Your nonverbal cues must support your words and show that you are firm. When an employee perceives your confidence through your body language, they might be more receptive to your verbal instructions.

2. Clearly express your viewpoint

workplace assertiveness involves many different aspects, including effective communication. If you express your perspective in a way that is understandable to the employee, they may have faith in your decision. You can communicate yourself clearly in the following ways:

  • Understand the target market. Make sure your message is appropriate for your discussion partner’s professional experience. For instance, you could use more technical jargon when conversing with a manager.
  • Be succinct. Keeping your interest in the audience can be accomplished by being succinct. Keeping in mind that your colleague has limited time, avoid filler and make your points clear.
  • Utilize direct language. Ensure your colleague understands your message completely. To further support your perspective, think about employing numbers or proper nouns.

3. Prepare for possible resistance

Pushback is any opposition your coworker might face regarding your claim. Being ready for resistance might help you choose how to make your message stronger. Consider how your colleague could react to your first pitch as you rehearse your speech. Consider the worries they could have and plan ways to address the issues. By being adamant in your counterarguments, you can further demonstrate your workplace assertiveness while demonstrating to your audience that you’ve given your viewpoint significant consideration.

4. Be willing to make concessions

Making a compromise includes coming up with a solution that works for both sides. It can show that you value your coworkers’ perspectives and are prepared to compromise on some of your principles. Maintaining a good rapport with your conversation partner through compromise is another benefit.

Prioritize your strong ideals over your more forgiving ones as you make your case. Pay attention to the atmosphere as the conversation went on. Consider offering your accommodating values as a way to end the meeting amicably if you discover that the colleague is still resistant to your message.

5. Have a positive outlook

Keeping an optimistic outlook might help defuse tensions between people. Here are some scenarios where being positive could be beneficial:

  • Give them a sincere thank you for their time before you begin speaking. To establish a connection, you can also inquire about their well-being.
  • When responding to a colleague’s worries, reassure them that you appreciate and understand their viewpoints. Paraphrase their points after engaging in active listening to prepare to respond with your own.
  • Once you’ve come to a decision, thank your audience once more for coming. Remember to tell them that you’re looking forward to continuing to work with them.

Workplace assertiveness suggestions

Use the following advice for more help in projecting workplace assertiveness in your role:

Identify the ideal time.

How you chose to make your point can affect how your audience reacts. Pick a good time when your colleague can hear and comprehend your point of view and when there is enough time to come to an understanding. To prepare your speech in advance, schedule a meeting, for instance. Watch the atmosphere in your workspace to decide when it is appropriate to speak up.

Managers should think about the needs of their employees before exercising authority. Consider choosing a time that permits you and them to chat in private if you are providing criticism of their work performance. This will demonstrate your respect for their autonomy.

Observe your tone of voice.

Your audience may interpret your tone differently when you argue your points. For instance, a quiet tone may indicate sadness or timidity, but a higher tone may indicate that you are about to become aggressive. Strike a balance so your colleague knows you mean business while remaining friendly. Maintaining a positive attitude during the talk can be achieved by using a welcoming tone.

Put your thoughts in writing.

You can better prepare for your delivery by writing out your message. Make sure your speech flows effectively by transcribing exactly what you intend to say and then reading it again. Think about how your audience might react to your message’s directness.

For instance, you might delete a few words from your message if you discover it is too lengthy to make it shorter and simpler to deliver. You might also get a colleague or mentor to proofread your letter and make comments on how to make it better. To make your speech sound more natural, utilize your written material as a guide rather than trying to memorize it.

Employ active verbs.

Active verbs can help you communicate your viewpoint more precisely and avoid having it misunderstood by your audience. Some examples are:

  • Want
  • Will
  • Choose
  • Feel
  • Believe

One of the numerous tools you have at your disposal to help you come across favorably in interviews and also in your work career is nonverbal communication. However, hiring decisions should be made based on a candidate’s skills and credentials, and businesses should endeavor to be diverse and accepting of everyone’s unique communication preferences.

Ways to improve your workplace assertiveness

There are various things you may try to develop your workplace assertiveness abilities if you tend to be more passive naturally and want to learn how to boldly defend yourself. To improve your workplace assertiveness, take the following actions:

  • Boost your self-assurance.
  • Confidently express your needs.
  • Recognize that you only have power over your behavior.
  • Develop your workplace assertiveness.

1. Increase your self-assurance

Trying to exercise workplace assertiveness requires a deep belief in oneself. You can advocate for yourself more effectively if you have self-confidence as opposed to letting other people’s beliefs and viewpoints influence you. Learning more about oneself is one approach to improving this skill. You can feel more assured in your abilities and skills by spending some time carefully considering your goals and the reasons you deserve to achieve them. Realizing that you are entitled to the same happiness as everyone else can give you the self-assurance you require to advocate for yourself.

Also, you may make an effort to comprehend your emotions better and take steps to carry out the activities that boost your self-esteem and motivate you to give your best effort. You can develop more self-assurance and workplace assertiveness by realizing that your needs, wants, and accomplishments are just as valuable as those of others.

2. Confidently express your needs

It takes more than just feeling better or having an improved experience to stand up for yourself. Also, it helps you operate at your peak capacity and benefits both you and the whole business. You may feel more at ease as well as more willing to advocate for your requirements if you understand how workplace assertiveness benefits you as well as your employer. Instead of waiting for another person—such as a supervisor—to notice that you are lacking something necessary to perform at your best and also be effective, speak out for yourself.

By talking to your coworkers and the management about the tools and resources you require to finish a project or reach a goal, you may exercise this skill. After stating your wants clearly, make sure your needs are properly satisfied by following up. If there is an activity that you believe would be beneficial to you but is not now an option, kindly request that the choice be reviewed in the future.

3. Recognize that you are alone and responsible for your actions.

It’s critical to understand that you do not influence other people’s behavior. If your workplace assertiveness has been misunderstood at work, your only power is to stand up for yourself. It is perfectly OK to speak up to assert your wants and rights in the workplace as long as you continue to be considerate of other people’s time and requirements.

4. Develop your workplace assertiveness.

The greatest approach to effectively becoming more forceful at work, like any other talent you aim to acquire, is to practice being assertive in real-world workplace situations before they arise. For instance, you might role-play with a friend or relative to ensure that you are ready for the many reactions you might encounter and that you are speaking out for yourself in a way that would elicit a favorable response.

Practice attentively listening to the desires and emotions of others while having a candid conversation about your own needs. You should feel more at ease and be able to maintain your composure and politeness while dealing with similar situations at work if you practice being assertive in normal work scenarios.

Understanding and Improving Assertive Communication

The ability to speak openly and truthfully while simultaneously accepting and appreciating the ideas of others is known as assertive communication. It lets you express your viewpoint clearly while still preserving your respect for the people you work with, making it a crucial ability to have in the workplace of today. When people communicate in this fashion, professional connections are maintained and each person’s opinions are fairly defended.

How do you communicate assertively?

The capacity for direct and honest conversation is what is meant by workplace assertiveness. If you possess this ability, you may speak up in the workplace with confidence and clarity about your opinions, feelings, and ideas.

When used effectively, assertive communication enables you to speak up for your rights while also listening to the other person’s viewpoints and keeping their rights and feelings in mind.

While it’s crucial to communicate yourself with subtlety, you must also be straightforward, respectful, and truthful. Regardless of the hierarchy at work, both parties are equally important when communicating assertively.

How and when to utilize assertive communication

Assertive communication has several benefits, and it is being used in more and more companies. Yet, it’s crucial to consider how it could affect relationships and cohesion at work before opting to use it. Determine whether forceful communication is likely to be effective in each scenario before using it.

You can communicate yourself clearly while fostering respect for others by employing this communication ability, which can enable you to deliver your message effectively.

Components of assertive language

More practice makes using aggressive communication simpler. Some of the components that this style of communication should include are listed below:

  • Clarity: While speaking with other workers, be explicit when communicating your thoughts and feelings. When decisions need to be made fast, clarity might help you be more determined.
  • Active listening: Paying attention to opposing viewpoints enables fruitful discussions at work. Try to listen to other colleagues without interjecting when engaging them in conversation. This demonstrates that you value what they’ve got to say.
  • A neutral voice: Even if you have opposing thoughts or viewpoints, being an aggressive speaker helps others feel respected and designed.
  • Honesty: Honesty is a prerequisite for forceful communication. To ensure that the individual you’re speaking with understands your worries, it’s critical to express your thoughts and feelings honestly but gently.
  • Facts: It is your responsibility as an aggressive communicator to make sure that any conversation you have with colleagues is supported by facts. This method of conversational direction helps you stay on topic and accomplish your objectives by receiving helpful criticism.

Developing your workplace assertiveness in conversation

To utilize assertive communication more effectively and efficiently, it is helpful to practice it on your own or in actual settings. The following advice can assist you in developing your aggressive communication skills:

  • Assess your personality to identify how you behave at work, and then consider whether being more forceful in your communication might enhance your ability to interact with others.
  • Prepare your speech in advance. Practice a common scenario that you think would call for assertive communication so you’ll be ready if one arises at work.
  • Act out a common workplace situation with a friend to continue practicing. Continue doing this until you feel comfortable speaking effectively and positively. To keep becoming better, ask for their frank feedback on your development.
  • Managing your emotions when communicating assertively on the job is crucial. The open interchange of ideas and perspectives is made possible by self-control, which also makes everyone feel heard.
  • When speaking with coworkers, make sure your facial expression is neutral and upbeat.
  • Reduce your hand gestures and movements as much as possible to keep the dialogue the main emphasis.
  • Practice using it on friends or coworkers at work to increase your self-assurance as an assertive communicator. You can try it in increasingly difficult job circumstances as your confidence rises.
  • To stay focused on the aim of your message and keep its value, time yourself as you exercise assertive communication. For instance, it could be advantageous to take other forms of communication into account if you’re in a rush.
  • To make sure your comments serve the desired purpose when using assertive communication, make sure to express your side of the debate coherently.

Advantages of assertive communication

Although assertive communication might be difficult, there are numerous advantages to employing it well:

  • An assertive communicator can regulate their emotions while forcefully upholding their beliefs and rights. They are aware of their feelings.
  • In the office, the home, and social settings, assertive communication fosters sincere encounters and connections.
  • You learn how to articulate yourself and make decisions with confidence when you utilize this communication style, which boosts your self-esteem.
  • Employee confidence that their opinions are being acknowledged at work provides employment happiness.
  • Assertive communication makes it easier to exchange ideas and viewpoints at work, which reduces the difficulties associated with teamwork.
  • This type of communication encourages teamwork and work collaboration since it gives each employee a sense of value for their contribution.
  • When solutions are more effectively communicated in the workplace, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities advance.
  • Employees that are assertive with one another at work are better able to establish healthy limits.

Strategies for assertive communication

There are strategies you may put into practice at work while interacting with coworkers to utilize assertive communication effectively. Here are a few to think about:


When you’re fogging, you can take criticism without getting upset or defensive. Your ideas remain unchanged despite your kind acknowledgment that the criticism is true. Fogging makes it possible to calmly and amicably resolve conflicts.

Negative assertion

To truly understand yourself in the eyes of others and to embrace them as a part of your identity, you must be honest with yourself about your conduct and personality. You’ll respond to remarks more intelligently if you accept both your strengths and flaws. You can accept the truth that people share with you and gain a deeper understanding of yourself by making negative assertions.

Recurring assertion (broken record)

This method allows you to make decisions while remaining cool under pressure from multiple people who are trying to persuade you to embrace their ideas and viewpoints.

Practical compromise

If reaching a compromise with someone does not violate your morals or self-respect, it is advantageous. For example, if a colleague who was supposed to get together with you is occupied but still wants to do so, you can both decide to arrange a later time to meet.

Negative inquiry

You can handle unfavorable comments from individuals close to you using this strategy. The key objective is to determine whether the feedback is productive or not for oneself. If so, you can choose whether to heed their recommendations. You can remain impartial and do nothing if their feedback is not constructive.


Many workers fear that being assertive would come out as being overly obstinate, forceful, or pushy. It can be challenging to be aggressive constantly because it is not everyone’s natural trait to behave assertively. It can often be more challenging for someone to exert oneself in a manner that complies with the ideals of assertiveness due to their temperament or character.

Thankfully, assertive behaviors can be learned and practiced by those who consider themselves to be passive employees. This can be accomplished either by workplace assertiveness training or by voluntarily taking action to question your current behaviors and swap them out for fresh new ones.

However, keep in mind that the environment determines how this idea is used. Being forceful can not always be suitable in work-related situations. You will have to decide where, when, and how to act assertively using your standards and judgment.

Frequently Asked Questions about workplace assertiveness

  • Why is being assertive crucial in the workplace?

One essential communication skill is being aggressive. You can explain yourself clearly and defend your viewpoint by being assertive. Additionally, it can assist you in doing so while honoring the rights and convictions of others. You may increase your self-esteem and get the respect of others by being forceful.

  • What does assertiveness look like in the workplace?

Being assertive will allow for the consideration of multiple viewpoints when making judgments. Before making a choice that will have an impact on them, you ensure that everybody is on board. You are also a part of this. Rather than cooperating with others to appease everyone, you should support the decision and speak your mind.

  • What exactly are the three C’s of workplace assertiveness?

The Three Cs of Assertive Communication: What Are They? You have confidence in your capacity to manage a situation. Clear: Your message is concise and simple to comprehend. You transmit messages in a peaceful and controllable way.

  • How can you become more assertive at work?

Create a list of “To-Don’ts” You must first clearly define your goals before sharing them with others to engage in assertive communication and communicate about boundaries. Making a “To-Don’t List” of activities you aren’t interested in doing any longer is a terrific method to maintain strong limits.