Tips on Assertiveness in the Workplace

Asserting opinions without aggression demonstrates leadership skills.
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In a workplace you are bound to come across situations with supervisors and colleagues that make you want to scream. Maybe your boss has a habit of calling you in to discuss tasks at 5:00 p.m. just as you're about to walk out the door. Or, you have to deal with the co-worker who thinks you're the 'go to' person for dumping mundane tasks. If you don't speak up your built up frustrations will making you feel resentful. Saying 'no' assertively without aggression empowers you as a leader to give you control and sanity in your workplace.


    Dealing with an aggressive, irate colleague in the workplace can be intimidating. Infinite Ideas, the author of "Be Assertive," recommends taking your loud, emotional, co-worker to a private area and asserting yourself in a calm, non-confrontational voice. Remember that your calm, assertive voice against his hostile, threatening and manipulative voice is the force preventing the situation from escalating. Acknowledge that you understand he is upset and angry and let him know that you will express your viewpoint when he is ready to listen. Remind him that you both have equally important opinions.


    During a heated discussion at an office meeting, everyone has a right to express their input not just the ones with the loudest voice. Some co-workers tend to dominate rudely by interrupting. If a co-worker tries to interrupt you, Reader's Digest, a family magazine, suggests you assert yourself by raising your voice and continue speaking. If your assertive colleague raises her voice louder than yours, counteract her rude interruption by lifting your index finger as a gesture to indicate that you have not yet finished. If she continues to interrupt, hold up your hand and say, "Excuse me, I have a right to speak."


    Everyone has their own weakness when it comes to being assertive at work. It could be asking your boss for a day off or speaking up at a meeting. Being assertive comes with practice. Write a script and refer to it before making your statements to give you a boost of confidence. Opportunities in the workplace for assertion are endless., a career website, recommends identifying areas which make you uncomfortable. For fun, indulge in those opportunities to speak up. Think of it as career development.

Don't Worry About Not Being Liked

    If being nice means taking on more tasks than you can handle in a workplace for fear of not being liked or for fear of losing your job, it's a high price to pay. Asserting yourself can keep you needed and valued in the workplace without taking on too much. The recommends asserting yourself as soon as someone hits you with a situation such as dumping in your lap a new project you don't have time for. Diplomatically, you could say, “I’d love to help you out, but I have deadlines to meet and I won't be able to provide my best service to your project that it rightfully deserves.” Your assertion says you are still nice but can't be trampled on.

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