How to Be More Assertive in the Workplace

If you struggle with asserting yourself during strenuous workplace interactions, there may be ways for you to work around your naturally passive tendencies.

Whether you have trouble speaking up during team projects or you have been trying to find a way to request a raise, believing in yourself can help alleviate some of your reservations. You must be mindful of slipping over the line into developing aggressive behavior as this can happen if you are overcompensating for being predominantly passive in past interactions.

Once you understand the difference between assertive and aggressive tendencies, you can begin to take the steps necessary to assert yourself in the workplace. Becoming a more assertive individual occurs when you find an appropriate balance between speaking up for yourself without stepping over boundaries. To be appropriately assertive you must hold the same level of respect for yourself as you do

Knowing Your Worth Can Boost Your Confidence

One of the first steps you can take toward being more assertive in the workplace is to take the time to fully understand your worth as an employee. People may feel as though their role in a company is negligible if working in an entry-level position, but every role holds its own level of importance. Whether you are starting out in the workplace or you hold seniority over your peers, understanding your worth can help you speak up for yourself when necessary.

Take time to assess how your role in the workplace holds a higher significance by observing how your work directly effects the team as you collectively work toward a common goal. Something as simple as filing a report can bear a greater significance on the outcome of a case, all of which would not be achieved without each person fulfilling their given roles.

When you understand the role you play in the team, you can gain the confidence necessary to ask for the things you deserve. If you have been working for a company for over a year without a raise but have been completing the work necessary to earn one, speak with your boss about the prospect of getting a raise.

Be sure to outline the ways you have successfully completed your assignments to date and highlight the ways you are an asset to the team. In doing so, you are displaying your sense of worth and are assertively arguing your case for a pay increase. When you are confident in your work, you are confident in your ability to ask for what you deserve if it is not being readily provided to you by your superiors.

Learning How to Be Assertive While Working with A Team

People often have trouble asserting themselves in a team setting as it can be difficult to retain your independent voice within a larger group. If you are selected to lead the team or you are playing an active role as an observer, becoming assertive can help you ensure your voice is properly heard.

If you are in a team meeting where you are brainstorming ideas for an upcoming project and you disagree with the proposed idea, speak your mind to other members of your team. Build upon the existing idea proposed by your colleague to show you are respecting the basis of their idea but that you believe you can add to the plan in a productive manner.

When you are building off the ideas of a team member, it is important to credit them for what they have proposed to ensure you are not coming off as aggressive and to avoid creating animosity within the group. For example, if a colleague has proposed a six-month deadline for a project and you feel as though allotting nine months for the project is a more manageable expectation, propose this idea to the group.

Assert yourself when arguing your case to prove to your team why your idea must be compared equally to the existing plan. By speaking up in a way where you are respecting your peers but improving upon the team results, you are mastering the balance of assertive behavior within a team setting.

Preventing Yourself from Stepping Over the Line into Aggression

Through each of your interactions in the workplace you must ensure you do not overcompensate in your quest to achieve a more assertive nature. While it is important to speak up for yourself to get what you want, you do not need to be rude in the process of doing so. Assertion transforms into aggression within a few conversations or actions and when you become aggressive at work you are alienating yourself from your peers and superiors.

Aggressive behavior in a workplace setting would be an instance where you tell a co-worker he or she is being stupid when proposing a plan that could not conceivably work for the project at hand. This would be a rude approach to the situation and shows you are being aggressive because you are unwilling to credit them for the thoughts he or she has decided to contribute to the group.

To alleviate this issue, simply thank your co-worker for taking the time to think of a project proposal and speak to him or her about the process taken to land at this result. By understanding why your co-workers arrive at a proposal idea, you can work toward helping them improve upon their process to render more productive results. If you are in a leadership role, this is essential if you want to become a proven leader your employees can look up to.

By taking the time to pull coworkers aside who are having difficulty managing their work or contributing productive ideas to the group, you can work with them to improve. This is an assertive decision as you are protecting the team from carrying out a weakened plan without directly offending your coworker or creating an atmosphere of aggression through your actions.

Related Article: Achieving Career Goals

Join Our Newsletter

To be updated with our latest news

By clicking "Join", I represent that I am 18+ years of age; I understand that this site is privately owned and is not affiliated with, nor endorsed by any government agency, I agree that the personal information I provide you with may be shared with third parties for other marketing purposes, and agree to the Privacy Policy, California Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions; and agree to receive email marketing from

It might also interest you: