Why Is Assertiveness Important at Work?
Regardless of the field or organisation you work in, every workplace has the same things in common. Each office will have its fair share of overbearing managers, bossy co-workers or even a difficult team, and the one way to effectively stand up to any of them is to be assertive. This one skill can boost your self-esteem and have a positive impact on your workplace achievement and personal happiness.

Workplace Success

Four behaviour types

In any workplace, you will typically find people with these four personalities:

Passive or submissive

Those who are submissive make every attempt to avoid conflict and in most instances, fail to address issues. Although it seems like they are keeping peace, they simply allow different issues to fester.


Passive-aggressive people tend to express all their negative feelings via actions rather than words. This could include showing up late for work or putting in only partial efforts into their work.


These people will always respond to different situations by alienating others in an extremely hostile, obnoxious and rude manner. It’s true that aggressive people get their opinion heard, but it’s also a fact that they end up creating many enemies in the process.


People who are assertive thrive in the workplace, especially if the situations are ambiguous. They are able to stand up for themselves in a way that doesn't hurt other people's feelings. They are very transparent in their dealings with their colleagues and are clear and honest in their communication. They also generate results by controlling their immediate environment in a very positive manner. Assertive people are also very self-assured, which means that they effortlessly gain the respect of people they work with.

How you will benefit from being assertive?

Now that we know what the different types of personalities are, take a look at why assertiveness is truly important at work and how taking an assertiveness course, such as the ones from Activia, can help you become more effective at work.

1. It helps you to earn respect

When you learn to be assertive, it won't be easy for others to take advantage of you and you won’t be easily intimidated by bossy people (your manager or colleagues). Once people realise that you will stand no nonsense and that you are sincere and truthful, they will start to respect you.

2. It helps you to control your emotions

Being able to act in an assertive way will help you control your emotions in a better way. This is very important in a workplace, as a lack of it becomes a sign of weakness. For instance, crying is definitely a game changer, but not really a good one.

Want to Be More Assertive?

Activia offers online, public and onsite courses to match your needs.


3) You'll be able to set boundaries

You will rarely find an assertive person being pushed around in the workplace. That is because your assertive nature helps you set boundaries and lets your colleagues know exactly how they should behave around you. When boundaries are set, it adds clarity in your professional relationships and helps you to limit unwelcome interactions and behaviour.

4. It helps you to build your judgement

Even an assertive person needs to have the judgement to pick the right battles. There will be a number of adverse situations at work, and assertiveness training can help you judge when to speak out and when to hold your tongue; which will help you to steer clear of potential trouble.

5. It improves your body language

When you are assertive, it also makes you confident and makes your body language more positive. This tells people around you that you are not a person they can mess with. As I mentioned before, assertiveness will help you earn respect at work, and it also helps you to portray you as a leader.

6. It gives you the confidence to ask for what you want

There could be times when you are passed over for a promotion or raise and you know that now is the right time to get it. Being assertive will help you put forth your point before your manager, in a very objective manner. In such situations, pushy people can get on the wrong side of their boss.  However, when you are assertive it also makes you look at situations in a positive light and helps you stay focused.

Confident Employee

7. It teaches you to say no

When you learn to be assertive,you'll be able to put your foot down in situations that you know will impact your performance at work or your personal life. For instance, if your boss is overloading you with work and asking you to spend excessive hours at the office (and if it’s something you can’t do or don’t want to do), you can take control of the situation by saying no. This isn’t something passive people would be able to do as they are too timid for that. Aggressive people may blow their top in such a situation, which is bound to create a dent in the impression their manager has about them.


As you can see, there are a number of ways in which you can benefit from being assertive at your workplace. However, even after a training course, it’s very important that you practice your new skills consistently - that’s the only way it can become a part of you. Over time, you will find that it has become more of a proactive stance and that you are able to face workplace, as well as personal, challenges in a much better way.

Just as consistency is important, it is vital that you upgrade this skill. In a workplace, you will find plenty of situations in which your assertiveness will be put to the test. Keep sharpening your assertiveness skills and, without even realising it, you’ll be able to achieve much higher goals in no time.

Want to Be More Assertive?

Activia offers online, public and onsite courses to match your needs.