The Balance of Assertiveness

Assertiveness can often be confused with aggression but this is not the case. Assertiveness is a balancing act of being confident and direct with your actions whilst understanding the impact that your behaviours can have on the individuals around you. Assertiveness does not come naturally to most people managers/leaders which is why many have to “force” themselves to proactively confront issues and challenges, especially those challenges related to employee performance.

Leaders who possess natural assertiveness usually demonstrate the ability to confront issues in a timely manner and not resile from acting when required. Leaders who do not possess naturally high assertiveness can modify their behaviours by making sure that they do not allow issues to slide and force themselves to confront challenges head-on.

Assertiveness is a key trait for all leaders as it delivers substantial benefits that result in improved business operational performance.

Benefits of being assertive:

       1. Negotiating

Being appropriately assertive has incredible benefits when negotiating. By being assertive you are comfortable to push hard when the situation warrants and ensure a win-win outcome that delivers most of the outcomes you were hoping to achieve.

       2. Maintaining relationships

Assertiveness plays a key role in your confidence to ensure that expectations are communicated and made very clear. When forging new relationships it is important to instil trust by making sure everyone is on the same page.

       3. Encouraging effective collaboration

Leaders need to be able to understand their team’s qualities and stand up for the opinions of others who don’t have the confidence to promote collaboration. You have the courage to stand up for others’ and their views when required.

       4. Gaining confidence

Confidence starts with knowing what you want and how to get there. This can have a dramatic effect on your motivation and allows for high levels of productivity. It also promotes a barrier to those who are attempting to dominate you.

       5. Improving decision making

The key to making better and more efficient decisions relates to how confident we are in our views of ourselves and our team.

It is natural that leadership is built on a foundation of confidence. Confidence can in some instances lead to individuals having a large ego and in tough situations can make them appear to be aggressive. There is a fine line between being aggressive and assertive. Aggression tends to occur when a naturally assertive individual does not have a high degree of empathy. Individuals need to understand the boundaries of communication but assert their views to improve the productivity of any work environment.

Assertiveness is one of the nine behavioural scales used in the Profiles International Psychometric assessments. We have found that people who are higher in assertiveness are more focused and competitive which has a powerful impact on their leadership attributes. By employing an objective selection process and implementing psychometric testing organisations will be able to easily identify whether their candidates have natural leadership qualities to improve employee engagement, productivity and profitability.

To learn more about Psychometric Assessments and how they can improve your selection process, please contact the Peoplogica office on 02 9936 9000 or email

Written by David Snow

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