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21 Behaviours of Assertive Leaders

Assertiveness is not about being rude and aggressive. Indeed, it is the opposite. True assertiveness is firstly about empowering yourself, then leading other people to find the best possible win-win outcomes to achieve results.

We believe that everybody can be a leader in the workplace in their own way. We have been helping people make more assertive behaviour choices in the corporate workplace for more than 17 years.

Here are our 21 behaviours of Assertive Leaders in the workplace.

  1. Assertive Leaders are people-focused and results-driven. They seek opportunities to empower other people to achieve results and are therefore ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ focused.

  2. Assertive Leaders communicate clearly what they want, where they are going and why. There is no need for double-guessing or hidden agendas within the confines of confidentiality.

  3. Assertive Leaders do whatever they can to grow themselves and other people. They make every effort to gain insight into themselves and give both positive and constructive negative feedback to help others grow and reach their best potential.

  4.  Assertive Leaders are authentic. They are the same people in different situations, no pre-warning is required about how they may be ‘today’.

  5. Assertive Leaders show dignity for other people in every interaction, even where there is disagreement or bad news.

  6. Assertive Leaders are willing to make unpopular decisions that may be necessary for the business. They are not dependent on approval from other people and they don’t seek consensus on every issue before they move forward.

  7. Assertive Leaders are willing to make mistakes, to admit them and to learn from them. They are also willing to accept that others make mistakes in the process of learning.

  8. Assertive Leaders are willing to stick their necks out to make progress. They don’t hide behind policy or old ways of doing things simply because they are there. They know that systems are there to support the business, not the other way around.

  9. Assertive Leaders are honest. They are honest with themselves, are honest about their values and are willing to say what needs to be said without in any way belittling or shaming other people.

  10. Assertive Leaders listen better. They give their full attention to what other people are saying, rather than listening selectively and waiting for their turn to respond, criticise or offer advice. They are therefore able to identify the real issues amidst a sea of information and activity.

  11. Assertive Leaders truly empower people. They ask more questions, invite contribution and encourage others to present ideas and to solve problems.

  12. Assertive Leaders treat other people as individuals. They appreciate that people are different with different capacities for work. They also do not judge or discriminate against anyone for their gender, culture, sexual orientation or background.

  13. Assertive Leaders are able to manage themselves. They have the emotional intelligence to manage their thinking, their emotions and their behaviour and are well able to regulate themselves in the workplace and beyond.

  14. Assertive Leaders are more interested in solving the problem at hand than wallowing in the past, naming, blaming and shaming other people. They are focused on what needs to be done rather than who needs to carry the blame.

  15. Assertive Leaders ask for help. They realise it is not necessary or practical to know everything or to be competent in all things. They also openly acknowledge those who bring solutions.

  16. Assertive Leaders take ownership for decisions they make without blaming the system, other people, the environment or market conditions for lack of success.

  17. Assertive Leaders are willing to make tough decisions and pay the price for those decisions without complaining endlessly about how costly they were.

  18. Assertive Leaders plan and grow people to succeed them. They are under no illusion that they are immortal, indispensable and that the world will indeed go on without them.

  19. Assertive Leaders are committed to growth and seek opportunities for development and growth for themselves and other people.

  20. Assertive Leaders are kind to themselves. They treat themselves as importantly as other people and are actively managing themselves, their energy and their well-being. They do whatever it takes to increase their own capacity to lead others to results.

  21. Assertive Leaders realise that perfection is not possible, but that excellence is both a choice and a habit. They therefore nurture excellence in themselves and in those they lead.


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©Andrew Bramley, Career Warriors. All Rights Reserved. 2018.

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