Assertiveness – Your Choice to Make

Monday Message from Jerry Houston, President and CEO of HPISolutions

In any work situation (or at home, by the way) you have a choice to be assertive, aggressive, or non-assertive.  Your choice depends on many factors, of course, but which one is the right one… most of the time?

Let’s start this morning with a definition of the three choices we all have:

Non-assertive Behavior: If you leave decisions to others or make decisions to avoid conflict, you are acting non-assertively.

Aggressive Behavior: If you make decisions based on their potential for influencing others, or with no regard to their impact on others, you are acting aggressively.

Assertive Behavior: If you make decisions based on information and your needs, you are acting assertively.

Clearly, assertive behavior is the preferred option, especially in a professional setting.  Think of it another way:

    1. To act aggressively, requires a win/lose mindset. I win and you lose, to be specific. 
    2. To act non-assertively, requires a lose/win mindset. In other words, I lose and you get to win, always!
    3. To act assertively, requires a win/win mindset. I will assert my rights, and at the same time respect your rights during any communication or interaction together. 

Being assertive allows you to express your needs, thoughts, and feelings honestly and directly without violating the rights of others.  Acting assertively enables you to:

  • Gain self-esteem
  • Gain confidence
  • Stand up for yourself when you need to
  • Negotiate productively
  • Promote your personal growth and fulfillment
  • Take responsibility for the quality of your relationships with others

Take a moment to step back and ask yourself if you are being assertive, aggressive, or non-assertive.  How does each make you feel? Which one will be most satisfying and productive in your relationships?

Want to talk more about how to enhance assertiveness in your professional capacity? We have individual coaches as well as training programs that are designed for this purpose. Reach out to

Have a Great Week!