Assertive Leadership Style: Definition, Examples And Skills

Assertiveness is a confidence-building behavior. An assertive person is not afraid when it comes to saying what he wants or believes.

Being assertive means positively conveying your viewpoints without being offensive or accepting wrongdoing. An assertive leader can express their views without offending others, which is vital to an effective leader.

Assertiveness is a crucial aspect of leadership. The leaders who are assumed to be assertive are observed as more honest and achieve higher mortality than those who are not.

What Is Assertive Leadership?

Assertive leadership is a communication style where people self-assuredly convey their thoughts, expectations, and ideas.

Such leadership involves collaboration with people at various levels in an organization. An example is if you are trying to find a solution to an issue within a department, then an assertive leader would reach out to the team for their feedback.

They can make confident decisions on how to move forward. Various members of an organization feel appreciated as their opinions have an important role to play in the decision-making process.

A few people believe that being assertive at work means being aggressive toward others. But an assertive leader does not take advantage of others, infidel, them, or treat them poorly. They also know that a passive attitude where leaders lack confidence is not a viable alternative.

Assertive leadership is all about committing to decisions and, as a supervisor, setting up boundaries. Open communication is also required with respect for others.

How To Start Learning To Adopt An Assertive Approach To Leadership?

Based on life experiences, people develop different styles of leadership. The style may be ingrained, and you may not even be aware of that, and people stick to the same communication style over a period of time.

But if you want to make changes in your communication style, you need to do it effectively and in a common way. Below are a few tips that would enable you to become more assertive.

Assess your style

Are you an individual who likes to voice your opinions or remains silent? Even when your schedule is tight, are you committed to extra work? Do people seem afraid of talking to you? Before you plan to make changes, understand your style.

Using the I statement

Using the I statement, let others know what you think or feel without sounding harsh. For example, if you have a request, you may say, “I would like to help you with this,” rather than saying you need to do this. You need to keep your requests simple and easy to understand.

Practice saying no

If you have a hard time turning requests down, learn to say No., Be aware that “no” is a complete sentence, and there is no need for you to explain why to say no. There is no need to hesitate; opt for a direct approach.

Practice what you want to say

It may turn out to be a challenge to convey what you are thinking; it is better to practice general scenarios that you would encounter. Say what you are looking to say out loud, as it would help you to write it down first. You may consider role-playing with a friend and asking them for clear feedback.

Use body language

Communication does not turn out to be merely verbal. If you are not feeling it, you need to act with confidence and make regular eye contact. Maintain a neutral position when you are communicating with someone. You need to practice positive body language in front of a mirror or a friend.

The emotions are to be kept in check

The conflict would be hard for most people to deal with, and maybe you would feel frustrated or cry. Though these feelings are typical, they do get in the way of resolving a conflict. If you are feeling emotional when approaching a situation, it is better for you to maintain a neutral approach. Then work on maintaining a calm approach as your voice is to be kept firm.

Start small

At first, you need to practice situations in low-risk areas. An example is that you may try assertively on a friend of yours before heading to a work situation. Evaluate yourself and adjust the approach as needed.

Assertive Leadership

The Advantages Of Assertive Leadership

Assertiveness tends to be a valuable characteristic of a leader. The leaders who are termed “assertive” have higher integrity than those who are not assertive. Your leadership style sets the tone for the team and the results that will emerge.

When a leader is assertive, he clearly knows how to get the work done. You are guaranteed to be understood by the people who matter the most. One of the main qualities of an assertive leader is that he or she is self-confident.

They can understand themselves and the value they bring to an organization. Assertiveness in leadership provides a series of benefits that are illustrated below.

Advantage Of Assertive Leadership

  • Connect with more people
  • Better communication
  • Honest feedback
  • Pride in values and rights
  • Good judgment
  • Walk the talk
  • Better relationship building
  • Better negotiation
  • Less anxious and tensed

Connects and communicates with everyone

A successful leader attempts to connect with everyone at various organizational levels. They make themselves available to everyone.

An assertive leader communicates in such a way that they convey their viewpoint towards others without offending anyone. They can understand the emotions of others and communicate effectively.

Honest feedback

Assertive leaders provide feedback with sensitivity and in a helpful way that enables people to succeed. Leaders need to give honest feedback to their followers.

Assertive leaders do not hesitate to offer criticism and are true to their organization and followers.

Pride in his values and their rights

Assertive leaders need to have a good understanding of themselves. It gives them the feeling that they must be treated with respect and the confidence to stick to their opinions.

Good judgment should be used for making quality decisions.

Assertive leaders are perceived to have good judgment, and their chances of becoming successful are higher.

Collect all the facts or figures, enabling leaders to improve their decision-making skills. If others are involved, they feel encouraged to comment, and quality decisions emerge.

Walk the talk

In some cases, assertive leaders want team members to change their behavior, but they are not affected by this change.

They are confident in the abilities and practices that they preach. They are leaders who believe in themselves and express that to others.

Excellent relationships are built

An assertive leader admired and respected by others can be encouraged to make better decisions.

On the other hand, a disrespected leader, no matter how hard he tries, is bound to encounter stumbling blocks. A healthy relationship can help to reduce the gaps.

Negotiate successfully

Assertive leaders can figure out their opponent’s position and, hence, can understand each other. There are better problem solvers and doers, and an assertive leader feels privileged to do what is in the team’s best interests. They are high on social awareness and skills.

Tend to be less anxious and stressed.

The leaders are self-assured and do not perceive a threat when things do not go according to their expectations.

They do not compromise on their wants, and the main importance is given to themselves. In the face of emotional conflicts or conflicting situations, you can make quick and effective decisions.

Assertive Leadership

What Is The Process Of Becoming An Assertive Leader?

There is a need to be assertive by developing strong, assertive skills associated with strong, effective leaders. Finding the right approach between aggressive and passive approaches could be challenging.

But people who tend to communicate assertively at work are bound to have more success as leaders in comparison to those who lack self-confidence. By following the below-mentioned tips, you can become an assertive leader.

A firm approach when making decisions

As part of the leadership approach, making crucial decisions is vital. Leading a team or project involves making important choices, making requests, and solving problems. Strong decision-making skills enable a leader to establish important baselines, such as policies related to disciplinary action or job roles.

To be an assertive leader, you need to be confident about making decisions for yourself and your team. Rather than avoiding concerns or allowing others to make choices, an assertive leader takes a balanced approach.

They listen to what others have to say and, with the information available, make firm decisions.

Communicate honestly and transparently.

Assertive leadership requires honesty with your team members. A balanced approach is vital as it develops trust and enables people to make positive changes. Assertive leaders acknowledge people’s successes and stop focusing on the negative.

Figuring out the areas for improvement can be a constructive task as it includes both the problems and the solutions.

They harp on the fact of how the experience is going to help them as a person and grow rather than discourage them.

Provide clear and concise directions.

Assertive leaders know exactly what to expect, which is made clear to their teams. Though they welcome ideas and have great working relationships, they are ultimately responsible for how the team operates.

Assertive leaders need to give clear directions, and the team should get in touch with them if they have any doubts. When people have this information, they move forward and feel that they have the necessary support.

A calm and approachable outlook

Being an assertive leader, your attitude impacts how the team members feel towards you as a leader. A calm attitude while being aware of your body language will give others the perception that you are important.

Simple gestures like sitting straight and moving your body toward the person you are communicating with can make the person feel welcome and at ease.

Gestures that make you appear closed off will give a negative impression. What you say matters, but how you convey it could have a positive or negative impact.

Embrace opportunities to improve and change.

An assertive leader encourages their team members by informing them of the areas where they need to make changes to enhance their self-confidence and improve their job performance.

They are also on the lookout to make their own improvements and do their best to demonstrate what they want to see in their team.

Assertiveness Vs. Aggressiveness

People are bound to confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness, which is completely different. Assertiveness is not about being bold, rude, or disrespectful towards others; rather, it is an honest and open expression of your feelings and thoughts. Unlike aggressiveness, it does not mean that you hurt others.

By being assertive in their own way, leaders can express their legitimate wants, needs, and feelings.

In the same way, they can develop honest relationships while responding to the feelings, needs, or thoughts of others.

Assertiveness in leadership

Assertiveness is an important trait in leadership, and it is one of the crucial components when you are looking to achieve success in leading a group of people. Leaders who are not assertive fail to stand up for themselves or their organizations and allow themselves to be taken advantage of.

Numerous benefits accrue if you are assertive in the right way, where you need to stand up for yourself and communicate for others, and you gain respect as a leader of the group you lead. An assertive approach allows leaders to become authentic as they share their opinions with others and encourage others to do the same.

Many people believe that being assertive can lead to conflict, but not being assertive can damage relationships since you compromise your integrity and self-respect.

Assertive Leadership

Do You Require Help To Be Assertive?

Take note of the fact that being assertive requires practice and time. If you have gone on to spend a lot of time silencing yourself, then being assertive is not going to happen all of a sudden.

Even if anger forces you to become aggressive, you may need some anger management techniques.
Despite your best efforts, if you cannot progress toward being aggressive, then consider formal training. When you become more assertive, you can express yourself and your true needs properly. You will be able to get more out of yourself when it comes to better results.

Assertive Leadership Tips

Assertive leaders are able to express their thoughts and opinions in a direct way. They naturally gain the respect of their team members and their peers.

It is important to know that assertiveness is a skill, not a personality trait. Below are some tips for becoming an assertive leader.

Show up

Assertive leaders show up every day. They are consistent in their leadership styles and spend time with their teams. An effort is made on their end to know about the team members in detail. Often, they are known to have an “open door” policy.

Assertive leaders are not afraid to be challenged and stand behind every decision they make. Even if a decision is wrong, they would be the first to admit it and make the necessary changes. These leaders do not disregard the thoughts and opinions of others and give them due respect.

Standing up

Standing up can turn out to be an assertive leadership trait. It shows when leaders stand up for others that, they are collaborative and creative. An assertive leader encourages others to be honest and open about their views toward others.

An approach based on creative thinking allows you to be assertive and come up with delightful thoughts or opinions about the problem.

When you think creatively, you avoid being too aggressive and defensive when responding to a challenge.

Be aware of your strengths.

Another aspect of being an assertive leader is to be aware of your strengths. The moment you are aware of your strengths, it is going to benefit your organization, and naturally, you are bound to become more confident.

Awareness of your strengths also gives you insight into your grey areas. When you understand your weakness, you can try to work toward them. In doing so, you are bound to become more confident.


Assertive leadership is a wonderful quality that encourages people to contribute more. A confident and assertive leader commands respect from their followers, enabling them to stand out.

The leaders who go on to possess these assertive skills can complete their tasks efficiently and with fewer hassles.

Organization, confidence, and problem-solving skills are great for a leader, but they are of no value if they cannot stand up for themselves. Though it is a wonderful trait in itself, it can magnify the leadership development process. Being assertive can lead to a fruitful life.

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