Assertive Professionalism- The PERFECT Tool!

By: Rachel Carpenter

  • Assertive Professionalism… you may hear this term a great deal. Or maybe you’ve never heard of it at all! Regardless of which side you fall on or if you’re somewhere in the middle, assertive professionalism is a term we should all get to know. Assertive professionalism is how to assert yourself appropriately and professionally in the work environment. This is a skill that every working individual should attempt to develop, regardless of your industry, job description, or pay grade!


  • You may be asking yourself, ‘when will I even use assertive professionalism?’. Believe me, a lot more than you will expect to. The ability to assert yourself and stay true to your opinions and values, while staying professional and respectful of the other person/s involved is really important! You should never lose sight of what you believe in or tuck your feelings under the rug— assert yourself and tell others how you feel. But do it professionally. There are a few tips to staying professional in a situation like this, so let’s get down to it!





1. Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected

    • We ALL get emotional sometimes. It’s just a fact of life. There may be things that happen in your work environment that make you very upset and, at times, emotional. It’s okay to have these feelings!
    • Come to terms with how you feel and let your emotions flow out— but do it before you confront the issue! By gathering your emotions, taking a deep breath, and calmly asserting yourself, there is so much greater chance for the person/s to work with you! 
    • Part of being a professional is addressing conflict in a professional way!


2. Use Your Words Wisely

  • When we’re angry, frustrated, upset, or another flurry of emotions, it’s easy to lose control over what comes from your mouth. One of the best ways to assert yourself professionally is to be intentional with your words!
  • Before addressing the issue, maybe plan out what you want to say. Don’t script it obviously but collect some points that you want to bring up. If you already know what you want to say, it’s a lot easier to stay on track!
  • Keep profanity, hateful comments, and passive-aggressiveness out! You will not be taken as a professional, keeping you from being professionally assertive!


3. Be Willing to Compromise

  • Part of asserting yourself professionally is understanding how far is too far. Asserting yourself shouldn’t hurt a relationship with a co-worker or boss, rather it should clear things up and be an opportunity to share with others your perspective, 
  • Be willing to compromise! Not every situation will work out perfectly. Giving your perspective, hearing theirs, and being willing to come to an agreement is how assertive professionalism should work!


These tips can make assertive professionalism go a great deal easier! Will they always lead to a solution? Maybe not. But keeping these things in mind and utilizing them as you assert yourself means that you handled your side of the conflict the best way you could. 

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