Assertiveness in the workplace:  As a supervisor, are you exactly aware of where your employees are engaged all day? Are you the one who has to intervene when they give up in work? You will undoubtedly do your best to stay informed of the state of affairs of all projects. But you are busy yourself and you may have to manage a large group. You cannot know everything and you cannot read thoughts. It is therefore very pleasant for employees to indicate themselves if a project is running out or if they encounter something. It is nice if employees are assertive and dare to indicate if the workload is too high.

What is assertiveness? And what is it not?

An adequate assertive attitude means standing up for themselves and their own opinion, rights and points of view without aggressively approaching discussion partners so that they remain in their value. (Wikipedia)

So there is a clear difference between assertive behaviour and aggressive behaviour. An employee who is assertive does not let his cheese eat from the bread, but is also capable of working together and seeing great importance.

identifying assertiveness

Assertiveness in the workplace: the benefits

In this article, we explain why assertiveness in the workplace is so important. Certainly when as a company you have to deal with a lot of stress, a reduced work capacity, or many burnout cases in the organization.


With assertive employees, some people think of people who want to do everything in their own way and who are very dominant, but that is unfair. If someone is assertive, he dares to give his opinion, but he also takes the others into account. That is the difference between aggressive behaviour where someone only thinks about their own interests. It is a great advantage if employees are assertive. They are clear, they give their opinion and they know their own limits. As a manager, you know what you can do with them.

Also read: approaching an employee


Another advantage of assertive employees is that they are reliable. They don’t say ‘yes’ to an assignment if they really can’t. So you can be sure that their ‘yes’ is actually ‘yes’ and if they can’t, they say that honestly. They also dare to give their opinion honestly in meetings. Maybe it would be to your advantage if all your employees seemed to agree with everything in a meeting, but it would be better if someone immediately said that he is not one with something than afterwards that you hear that it causes unrest and problems. It is important that employees can honestly state what they want and what they can and dare to say ‘no’.

Also read: how employees can indicate limits

Less stress

If an employee does not dare to express his opinion, it ultimately causes stress. Stress can be the result of raising emotions and having a lack of self-confidence. When stress accumulates, the employee runs a greater risk of burnout. A burnout often arises because people adapt to others and through incomprehension. As a manager, you naturally hope to be able to prevent it from getting that far. Assertiveness in the workplace is therefore of great importance for the well-being of all employees. More assertiveness means less stress and fewer burnout cases and that is what every manager wants for his company and employees!

More info:  Learning goals for employees to reduce absenteeism

assertive management

Assertiveness in the workplace: how do you do that?

Employees can learn to be assertive. Assertiveness is not a matter of the one having it and the other not. Therefore, do not label an assertive employee as annoying, but encourage it. Remember that frustrated employees drop out at a given moment. An assertive employee and a responsive manager, on the other hand, tackle problems together. Assertiveness is part of the training that we can offer an organization. With the help of our training, employees learn to indicate their limits in a tactful way. They become more assertive, they increase their resilience and they learn to communicate more clearly. Everyone will go to work with more pleasure and that also increases productivity.

Assertiveness in the workplace: Safety

It is important to guarantee safety as a manager. This means that an employee has the feeling that he/she can express himself, even when things are not going well. The time factor is very important for this. Spend time on your employees by regularly meeting for a short moment with the simple question: How are you? Safety in the workplace reduces the risk of burnout:

Read more about safety in the workplace

Conquer burnout and stress

Reducing stress and recovering from burnout can be quite the challenge. With the help of our professional coaches, we are convinced that a full recovery is within reach. Our years of experience has taught us what stepping stones will help you reach your goal more effectively and how to make sure the changes you make will be of help to you for the rest of your life. Let’s turn your burnout or stress into your best life ever.

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