Becoming a More Assertive Leader

Being a B.A.W.S.E. is a framework that I use in my coaching practice. 9 times out of 10, people will reach out to me because they are unhappy or not feeling fulfilled in some area of their life that directly or indirectly impacts their career. I’ve found that typically, there is a lack of confidence at the root of a lot of the issues we face.


If you’ve ever answered the question, are you confident with, “I’m confident, but…”, then this is for you.

Let’s dive into the definitions of the foundation of being a B.A.W.S.E.:


Bold = Confident, Courageous, and willing to take Risks


Assertive = Behaving in a way that expresses your Confidence, Decisive, Self-Assured, while respectfully doing so without being aggressive.

Do you see how the two complement each other?


Having both qualities help to boost your confidence level, helps to gain respect, helps to keep you on track with what you really want, and helps you overall in your life and career.


Having these two complementary qualities provides you the ability to speak up for yourself, to act in your best interest, and not settle for less than you want or deserve.


Being Bold is pretty self explanatory. However, there’s a bit of confusion when it comes to assertiveness and what that actually means and looks like.


Being Assertive DOES NOT mean being Aggressive.


There are fundamental differences between the two; whether or not you’re respectful.


  • Aggressiveness is angry, sometimes loud, and most times disrespectful and not considering other people’s opinions and feelings.

  • Assertiveness is considerate of other people’s feelings and opinions while stating your own.


Here are a 4 tips to help you become a more Assertive Leader:

  1. You must first choose to act differently if you’re typically not an assertive person. Make the conscious effort to change your behavior and SPEAK UP!

  2. Practice saying No. If it does not serve you or in your best interest, say No. Try saying no without apology or excuses. IF you’re bold, you can use the one word sentence of “No.” If you’re not there yet, say no and state what you want and why. Remember, no apologies for it.

  3. Get out of your head. Express your thoughts. Be clear on what you are thinking and what you want.

  4. When you don’t agree with something someone is saying, let them know. Respectfully disagree and state your opinion - what’s your stance? Let it be known.


Remember, being assertive means to be clear and direct, express your thoughts, wants, needs, and boundaries all while being direct and speaking your truth.



Consider this scenario:


Your boss has given you a very unrealistic deadline for a project they’d like you to manage. It’s a lot of work and they’ve not taken any of your current responsibilities away from you; you’re still responsible for getting current work done, in addition to this. You’ve already been spending at close to 50 hours per week at work.


In this situation, you have three options to choose. Which one are you likely to choose?

  1. Passive - feel upset and say nothing but yes ok and thanks. Meanwhile you complain to anyone who will listen. This does nothing but make you upset and angry, not to mention resentful towards your boss.

  2. Aggressive - show anger and disrespect towards your boss. This does nothing more than make them lose all respect for you and become defensive. This will no doubt harm your relationship with them and put you on their ‘list’.

  3. Assertive - tell your boss confidently, without fear, how you are feeling about the additional workload and show them that you won’t be able to efficiently work on the project unless you are relieved from your current workload or let them know that they must re-prioritize your work because you can’t do both to the standard you are accustomed to providing. This shows your boss that you can negotiate as well as state your objections clearly, concisely, calmly, and diplomatically. Moreover, this shows them that you can communicate your needs without apology.


Which did you choose? Are you an Assertive Leader? Do you need to work on your assertiveness? Your confidence?


If you chose anything other than number 3, what steps are you taking to grow your skills? Not sure how to start? start here.


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jackie mitchell career consulting

phone: 347-620-3436

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