Tag Archives: workplace

Assertiveness and Leadership

Wikipedia defines assertiveness as the following:

a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.

As a Filipino American who immigrated to the United States from the Philippines at the age of 11, I was taught not to challenge authority and not to “make waves”. Throughout my life, including my early few years in my career, I was not very assertive, meaning I was not willing to speak up for myself or others.  Few years ago, I left a position because I was very frustrated with my role in the organization. I kept my frustration to myself and looked for another job. After I accepted the job offer, a very good friend of mine who is also part of the management above me was very surprised of my decision. As a matter of fact, he was a little disappointed that I had not spoken to him about the issues I had which led me to leave the organization.  I told him I have felt the frustration for years but I felt it was not my place to complain. I was also disappointed in myself for not having had the courage to share my frustration with my supervisor and to the management before I made my decision to leave. Fortunately, I was able to come back to the organization a few months later when an opening came up and I was asked to apply for my old position.

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