How Assertive Are You?

When I help people develop their emotional Intelligence, some are surprised to find that they are low on assertiveness.  They may say, “How can this be?  I get on well with my team; I can put my point across and even disagree with others in a professional manner.”  This off course is true, they can and do behave this way in their current role.

However, often they can appear assertive because they are in their comfort zone, with a group of people who know each other well, where there are no conflicts of interest.  If they leave this setting and are suddenly placed into a different environment (e.g. with a group of more experienced, senior managers, each with their own agenda and interests) then their lack of assertiveness can become apparent and impact on their performance.

When exploring your Emotional Intelligence, it is important to not only examine it in the context of where you are now, but also in the context of your aspirations.

Assertion, the ‘flexible pursuit of having our preferences met, our opinions voiced, our emotions and beliefs honestly communicated in an appropriate way at the relevant time’ (1), may appear easy for us currently, but that does not necessarily mean it will be easy in the future – or that we are, in fact, assertive.  The good news? It is a skill, and if we are low on assertiveness, we can develop it.

Assertiveness is only one of the 15 items that are measured using the EQi-2.0 Emotional Intelligence Assessment Model – a well-established measure, recognised for its reliability and validity.  For more information visit:

About The Author

Eddie McDonald is the Managing Director of Beckinridge, an EQ-i 2.0 (Emotional Intelligence Inventory) Accredited Assessor, a Mental Toughness (MTQ48) Licensed Practitioner and a British School of Meditation Qualified Meditation Teacher.  His early career was in software engineering and now has over 30 years experience in Training & Development. He is a multi-instrumentalist, keeps a tidy kitchen when cooking and his current favourite colour is green.

You can contact Eddie on any aspect of this article at

(1) Dryden.D., Constantinou.D, (2004) Assertiveness Step By Step, P3-6, Sheldon Press, London.