At some point in their life, everyone is called on to speak with and to lead others. The way in which they do these things, or their individual style, has a huge impact on their success. Think about all of the leaders you have followed in your lifetime. The leaders who stick out in your mind were probably either really good or really bad. Now think about what made the good leaders so good, and what made the bad leaders so bad. Perhaps you can’t put your finger on it, but chances are, it has something to do with their communication style or the way they communicate.

All great leaders are assertive. They realize they have a lot to offer and that they have a duty to lead. They are masters of interpersonal assertion, or the ability to insist on one’s own rights without taking away the rights of others. Great leaders use interpersonal assertion to stand up for what they think is right and explain their wants, needs, and feelings to other people.


Now that you know what it means to be assertive, you can probably think of at least one person who uses an assertive communication style. They say the right thing at the right time, they navigate stressful situations with ease and, most importantly, they don’t allow others to take advantage of them. While this person you are thinking of might make it look easy, the truth is that everyone has to work to become assertive.

Assertion is especially important in stressful situations. That’s because pressure or stress usually brings out the worst in people. Practicing the skills of assertion will enable you to use them in stressful situations. Luckily, interpersonal assertion is a learned skill. If you don’t consider yourself to be an assertive person, it’s not too late to change.

Over the coming weeks, we will cover the following topics that can help you to learn and develop strong interpersonal assertion skills:

1. Communication Styles
2. Overcoming Obstacles to Change
3. Personal Inventory
4. Becoming Assertive
5. Steps to Success

This is the beginning of a six part series on Interpersonal Assertion. Check back for future posts!