How Assertive Are You? Take This Revealing Quiz to Find Out

Some people are naturally more assertive than others. But if you’re not one of these alpha-type personalities, it can feel like you’re being bulldozed. Being assertive isn’t easy for a lot of people, but it’s important to make sure that your voice is always heard loud and clear. At the same time, you don’t want to come across as pushy, overbearing, or aggressive.

How Do You Respond?

Take a few minutes and select the choice you would most likely say or do in the following situations:

  1. You offer a solution to a problem in your department meeting and a co-worker cuts you off before you can finish…
  • a. You pound your fist on the table, stare into the other person’s eyes and continue talking louder and faster.
  • b. You stop talking, sit back in your chair and allow the other person to take the conversation from there.
  • c. You lean into the conversation and give a “one minute” hand signal to the other person. When you’re finished, you ask for that person’s input.
  1. Your supervisor gives you a verbal OK to take Friday off, but then on Thursday evening tells you the department is behind and you need to be there on Friday.
  • a. (Arms crossed high on the chest) “I have a problem with that. You told me I could have the time off. How come you never do this to any of the night crew? Why do I get punished just because I work days?”
  • b. “But I thought you said you didn’t need me. I will be here.”
  • c. “It sounds like this is important. You know that I’m committed to making this department run, but I made important plans for tomorrow. Perhaps there is another resolution, like working late tonight or coming in over the weekend.”
  1. During a meeting, a co-worker takes credit for an idea you came up with.
  • a. You say nothing, but you look for an opportunity to steal one of her ideas or make her look bad. You get mad—and even!
  • b. You say nothing to anyone and spend the next several days depressed, yelling at yourself for being stupid and taken advantage of.
  • c. You confront her. “When you portray my ideas to our manager as your own, I feel as though I can’t trust you. I shared my ideas with you in confidence, and you broke that trust.”
  1. You’ve been promised a larger work space in your new office in order to be more effective in your new position. When you move in, though, you are told, “Sorry, it didn’t work out the way we thought it would.”
  • a. You slam drawers and yell at people while you’re moving in. Every time a change comes up, you sarcastically relate it to the broken promise.
  • b. You shrug your shoulders and quietly brood over the decision.
  • c. You acknowledge that changes are bound to happen in a move like this, and tell the responsible party that in order to effectively serve your customers and co-workers, you will need more space. You offer alternatives and are open to creative solutions.

For each “A” response you circled, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What do I feel I need to prove?
  • How do I want the other parties involved to “pay” for what has happened?
  • What will the result of my response be?
  • What do I stand to lose by this response?

For each of your “B” responses, ask yourself:

  • What am I afraid of?
  • What will the result of my response be?
  • What do I stand to lose by this response?

For each “C” response, ask yourself: 

  • Why did I choose this response?
  • What will the result of my response be?
  • What do I stand to gain by this response?

To succeed in today’s fast-paced world, you need to communicate effectively. But if you’re not actively voicing your needs, concerns, and opinions, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. By taking some time to consider how you respond to certain situations and why, you can project a more assertive image. Soon you’ll be speaking with more confidence, disarming conflict, and getting others to see your point of view.

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