Track 02: Clamming Up, Blowing Up, or Speaking Up in the Workplace (Assertiveness Training)

Assertiveness Inventory

Everyone behaves passively, assertively, or aggressively at various times and in various situations. This inventory will help you determine in which particular situations you are likely to be passive, aggressive, or assertive.


The following questions will be helpful in assessing your preferred style in certain situations. Be honest in your responses since anything less is self-defeating and pointless, and will distort your results. Circle the letter of the statement that describes you best.

When someone watches me while I work and I feel uncomfortable and distracted, I:

 Say nothing, become anxious and nervous

 Ask the person to stop

 Become defensive and hostile, and ask the person to leave

When a person in authority deals unfairly with me, I:

 Feel helpless and say nothing

 Feel confident in my position and calmly call it to his or her attention

 Immediately start an argument and insist on my rights

Concerning the dividing of workload, I:

 Apologize for asking for help, feel I’m stuck with the work he or she won’t do

 Work together to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement

 Let unexpressed feelings build up inside and then blow up

When I need small favors or help from family or friends or co-workers, I:

 Say “I’m sorry, but…” or “I hate to ask, but…”

 Ask freely, understanding that others may say no

 Demand what I want, implying they owe it to me

When a favorite co-worker expresses a viewpoint different from mine on a controversial issue, I:

 Immediately assure I am wrong and back down

 Speak openly and honestly, and respect the other’s view

 Protect myself, tactlessly tell the other that he or she is wrong, use my words in an accusative manner

When someone makes an unreasonable request of me at work, I:

 Fill the request, feel helpless and manipulated

 Refuse respectfully or negotiate the request

 Believe my rights have been violated, refuse the request with offensive or guilt-inducing statements

To get others to do something, I:

 Say nothing and hope they will offer to do it on their own

 Make a request

 Try to get them to do what I want by using sneaky or manipulative methods

When others don’t seem to “carry their weight” at work, I:

 Do it for them and feel taken advantage of

 Ask them if I can do anything to help them complete their project

 Make a comment to them on their irresponsibility

If I am asked to work overtime, I:

 Most often say yes and consider the consequences later

 Let them know I’ll get back to them with a firm answer and base my decision on priorities

 Quickly react without considering the issues at hand

When a client is being rude or abrupt, I:

 Say nothing to them directly but complain to others

 Take them aside and lovingly let them know that it isn’t appreciated while at the same time helping resolve their frustrations

 Walk out and/or tell them you are not dealing with them

How did you answer — AB, or C?

A. Passive tendencies


 Withdraws from conflict

 Not honest about feelings

You believe that you should never make anyone uncomfortable or displeased with you. Although passive people are nice people, their way of relating can lead to emotional exhaustion with self and resentment towards others. In order to gain control and power over your life, assertiveness techniques are a must.

B. Assertiveness qualities

 Confident, expressive

 Goals are reached by above-board negotiation

 Very honest, yet firm, with desires and opinions

Assertive individuals have a healthy sense of self-respect. They respect others as well but will draw clear boundaries on inappropriate behavior. They communicate their needs well and stay current with feelings.

C. Aggressive behavior

 Controlling over others

 Takes little responsibility for their actions

 Verbally intense and intimidating

Although aggressive individuals are honest, they lack tact and diplomacy. Their goals are usually achieved at the expense of others and they usually are baffled that others say they are rude. These people also need to learn assertiveness techniques to better their social skills.