How to be Assertive, Not Aggressive

I’m always looking for new and interesting information to send to members of my career mentoring site.  And I have good news on that front.  I’ve just discovered s new author.  Gina DeLapa.  I love her little book called Stuff You Already Know* and Everybody Should.  I loved this book so much that I signed up for Gina’s email list.  When I signed up, Gina sent me a cop of her article called “How to be Assertive Without Being Aggressive.”  I like this article so much that I’ve decided to share it here.

To oversimplify: assertive is good, aggressive is bad.  Assertive people stand up for themselves in a positive way.  They respect the opinions of others.  Aggressive people have little concern for others.  They are going to get their way, not matter what.

I like all of the advice in the article, but I especially like Gina’s second point — assume the best, not the worst.  It’s simple.  When you assume that other people will be understanding and helpful, they are likely to be understanding and helpful.  When you assume that others will be negative and difficult, they are likely to be negative and difficult.

Recently, I had a situation that confirms this way of thinking.  By now, you probably know that I am on the faculty at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.  Recently, I was asked to team teach a course.  My initial reaction was negative.  I prefer to teach on my own.  I reluctantly agreed to the team teaching.  As I was getting ready for my first meeting with my co-instructor, I was feeling kind of negative.  But I caught myself.  I chose to approach the meeting in a positive manner.  You know what? We got along great, and I’m sure the course will be better for having both of our perspectives.

Assuming the best is a great way to build relationships and come across as an assertive, positive person.  Try this it works.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.


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