sg-crest A Singapore Government Agency Website
Official website links end with
Secure websites use HTTPS
Look for a lock () or https:// as an added precaution. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.
workipedia logo white

2 minute read

Speaking Up at Work: How to Do it Respectfully and Meaningfully

Here’s how to be assertive in the workplace without rubbing people up the wrong way.

Having the confidence to be assertive in the workplace is important, but knowing how to be assertive without being bossy is just as essential.

Respect goes both ways; you have to show it in order to earn it. If people don’t respect you, you won’t be an effective leader.

So be confident, but don’t be arrogant.

Don’t be presumptuous

You should speak up when you have an opinion or suggestion to share, but don’t presume to know everything.

Show humility by acknowledging that someone else might have better ideas to contribute. You can be confident, without being an annoying know-it-all.

Lead by example

People respect those who do more than they talk. Expressing your views is important to be an assertive figure in the workplace, but make sure you lead by example too.

You need to walk the talk to be an effective leader, or you’ll be disregarded as the person who talks a good game but doesn’t have a clue what he or she is talking about.

Apply for a leadership role on MyCareersFuture. Over 80,000 job opportunities to select from daily.

Take on more leadership roles

Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. Take the opportunity to hone your leadership skills by volunteering for managing projects or tasks that place you in a leadership position.

It might be intimidating, but we can only grow by embracing challenges. This will give you an opportunity to ask your team members and boss for feedback, so you’ll know what to improve on, moving forward.

Choose your words carefully

Just as the right words can project confidence, so can the wrong choice of words paint you as a bossy colleague who’s trying too hard to assert themselves in the workplace.

Speak to others the way you’d like to be spoken to.

Don’t be a shrinking violet, but don’t be patronizing either.

Keen to deepen your soft skills? Let us help you. Register for a complimentary session with WSG’s Career Guidance team and we’ll be in touch soon.

Know what you’re talking about

No single person knows everything there is to know, but refrain from making grand statements or claims if you’re not reasonably confident that you’ve got your facts straight.

What’s worse than not having anything to say is, making exaggerated claims that are later found to be untrue.

Learn from the experts

Read books on leadership by experts on the subject, attend workshops, listen to podcasts or watch TED talks. There are so many avenues of learning available to us these days.

Learn from those who know what effective leadership looks like and how to develop those skills.

As with everything in life, it’s all about balance.

Confidence without arrogance is key when being assertive in the workplace.

This article is contributed by

Related topics:

Find more jobs like these at
MyCareersFuture Job Portal