4 Ways Women Sabotage Their Careers By Not Being Assertive

It might not seem relevant, but being assertive is a key ingredient to so many elements for professional success for women. Being passive can equate to inactivity, non-engagement or procrastination. Yet, women who lack skill in the fine art of assertiveness can be seen as aggressive, too direct or sarcastic. Women who are assertive are likely to have a greater level of professional success. Women who sit complacently in their current level of skill in areas of emotional intelligence and assertiveness are unlikely to progress on a satisfying career path.  Here are 4 ways that women sabotage their careers by not being assertive.


When you can hone your skills in being assertive, the decision-making process becomes so much easier. An assertive woman has the skills to deal with the outcome and consequences of any decision she makes, whether those outcomes are positive or negative.  Consequently, an assertive woman can make decisions quickly, knowing that no matter what, she will be able to manage the outcome professionally and confidently.


When you are responsive, making decisions quickly, you become a person that people trust and admire.  A woman who can assertively make decisions is a reliable resource. However, people will not seek you out for advice or entrust you with responsibility if you are indecisive. Alternatively, women can sometimes hide behind the passive-aggressive behavior of sarcasm, insincerity, slyness or bitchiness which weakens their Leadership prowess.


An assertive woman can effectively communicate her needs at work but also in other environments. However, a woman lacking in assertiveness skill is likely to cause disruption or offence when trying to communicate her needs. Or she may not have a voice of her own, relying on others to speak on her behalf.

An assertive woman can take control of her environment.

Some women become either aggressive or anxious rather than finding the right balance of assertiveness to express their needs and interests.  Either end of the spectrum is going to cause unwanted stress.

Most women won’t be aware of it, but by not being assertive, all of the above will affect a woman’s productivity.  Women who are not being assertive, will not:

  • Learn from mistakes
  • Communicate Effectively
  • Communicates their needs or wants for a project
  • Manage their stress or anxiety to work at full capacity

If you’d seriously like to improve your ability to be assertive, invest in some professional development training.  Alternatively, if you’d like to address these issues in the comfort or privacy of your own home, talk to me about regularly half hour Stress Management Coaching Sessions, conducted via skype or phone.

About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management & stress management enthusiast based in Alice Springs, Australia. She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing. She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things. She is sought after like a beacon in a sea of chaos to provide professional development in the business environment through workshop training, coaching, mentoring, online training programs, webinars and as a guest speaker around Australia. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships. Follow Barbara on Twitter @barbclifford.


How do you think you rate?

You can quickly identify whether you are Passive, Aggressive or Assertive.