Hiring Chesco: Being More Assertive in the Workplace

being assertive at work
Image via Express Employment Professionals.

For both new and seasoned leaders, being too nice is an easy trap to fall into, writes James C. Price for Express Employment Professionals.

Although kindness is undoubtedly a virtue, it can often lead to taking on more work than you can handle. Unassertiveness, as a result, can potentially cultivate burnout, resentment, and disengagement.

According to this study by Asana, a mobile app designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work, 82 percent of workers feel burnt out at work, and 43 percent of leaders say office morale is low due to overwork. Furthermore, 49 percent of employees say the No. 1 reason for leaving their jobs is being overwhelmed by their workload.

Creating a culture of open communication and healthy assertiveness in the office with yourself, as well as your employees, is vital if you want to avoid burnout, low morale, and turnover. Here are a few tips:

  1. Establish Boundaries: Salaried employees don’t necessarily have the same luxuries as contractors or hourly employees to leave work at work. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is key to avoiding burnout in the office and ensuring longevity in your job.
  2. Communicate Your Workload: Overly nice professionals often feel that they’re being taken advantage of. Be open about what is on your project list and what you can and cannot take on.
  3. Learn to Say No: Learning how to say no and decline work is critical. A yes-man doesn’t do any favors for others by taking on more than he or she can handle.
  4. List Priorities: When determining what work needs to be added to your plate, distinguish between the “must haves” and the “nice to haves.” Anything critical to you or your organization needs to be a top priority. Work that can wait, however, needs to be placed on the backburner.
  5. Create Margin: When you learn to protect your time and energy, you can now make space in your schedule to be able to say yes to a special project or to help a co-worker in need.

Simply put, you can do more harm than good by over-extending yourself. By working through the root causes of being too nice, establishing boundaries, and creating a culture of assertiveness, you’ll lay a foundation for sustained success.

If you would like to arrange for an interview with Maria O’Connell, call 484-329-7930.


Express Employment Professionals, the sponsor of VISTA Today’s Hiring Chesco, is in the business of people. From job seekers to client companies, Express helps people thrive and businesses grow. Its international network of franchises offers localized staffing solutions to the communities they serve across the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, employing 526,000 people globally in 2020. Learn more.

The Chester County – Main Line, PA Express office is located at 215 Lancaster Avenue and serves the Greater Philadelphia area. Local businesses and applicants are encouraged to stop by, visit the website, or call 484-329-7930.