Are You Assertive Enough?

It’s all right to speak up and take the lead.

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Marty Nemko
Marty Nemko
Not that long ago, to stay reasonably employed, you only had to do what you're told. But today, alas, mainly the assertive thrive.

Are you sufficiently assertive? Rate yourself from 0 to 10 on each of these:

1. Your job description.

10 = To better suit your strengths and/or meet the employer's needs, you'd make the case for changing your job description.

0 = You'd either take or leave the job description as is.

Your score: ____

2. Negotiation.

10 = You negotiate fairly but firmly.

0 = You accept the first offer.

Your score: ____

3. Soliciting feedback.

10 = You regularly solicit feedback on yourself and take action to improve.

0 = You never solicit feedback on yourself and even if you get it, don't do much to improve.

Your score: ____

4. Giving feedback.

10 = You regularly offer positive and negative feedback, for example, if you believe you were treated unfairly or that a co-worker's poor work is affecting you or the organization.

0 = You never give feedback.

Your score: ____

5. Initiating projects.

10 = You're likely to take on or ask your boss if you can take on a project: streamline a system, identify a new profit center, start an online discussion group, whatever.

0 = You never propose doing a project that isn't already assigned to you.

Your score: ____

6. Proposing ideas.

10 = You often make suggestions in meetings or to your boss.

0 = You never make suggestions. Your comments are limited to agreeing or disagreeing with others' ideas.

Your score: ____

7. Disagreeing.

10 = If appropriate, you express disagreement with your co-workers or boss.

0 = You never express disagreement with your co-workers or boss.

Your score: ____

8. Cold-contact.

10 = You don't hesitate to make a cold call or email, whether it's to get a sale, information or a reasonable favor.

0 = You're scared to and never make cold calls or emails.

Your score: ____

9. Learning.

10 = You're an autodidact: You don't need the structure of school to learn. You do most of your learning on your own or with a tutor rather than signing up for a course, which may be expensive and/or inconvenient with lots of instruction that's off-target or poorly paced for your needs.

0 = You need the structure of school.

Your score: ____

10. When wise, you look for a better job.

10 = If your job is boring, unethical, dead-end, insufficiently remunerative or otherwise unsatisfactory, you look assertively for better work.

0 = You stay put unless you get terminated or a better job drops in your lap.

Your score: ____

Utterly Unvalidated Scoring Key

> 90: Fully assertive. You'll likely move up in responsibility, perhaps way up, and no matter what, you'll feel control over your worklife.

65 - 89: Assertive

40 - 64: Average

20 - 39: Fairly passive. You're likely to hold only individual contributor roles.

< 19: Passive. You may be at risk of losing even an individual-contributor role.

Whatever your score, is there an item or two you'd like to work on?

The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Dr. Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach." His latest books are How to Do Life: What They Didn't Teach You in School and What's the Big Idea? 39 Disruptive Proposals for a Better America. He writes weekly for AOL.com as well as for USNews.com. More than 1,000 of his published writings are free on www.martynemko.com.