5 Tips To Become An Assertive Manager For Women

Assertiveness is a amazing trait to have as a manager.

But becoming assertive will be a different path for each person!

Women do tend to struggle with assertiveness more than men.

Remember it is a learned skill.

Practice and being taught the basics go a long way.
Female manager at work

Let’s go over some common pitfalls!

1. Tone

Women tend to end their sentences and definitive statements with a lift in tone at the end.

This communicates doubt as it sounds like a question.

Speaking like this communicates self-doubt and deference.

The trick to fixing this one is to practice raising your tone on the penultimate syllable of a sentence.

Your voice will naturally drop for the final syllable of a sentence and you won’t finish with a raised tone.

We always teach tone and its importance on our line manager courses in London.

2. Taking Your Turn

In a meeting or discussion you have to be confident.

Many women default to waiting for their turn to add their contribution rather than diving in.

If you have a point to make, then get the confidence to make it!

For more on patience and also understanding when your turn is, check out our assertiveness training guide.

3. Body Language

There are a few habits that women often have which can signal a lack of confidence.

These include a weak handshake, smiling too much and trailing off sentences.

Again these are down to a lack of confidence at heart and the exercises mentioned above will help.

Looking for more Assertiveness Tips? Check out our 6 Top Tips For Assertiveness here!

Female manager having meeting at work

4. Expressing Themselves In A Disorganised Manner

Womens sentences can be filled with caveats and apologies.

This confuses the point they want to make!

They then get viewed as ‘fuzzy’ thinkers who have not learned to communicate clearly.

This devalues everything they say.

The simplest way to get on top of this is to use a conversational structure.

Many people use PRES! This stands for:

Point: Make your point clearly.

Reason: Explain the ‘why’ behind it.

Example: Give an example.

Summary: Summarise your point!

Our small, intensive courses are the fastest way to improve your skills.manager-promo-1

5. Assertive Electronic Communication & Emails

The advice above for expressing yourself clearly, also stands for emails as well.

Many people struggle to be clear and assertive in emails.

The giveaways for this are too many questions, qualifiers and exclamation marks.

The trick is to use the PRES framework above again.

If you feel that your email is too harsh and want to soften it, add something like “Hope you had a good weekend?” but only at the end!


Asertiveness is a skill for both sexes.

Women just tend to fall into certain traps more often than males.

Hopefully, this article will help you to spot if you are falling into these traps.

Want to hear from some experienced people in the field?

Read our article here for the opinions of 81 Assrtiveness Experts and their tips!



About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.