Self-esteem and assertiveness. What do they mean?

Self-esteem is the overall opinion of yourself and how you feel about your abilities and limitations. Self-esteem comes from you, your thoughts and sense of self.

Having low self-esteem can lead to you devaluing your opinions, worrying you’re not good enough or that your ideas are not important. This can be crippling in the workplace where your voice matters and your opinion is needed.

To be assertive means to stand up for your own or other people’s ideas or rights in a calm and positive way. To be assertive is crucial when communicating in the workplace and can be a game changer for your personal development.

By surrounding yourself with positive individuals who provide you with good feedback, you will be more likely to feel valued and worthwhile. Negative individuals can disrupt your ability to be social and may lead you to become hostile or sensitive to criticism. The people you surround yourself with are important. They are your support system.

Boosting a healthy self-esteem empowers you to assert your needs and opinions, have confidence in your decision making and become resilient to changes, stress and setbacks. Most importantly, it can help you accomplish your goals and increase your performance at work. It’s also good to remember that once you make the decision to assert yourself, you should do so without being passive or aggressive.

So how can you build your self-esteem and assertiveness?

  1. Your inner voice is more powerful than you realise. Make an active effort to be kind to yourself. Remember that not everyone’s perfect so don’t beat yourself up over little mistakes.
  2. Do what makes you happy. Schedule in some time every day to do the things you enjoy.
  3. Celebrate your achievements. You worked hard. You ticked that off your to-do list, so that’s worth raising your arms in victory.
  4. What can you change? Take control of what you can, focus your energy on what you can achieve.
  5. Aim for honest, open and authentic communication. Respect others’ opinions when sharing your own thoughts, wants, feelings or beliefs.

Learning how to bolster your self-esteem can nurture your sense of self. Having a solid support system will benefit your quality of life and help you achieve your goals.


Get your mind thinking and look for ways to improve. CAE has some great courses to get you started. Give The Power of Positive Thinking, Diplomacy and Influence in the Workplace or Building Your Self Esteem and Assertiveness Skills

Browse our Short Courses