I have the privilege of working with a lot of assertive, direct women.

They aren’t afraid to speak up.

If they have an idea, they share it.

When someone says something they disagree with, they express their counterpoint.

And when they feel personally attacked by a colleague, the hairs on the back of their neck may stand up and they prepare themselves to fight back.

This is where things get tricky…

We keep telling women to be confident, not take crap and stand up for themselves.

But that doesn’t always work in our favor.

Especially when we’re dealing with jerks.

You know who I mean.

That jerk who always undermines you.

That jerk who shows up late to all your meetings and plays on his phone the whole time except to chime in when he disagrees with you.

The jerk who gaslights you and makes you feel crazy for any concerns you have.

The jerk who blatantly lies.

Dealing with a jerk at work can be tough for anyone.

But it can be particularly challenging and triggering for strong, assertive women.

These women have spent their whole careers speaking up and refusing to be pushed around.

Some have even developed a chip on their shoulder because they’ve had to fight SO hard to get where they are today.

What this means is…

The tactics that have helped you get ahead in your career won’t work on jerks. In fact, speaking up and fighting back will probably only make it worse.

This is something that comes up regularly for my clients. (Sadly, there are still a lot of jerks out there).

Typically, when jerks rear their ugly head, I see my clients either fight, flee or do nothing at all.

None of these options are going to really resolve the situation in your favor.

So what can you do?

  • Instead of fighting back, try to be sympathetic. Could something else really be going on here that’s causing the jerk to be a jerk – something besides you?
  • Instead of fleeing, try to communicate more. Suggest going out for lunch or coffee and ask questions and listen more than you talk. Let the jerk feel heard and keep things light. If you have an opportunity to address the situation, be diplomatic, not accusatory. All of this involves taking the high road and being humble.
  • Instead of doing nothing, work to resolve your feelings. Don’t react in the moment, but write it down. Try journaling about the incident or focus on how you will feel about this in the future. This imaginary time travel can help diffuse the situation and make you realize that it won’t matter much in the long run.

And if you really can’t improve the situation, then don’t stick around. Being miserable at work sucks and can chip away at your self-esteem, emotional well-being and your health.

These strategies take some work and may not feel natural at first, especially for badass assertive women who don’t take crap.

My 7 Day Boot Camp To Unlock Your Inner Badass helps you further develop this muscle and practice excelling in challenging situations at work. In the Boot Camp, I show you how shifting your mindset, habits and behaviors can help you get better results with less effort, even when the office jerks are trying to test you.

The Boot Camp includes:

  • An Introductory Training Video
  • 7 Audio Trainings (perfect for listening on the go)
  • Daily Real-World Exercises & Assignments
  • One 1:1 60 minute coaching session with me

To learn more and sign up to unlock your inner badass, click here.

Originally published at www.mosaicgrowth.com


  • Elena Lipson

    Principal and Founder, Mosaic Growth Partners

    My 20 years of consulting and coaching experience has afforded me an inside look at how different organizations operate and what it takes to succeed. I spent the majority of my career as a healthcare strategy and change management consultant, serving federal, commercial and non-profit clients and mentoring emerging companies. I've had the privilege of working with hundreds of companies in the digital health and life sciences industry, supporting projects on consumer and patient engagement; telehealth; health and wellness; caregiving and independent living; and innovations in gene therapy, medical devices, rare disease drug development and AI-driven digital therapeutics and diagnostics. In 2015, I founded Mosaic Growth Partners, a consulting and coaching firm based in Washington, D.C., to help my clients develop new solutions for growth. I support clients in the digital health and life sciences industry with strategic and operational planning, commercializing new products and services, and workshop facilitation. I also coach professional women to take control of their careers and build professional lives that are congruent with their personal aspirations and natural talents. For professional women, I offer digital, group and 1:1 executive coaching programs. Prior to founding Mosaic Growth Partners, I led AARP Services' business development efforts in health and caregiving. At AARP, I was responsible for securing strategic partnerships, developing new business models and serving as an innovation champion. In this role, I built deep market knowledge and a strong industry network by working with hundreds of emerging and established companies. I also spent nearly 10 years as a management consultant, primarily with Deloitte Consulting, where I led strategy, human capital and technology engagements for federal health clients and the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. I also led sales and capture strategy, teaming, strategic business development and client excellence for the Department of Defense Military Health System account. I'm a Project Management Professional and a certified Agile Scrum Master. I graduated with a Master of Public Policy from American University and a B.A. in Political Science with High Honors from the University of Michigan.