Aggressive or Assertive?

By Sue Voyles / September 7, 2018 /

Ever been in a meeting when you felt someone was being aggressive in making their point or trying to get their way? The answer is probably yes. Did that make you feel like you were being bullied? Perhaps, but at the very least it was probably uncomfortable.

May I suggest a different approach? How about being assertive instead?

Aggressive behavior is very different from assertive behavior. But sometimes people get the two mixed up.

Assertive is positive and constructive. It is about treating others as you wish to be treated. It is about mutual respect, listening and building mutually beneficial relationships.

Aggressive behavior does not respect the rights and needs of others. It is self-focused and usually about “winning” or “getting your way.” Aggression can be expressed as sarcasm, insults or manipulation. It is not a bridge to building a productive relationship.

The next time you need to have a difficult conversation, want to make a point with someone, or need to find an acceptable compromise to a tough issue, resist aggression. Instead, try being assertive.

–Sue Voyles