It can be a fine line to walk. Whether you’re managing a team or trying to advance your career,you want to be confident, but not overbearing. By the same token, you don’t want to give theimpression of being too easy or passive. Do you often find yourself wondering, “Will I step over the line? If I do nothing, will I lose ground?”
You can walk that tightrope by increasing your emotional intelligence and sensitivity towards others.
Being assertive falls right in between passive and aggressive. Learning to practice calm
assertiveness affords you the opportunity to express yourself as an approachable authority, and will give you a greater chance of achieving your goals.
Managers and employees alike who dominate others can sap morale by grunting just a few
choice words, such as “I want this now.” Sound familiar? Ultimately, this approach backfires.
You can trust someone who is appropriately assertive. Not so much with an aggressor. Making demands and having too high an expectation of others puts you squarely in this column.
Try to use poise when requesting that something be done, and you’re on the right track. A
gentle, yet diplomatic nudge that inspires others to make the first move garners respect. It is a sign of a good leader who is assertive and not aggressive. No one gained anything by taking a “my way or the highway” approach.
Your Communication Style
The key to assertiveness is to be respectful of those with whom you’re trying to communicate. It’s important to pay attention to your own body language and make sure your words coincide with your body movements and tone. Don’t expect people to read your mind; communicate your thoughts effectively and if something bothers you, speak your mind in a diplomatic way. Stand up straight, lean in, smile or keep a neutral face, and most of all, maintain eye contact.
Having People Radar
One main difference between being aggressive and assertive is having emotional intelligence. Know how to judge the true reaction of those around you and take note of what came of your prior patterns. Always stay calm. If what you’re doing has not met with success, regroup and find another avenue. Be sensitive to others and when you voice an idea that gets shot down, don’t take offense or become defensive. Have an honest conversation and ask questions to get to the root of the disagreement, then find a way to make it work. This is the gift of a true
leader. Everyone admires assertive vs. aggressive people – those who have mastered the art of putting forth their views and needs confidently and directly. They stand up for themselves without wielding a metaphorical sword and always consider the views of others.