Aggressive Or Assertive? How To Tell The Difference

Are you unfairly accusing a woman as aggressive?

Too many women are unfairly labeled and accused of being too aggressive or difficult at work. That often inaccurate description not only holds them back from promotions but refocuses their attention away from their leadership and strategic thinking to trying to not be perceived as aggressive.

At the same time, aggressive men get ahead all time. Yet assertive women get penalized.

If you are a leader, have female staff, and want to be fair, you need to understand the difference between being aggressive and being assertive.

Aggressiveness is damaging for the long-term results and vision. Assertiveness is a highly desirable trait and should be seen as a strong indicator of leadership potential, regardless of gender, ethnic background, or status.

If you are a leader, have female staff, and want to be fair, you need to understand the difference between being aggressive and being assertive.

Telling Someone They Are Too Aggressive Is Not Helpful.

Giving someone feedback that they are too aggressive is not helpful to them because it is labeling without providing specific evidence that can be worked on. Instead, look for the specific behavior that is aggressive from the list below. It you can’t find it then consider that person was assertive which is praiseworthy.

Certain communication moments can come across as aggressive which are not aggressive unless the person engages in an aggressive way. Here are some of those moments:

  1. Demand excellence
  2. Sell
  3. Negotiate on behalf of self
  4. Have strong opinions
  5. Self-promote
  6. Disagree openly
  7. Be outspoken about sensitive topics
  8. Make unpopular decisions

Difference Between Being Aggressive And Being Assertive.

Here are the differences between being aggressive and being assertive.

Aggressive Behaviors

  • Express themselves but disrespect others in the process
  • Use control & command
  • Act hostile
  • Use insults and accusations
  • Always want to be right and say that others are wrong
  • Force decisions on others
  • Give harsh criticism
  • Not give any recognition or compliments
  • Yell or display physical aggression
  • Harass and abuse
  • Threaten
  • Ridicule and humiliate others
  • Damage property
  • Act condescending
  • Not listen to others and interrupt often
  • Monopolize conversations
  • Express non-factual negative judgement that can negatively impact someone

Aggressive Mindset

  • I need to do whatever it takes to get stuff done.
  • Others need to toughen up if they are sensitive to what I say.
  • Success is about winning and being right.

Assertive Behaviors

  • Express thoughts, ideas, and feelings with confidence
  • Respect others & themselves
  • Not be rude or manipulating
  • Know and protect their boundaries and priorities
  • Be deliberate about choices
  • Disagree openly
  • Have their own opinions
  • Listen to others
  • Take responsibility over their actions
  • Give and receive feedback & praise effectively
  • Say NO firmly
  • Ask for what they want
  • Promote their and other people’s good work

Assertive Mindset

  • I deserve to be happy, and I am in charge of my happiness.
  • I am not better or worse than others.
  • It’s ok to fail, make mistakes, and change my mind.
  • I am free to do whatever I want, and to assume the consequences.
  • My ideas, needs, desires and feelings are important and so are those of others.

People who communicate assertively are expressive, driven, go-getter, and ambitious.

Don’t make the aggressive mistake of unfairly accusing a coworker of being aggressive without any specific evidence.

I challenge you to worry more about the women who are not assertive, that don’t speak up, and that hold their potential back.

To learn more about the differences between assertive, aggressive, and passive communication and how to be assertive without being perceived as being rude, read this article.

--

--

--

Ivna Curi is the founder of AssertiveWay.com, empowering professionals at work. Don’t give up on your dream career until you learn this: bit.ly/getrecognized1

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

I am new to Medium but absolutely love reading from like minded people.

You Have Two Lives

The Truth About The Most Successful People

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough” — Melody Beattie

Learning to Fall

Learning to fall

Riding the wave of uncertainty

How To Integrate A Psychedelic Experience

3 Ways To Create A Positive Future For Yourself

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ivna Curi

Ivna Curi

Ivna Curi is the founder of AssertiveWay.com, empowering professionals at work. Don’t give up on your dream career until you learn this: bit.ly/getrecognized1

More from Medium

The Professional Procrastinator

Good day Everyone.

Bayes’ Theorem and Diagnostic Testing

OUGHT THE RESERVATION SYSTEM IN INDIA BE ABOLISHED NOW?