The difference between assertiveness and plain aggressiveness is divided into many aspects. Perhaps, the most crucial of these is one’s level of respect for oneself and for others—a disparity that can be gleaned from a speaker’s words and actions.
How a person values his rights and that of others plays a big part in how one holds a conversation. For comparison, passive people often see themselves as inferior to the person they are talking to, and they think that other people’s rights and opinions take precedence over theirs.
This mentality discourages them from voicing out their thoughts. Often, a passive person is compliant, submissive, vague, and non-committal.
Aggressive people occupy the other end of the spectrum because they put more value on their opinions and rights compared to that of others.
This superior attitude laces their conversations with sarcasm, harsh or patronizing words, putdowns, and other interruptions that dilute their messages. They insist on having the final word without regard for what the other person thinks or feels.
Assertive people, on the other hand, see equal value in their rights and that of others. Their respect for everyone is shown by their willingness to listen, by their actions and gestures that clearly reflect what they are saying, and by their polite but firm messages. Because assertive speakers acknowledge that each party offers valid points, they consider the other person’s opinions when trying to find a mutually beneficial workaround for the problem or situation at hand.
Because assertive speakers acknowledge that each party offers valid points, they consider the other person’s opinions when trying to find a mutually beneficial workaround for the problem or situation at hand.
It’s easy enough to differentiate passive posture and actions from assertive and aggressive ones. Low self-esteem prompts a passive person to avoid eye contact and to try to make himself as small as possible.
In the same vein, an aggressive person’s overwhelming self-worth and lack of regard for others affect the way he carries himself. In conversations, he may appear to look bigger by standing with the head upright, shoulders have been thrown back, hands on hips, and feet apart. Such individuals sometimes gaze or maintain expressionless eyes.
In conversations, he may appear to look bigger by standing with the head upright, shoulders have been thrown back, hands on hips, and feet apart. Such individuals sometimes gaze or maintain expressionless eyes.
Assertive people, on the other hand, maintain an open, relaxed posture and friendly eye contact, all to encourage the other person to speak his mind. Sometimes, they also use their hands to make friendly but appropriate gestures.
You can also look at how other people react after talking with a certain person to know if the latter is an aggressive or assertive speaker.
Aggressive behavior makes it easy for a person to gain enemies and the hire of other people. One may leave the presence of an aggressive speaker feeling resentful and angry. An assertive speaker, on the other hand, enjoys good, open, and honest professional relationships.
Now, aggressiveness may come naturally to some, but this does not mean that they cannot learn to become more assertive instead. There are professional assertiveness courses that can help them improve their communication skills.
The course will teach them how to get along better with their colleagues in the office or, if they are freelancing, effectively negotiate with a potential client.
Monica Mendoza is the manager for a fortune 500 company, Monica Mendoza counts communication coaching and personality development among her passions. In her spare time, she engages in writing, gardening, surfing, and hiking.”
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