Aggressive Or Assertive?
So what is the difference between aggressive and assertive behavior? Aggressive communication is a one-way channel. The aggressor only thinks about what he wants without taking anyone else's welfare into account. Assertive communication on the other hand, recognizes our rights, while still respecting the rights of others. Communication expert, Lee Hopkins defines assertive communication as the ability to express positive and negative feelings in an open, honest and direct way.
Aggressive Communication Examples:
- "Can't you get anything right?"
"Do it, now."
- "You never spend any time with me."
Assertive Communication Examples:
- "Let's do what we can to get this right."
- "This article needs to be turned in within the next hour."
- "I need to spend more time with you."
"You" is commonly used with aggressive verbals, while "I" or "we" is practiced with assertive expression. When a team member makes a mistake on a project, he may feel his supervisor is ganging up on him when he says things like, "can't you stop screwing up?" However, when the manager brings him back into the fold by stating instead, "let's see how we can correct this," he doesn't feel as if he's being hung out to dry. Most responsible workers do enough "internal criticizing" when they mess up, without having an angry boss chiming in.
Assertive communication focuses on results. Aggressive confrontation focuses getting our way by bringing in emotions such as blame, resentment and even guilt. Asserting ourselves allows us to look for and find common ground to solve problems. It doesn't rely on blame or judgment to wrangle want we want from others. Most importantly, it allows us to take full responsibility for our actions while confronting others.