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Managing Your Success

Be Assertive, Not Aggressive - What is the difference?

Oftentimes, we think that the way we express ourselves is much friendlier and less confrontational than it really is. We feel strongly about an idea, a philosophy or a person and when we talk about it, him or her, we get animated and excited. We want to express ourselves in a way that really captures our emotion, our passion and our enthusiasm. This can easily be misconstrued and misinterpreted as being ‘overly assertive’ or aggressive.

Sometimes your emotions may appear to be negative, angry or less than positive. Your reaction may be impulsive, full of frustration and have an ‘attitude’. The response from others may be that you are pushy, bullying and difficult to deal with. This is seen as being aggressive.

Understanding the benefits of being assertive – expressing your thoughts, ideas and opinions in an honest and forthright manner with a goal of being heard, understood and respected – can go a long way. You maintain professionalism, common courtesy and respect with those you are communicating with while standing up for your own views.