We often admire assertive verses aggressive people because they are able to voice their needs and desires confidently without belittling or alienating their colleagues. They find the win-win solutions that everyone was looking for and bring the team closer together. The key difference assertive vs. aggressive personalities often relates to emotional intelligence.

Aggressive managers often say there’s only one way of doing something (their way). Aggressive managers do not have a suggestion box. Aggressive managers often demand changes without offering to help.

Assertive managers are confident, consider all opinions, and take the lead when appropriate. Assertive managers listen carefully and take in all the options and opinions before acting. Assertive managers model the change first before they ask their employees to do the same.

Here are some helpful and quick actions you can take this week to work on becoming a more assertive, not aggressive, manager:

  1. In a stressful situation? Take a moment to breathe and recollect yourself before responding or taking action. ‘Fake it until you make it’ applies here as well—smile and be optimistic in every situation.
  2. Be diplomatic in your democracy. Everyone’s opinion matters. Even if you are the president, you do not have omnipotent power—you still have to answer to the legislature and the judicial branches. Confidently, respectfully, and succinctly express your point of view but do not belittle others’ opinions.
  3. Understand what is, and is not, in your control. You can control your own opinions, actions, and attitude—but not the feelings and actions of others.
  4. Think carefully before you speak and never interrupt others before they have finished speaking.
  5. Reach a resolution with a collaborative plan that has a shared vision. An assertive manager will look for creative solutions that will ensure the success of the team and has employee buy-in.

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