This week, I facilitated Days 1 and 2 of the Leading Yourself and Leading Others experience. One of the topics is an Introduction to the Assertiveness Model.
There is a big difference between being Assertive and being Aggressive. Sadly, a lot of people confuse the two.
If you’re acting in an Assertive manner it means you get your needs met but not at the expense of others (win-win). Whereas if you act in an Aggressive manner, you get your needs met and you don’t really give a continental about others’ needs (win-lose).
I was horrified whilst waiting in a shopping centre car park this week, having just taught this concept, to hear a woman screaming abuse at an elderly man, “Chicken and chips! I told you. Chicken and chips, not f……..ng fish and chips.”
“Wow!” I thought to myself, “If only someone had taught you the difference, there would be no need for this drama and angst and upset. That sort of behaviour does no one any good.”
The man was doing his best to run away and she kept running after him, screaming at the top of her voice.
I cringe when I witness this sort of behaviour because it is so unnecessary and really, chicken and chips is not the end of the world.
If she had learned how to assert herself she might have been able to calmly express her disappointment, anger or annoyance. For example, a three part Confronting I Message describing the unacceptable behaviour, how it makes you feel and the tangible concrete effects is often enough for people to change their behaviour. In this instance, the woman could have said something like, “I’m really disappointed. I ordered chicken and chips, not fish and chips. I don’t like fish and I don’t want to eat this.” She could also add, “Are there other options?”
Whilst I cringe, I also can’t blame the woman because most of us have not been exposed to better ways of communicating – me included. I too was a hot head until I learned these skills in my early 20’s.
How about you?
Do you think you act in an assertive or aggressive manner? Perhaps you err on the side of Passive or Passive Aggressive.
The way you communicate with people really does a make a difference to your relationships and results.