The Assertive or the Aggressive Manager: Which are you?

Some managers fail to notice the distinction between assertiveness and aggression. Those that ?rule by fear? as a result of their aggressive tendencies will eventually find that their employees become resentful, unproductive and disloyal. This in turn is likely to have an adverse impact upon the manager?s own career. For mangers and leaders, the ability to recognise and react appropriately to aggressive behaviour ? whether in themselves or in other people ? is an essential skill.

Maguire Training?s Assertive versus Aggressive Behaviour course outlines the key differences between assertive and aggressive behaviour enabling delegates to recognise which is which, and equips them with the skills and strategies to enable them to deal with aggressive behaviours effectively.

In simple terms, to be assertive is to be firm, put your point across and and stand your ground whilst acknowledging the needs and viewpoints of others. To be aggressive is to impose your will regardless of the impact this may have on others.

Whilst you may consider yourself an assertive leader, others may interpret your behaviour as aggressive. So which are you? Here?s a simple quiz which, answered honestly, may give you an indication. All you have to do is decide which behaviour ? A or B ? would most closely match your own in each given situation.

    • An organisational change will have a widespread impact both upon you and your team. Do you:

      A: prioritise your own needs - after all, you?re the manager?
      B: prioritise the needs of yourself and the team equally ? after all, you?re a team?


    • You?re discussing the reasons behind a particular decision you?ve made with someone who disagrees with your decision and proposes an alternative solution. Do you:

      A: fix and hold their gaze in an attempt to stare them out and impose your authority?
      B: make appropriate eye contact that cannot be interpreted as threatening?


    • Which reflects your view of the role of a manager?

      A: to obtain the results I want by issuing instructions and controlling others to ensure completion to my satisfaction.
      B: to obtain the results which are best for the business by proactively working with others.


    • The inadvertent actions of a team member might have serious repercussions for you as their manager. Do you:

      A: Protect your position at any cost by accepting no responsibility for your team member?s actions, chastising them and ensuring that it is clear to all that the fault lies with them and not you?
      B: Work with the team member to discuss the causes and consequences of their actions, formulate a damage-limitation plan between you and establish means to ensure that the situation doesn?t reoccur?


  • You?re about to make a decision which you know will be unpopular or will have an adverse impact on your team. What?s your own opinion on the matter?

    A: Too bad. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, but I?m the manager so what I say goes. If you don?t like it, find work somewhere else.
    B: I can give the reasons why I believe I?m making the best decision in difficult circumstances but if anyone has a better alternative or some way to make this decision more palatable I?m happy to listen to it.

If your answered mostly ?A?s your behaviour might be interpreted as aggressive rather than assertive. Don?t worry; this can be addressed with effective business skills training, and thanks to Maguire Training?s innovative E-learning platform, Assertive versus Aggressive Behaviour is available as an online training course which allows delegates to study this important topic at a time and place of their own preference.

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