Most people hate conflict and will do what they can to avoid it. However, when we interact with others, there will be disagreements from time to time. Our words are our weapons of choice. Use them sparingly and we may be taken advantage by other coworkers. Use them too quick or often and we run the chance of being viewed as a workplace bully. We have the right to defend ourselves but it’s a delicate balance between ignoring a rude remark and speaking up.
Assertive communicators think win-win. They will pursue what is due them but not at the exclusion of anyone else. The assertive individual understands all co-workers have rights and are to be treated with respect. They are generally easy to get along with, yet will maintain organizational policies and standards. This type of positive communication style is good for the overall morale of the group and is generally expected of those in leadership positions.
In short, an aggressive communicator is a bully. They consider their wants above the needs of others and look for those to exploit. However, their tactics may not be overt and more manipulative in nature. They are fine to take advantage of others if it will make their own jobs easier.
A bully only respects one thing: strength. If you are correct and have a right to something, be willing to confront them. Address their behavior as unacceptable. This
may seem obvious but on a deeper level it is a show of strength. Of course, it is always necessary to assess the total damage of kicking over the euphemistic beehive in the workplace. What will be the repercussions of standing up to an aggressive communicator if that person is your boss? Once they know you will stand up to them, bullies will generally leave you for other prey elsewhere.
The passive communicator is a perpetual people-pleaser. They get along by going along, never wanting to upset the apple cart. Though they view themselves as the salt of the earth, others will see them as weak and mark them for exploitation. They are often made a victim because they will not voice their opinions stand up for themselves.
Passives generally have issues with setting priorities. They are often busy putting out other people’s fires because they can never say “no”. They need encouragement. The positive words you give them may be the only confidence builders in their lives. Ask them for opinions and solutions on team matters. However, it is important to ensure they understand job requirements and how their part affects the team. If in management, set the priorities for them.
Yes, there are those who manage to be both passive AND aggressive at the same time. They will stand up to others… but behind their backs. They have an “I’ll show you” mentality and will carry a grudge. They love to play the victim, yelling one minute and then crying the next if yelling doesn’t work.
Understand the game the passive-aggressive plays but do not play it yourself. To do so would only enable them. Stay focused on what is fact and relevant. Once they realize emotional outbursts do not work, they might come to their senses. When dealing with this personality, ensure everyone is in agreement and there won’t be any “misunderstandings” later. It may be prudent to write a summary in and email to them after a conversation.
In one of my workshops, we go deep into what makes a person behave in such ways. Find out more at: http://MomentumSeminars.com