Aggressive communication is a style of communication where people use anger and threats to get their point across. It includes yelling, interrupting and talking over others, and can also include physical abuse. Often times, aggression is used by people who are feeling powerless or who feel they’re being taken advantage of. In these situations, aggressive communication can seem helpful as a way to regain control and show that they’re not afraid to stand up for themselves. However, the problem with aggressive communication is that it makes everyone else around you feel disrespected and unhappy. It is also not conducive to working together or having healthy relationships.
Assertive communication is the opposite of aggressive communication. Assertive communication is a balanced middle ground between passive and aggressive communication. Assertive communication involves communicating your thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a clear and respectful manner while respecting the rights of those around you.
Passive-aggressive communicators can be challenging to work with in the workplace because they tend to create confusion among colleagues. They often say one thing and do another, or make snide remarks or “jokes” that are thinly veiled expressions of what they really think. Their negative behavior can have a domino effect, where colleagues become frustrated and start to avoid them. If you’re dealing with a team member who uses passive-aggressive communication, try to identify the source of their anger or resentment. It may be related to a coworker, a personal situation or even the pressure of meeting deadlines.
While aggressive communication can be helpful in some circumstances, it is never beneficial to your career or personal life. If you’re constantly using this style of communication, it will eventually cause your close relationships to suffer and possibly even impact your job performance. Aggressive communication is not compatible with the fruit of the Spirit, and it’s often rooted in a desire to be seen as powerful. It leads to a life of few good relationships and, in extreme cases, isolation.
Changing your communication style can be difficult, but it is possible. Many of us learn our communication styles from the people who surround us as we grow up, and it is very easy to pick up bad habits. If you notice that you are using a passive-aggressive or aggressive communication style, work on changing it. Be patient, and remember that it takes time to change a habit.
Aggressive communication can be counterproductive in the workplace, but it is not impossible to avoid it altogether. To help your team members develop better communication skills, encourage them to use assertive communication techniques that are positive and solution-oriented. By focusing on the value of your team members’ contributions and offering ways they can improve their processes, you can teach them to communicate more effectively without being aggressive or passive-aggressive. If you need help implementing this type of approach, contact our team to learn more about our communication training programs and workshops. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you schedule an appointment.