Early on, as kids, we develop specific ways of listening and responding based on what we learned in our original organization, the family. Unconsciously this is what we bring to work and it can get in the way of success if you don't change your ways.
The beliefs of the aggressive personality type are:
- Hey everyone, I'm the best cause I am so smart.
- Excuse me, I am never wrong.
- Listen up, I have rights and you don't.
- Pay attention, I know more and can teach you.
The styles of the aggressive personality type are:
- Close -minded and says "Really, I don't think so"
- Poor listener and says "Huh, can you repeat that."
- Unwilling to compromise and says "My way or the highway."
- Interrupts and says "Stop, I have a better ideas."
Did you ever wonder how the bully, rebel and super achiever who can only hear their own voices developed this unpleasant way of communicating? It means looking back in time to get a snapshot of who they modeled and what the success factor was from their past behavior.
Spoiler alert: if this makes you uncomfortable you better look back in your own life.
Most likely they/you had a family member, usually a parent or caretaker, sometimes an older sibling or close family friend or neighbor, who took charge and got their way. Being the alpha male or female has its perks. People do pay attention and often get out of the way and do what they are told.
Power is an aphrodisiac and the more the better.
Characteristics of the aggressive communicator include being domineering, condescending, sarcastic and opportunistic. This shows up in behavior that is bossy, mean-spirited, lacking in appreciation, and arrogant.
Verbal language of the aggressive type:
- "You must..."
- "Because I said so..."
- "Don't ask, just do..."
- "I am the decision maker..."
- "It's not your job to tell me, it's mine to tell you...
- "If you don't like it, leave..."
Non-verbal mannerisms of aggressive types are:
- Harsh tonality
- Shakes head to prove a point
- Crosses arms
- Stares and glares
- Points finger at you
The aggressive communicator may be in the top job for a good amount of time. However, sooner or later like most dictators they fall down the slippery slope of disaffection and land on their butts in the dirt.
The end result of this type of big shot behavior fosters resistance. At first it is covert, however when enough people text each other this can move into open rebellion. Initially people will comply with unspoken resentment and it looks like everything is under control. Yet, being degraded, ignored and made to feel inadequate will cause individuals to find ways to strike back.
Eventually there is disengagement, work sabotage, absenteeism, and lawsuits.
If you know, or are an aggressive communicator, your days are numbered. The way OUT is to observe, understand and transform this style to become a creative collaborator, community builder and peacemaker.
Yes, it takes some real strength training to change how you speak, what you say and especially what you want as an outcome of your communication. It's worth the work for long term gain.
If reading this gives you an internal gut kick, at least you are at stage one of observation. Then you need to go back to understand who trained you in this type of behavior so you can begin the transformation process.
If this is not you, pass this along to someone you know who has aggressive communicator written on their forehead.
Next time I will discuss the passive communicator.