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Oh, people! People, with our endless interpretations of words based on half-truths and one-sided relationships during youth make for uninspiring and closed-minded individuals. But the worst of it all, not even being aware. But before I even go any further, a few definitions…
- Assertiveness – the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.
- Confidence – a state of being certain either that a hypothesis is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective.
- Aggressiveness – the quality of being forceful and sometimes overly assertive in the pursuit of one’s aims and interests.
- Determination – a positive emotional feeling that involves persevering towards a difficult goal in spite of obstacles.
Remember what your parents told you whenever you said you “hated” something? They most likely said for you to “watch your words.” At least, my mother did. “Hate” is such a powerful word, but so are the rest of the words we use. They exist for a reason and that is to help us communicate with each other. Something we cannot readily do if we don’t hold the same meaning to a particular word. That’s why I love dictionaries and the fact that we can google almost anything to learn more about a particular word, topic, item, lifestyle, etc.
So, back to the word of assertiveness. Many individuals in leadership confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. Being assertive has nothing to do with being aggressive at all. While both are qualities that people have, they do not necessarily go together. For me, I see a majority of men in leadership whose assertiveness is tied slightly with aggressiveness. And, sometimes, not so slightly. They are overly stern and demanding in terms of their posture and mannerisms. I find the opposite is true with a majority of females I work with. For us, being assertive is far from aggressive. For me, assertiveness is tied to determination and confidence. So how do we make male leadership learn the different appearances of assertiveness? Well, I haven’t figured it out yet. But if you know, please be sure to tell me.