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Chapter 15. Surviving Aggression > Aggression Versus Assertiveness

Aggression Versus Assertiveness

Aggression and assertiveness are often confused. Their impact on people and on organizations is very different. Assertiveness entails making clear statements of what you want. You remain within the realm of assertiveness when you say why it is appropriate for you to obtain what you want and what your next steps will be if the person refuses. For example, stating that you will go to someone’s superior to have your request reviewed at a higher level, if they fail to agree, is being assertive.

Aggression involves destructive behavior. Once you step away from stating the logical reasons that make your recommendation preferable, and you begin attacking the person who disagrees with you, you have crossed the line into aggression. Taking steps to undermine another person because you are upset that he does not support you is aggressive. Phrasing comments with the intent to incite people against him and to permanently damage his reputation is highly aggressive.


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