Assertive communication means you have the right to stand up for yourself while still respecting the rights of others. Aggressive behavior is when you believe you have rights but no one else does. Passive behavior is the opposite. You believe you have no rights but others do.
Assertive behavior is finding the balance between the extremes. Obtaining that balance isn’t always easy especially with aggressive or abusive co-workers. Here are a few tips to help when a colleague slips into aggressive communication.
1. Recognize that your co-worker may be suffering from stress that isn’t visible to you. Problems in personal relationships, money woes, challenges with children, health issues or even the morning’s miserable traffic are examples of stressful events that can trigger abusive behavior.
2. Do nothing. Let your colleague vent as long as you are not in physical danger. If you sense an altercation is about to escalate remove yourself from situation–immediately. If you feel the need to say something try, “Bill, this is getting out of hand. I’m leaving now. I’ll check back in a short time and we can continue once we cool down. Avoid saying, “calm down.” Only a 911 operator should use that phrase.
3. Remember that the first wave of anger is probably not the last. Use the pause to clarify what you heard and understood. Calmly state, “If I understood you correctly…” Your co-worker’s rage is usually associated Read more