KS Rao
Soft Skills Training
Human Resource Management
Center Head
Recruitment Process Management, Team Management
Jan Bonner
Office Manager

Assertive , Nonassertive and Aggressive Behavior

Many people are concerned that if they assert themselves others will think of their behavior as aggressive. But there is a difference between being assertive and aggressive.

Assertive people state their opinions, while still being respectful of others. Aggressive people attack or ignore others' opinions in favor of their own. Passive people don't state their opinions at all.

Differences Between Passive, Aggressive, and Assertive Behavior. Passive Behavior (The Passive Person) -- Aggressive Behavior (The Aggressive Person) -- Assertive Behavior (The Assertive Person).

Passive Behavior: Is afraid to speak up

Aggressive Behavior: Interrupts and 'talks over' others

Assertive Behavior: Speaks openly

Passive Behavior: Speaks softly

Aggressive Behavior: Speaks loudly

Assertive Behavior: Uses a conversational tone

Passive Behavior: Avoids looking at people

Aggressive Behavior: Glares and stares at others

Assertive Behavior: Makes good eye contact

Passive Behavior: Shows little or no expression

Aggressive Behavior: Intimidates others with expressions

Assertive Behavior: Shows expressions that match the message

Passive Behavior: Slouches and withdraws

Aggressive Behavior: Stands rigidly, crosses arms, invades others' personal space

Assertive Behavior: Relaxes and adopts an open posture and expressions

Passive Behavior: Isolates self from groups

Aggressive Behavior: Controls groups

Assertive Behavior: Participates in groups

Passive Behavior: Agrees with others, despite feelings

Aggressive Behavior: Only considers own feelings, and/or demands of others

Assertive Behavior: Speaks to the point

Passive Behavior: Values self less than others

Aggressive Behavior: Values self more than others

Assertive Behavior: Values self equal to others

Passive Behavior: Hurts self to avoid hurting others

Aggressive Behavior: Hurts others to avoid being hurt

Assertive Behavior: Tries to hurt no one (including self)

Passive Behavior: Does not reach goals and may not know goals

Aggressive Behavior: Reaches goals but hurts others in the process

Assertive Behavior: Usually reaches goals without alienating others

Passive Behavior: You're okay, I'm not

Aggressive Behavior: I'm okay, you're not

Assertive Behavior: I'm okay, you're okay


28th August 2006 From India, Delhi
Nice post. My question to all is this. Let's debate when your competitior is aggressive, do you have to assertive or aggerssive. Compettior could be a person, product, institution, Company and so on. Can we make value judgement on aggressive, assertive behavior? or is it based on context or need? According to me niether is good or bad.
Cite Hr friends, respond.
31st August 2006 From India, Mangaluru
hey it was a very good topic....
but how toadapt tosituation when the other person is agressive or passive ....
would be very helpfulformany if wecan have some inputs regarding this ..very good forinterviewpoint ofview to all....
thanks and regards
31st August 2006 From India, Hyderabad
Hi Thanks for the posts. The list comparing the three communication styles helps me look at my own behavior and how I might come across to others.
Some people find it helpful to ask themselves two questions when in contact with aggressive or passive behavior: "What might they be feeling, what might they be needing?" Having these questions in mind helps towards understanding than being turned off to people exhibiting aggressiveness or passivity.
19th February 2007
Hello Kusum,
There is a slight confusion. what you are referring is 'aggressive behaviour of the competitor'. But the discussion is question is communication, and not behaviour.
you need to be as aggressive as your competitor in terms of behaviour in sales. Dominate and run faster. But while it comes to communicate to your customer, or outside world or your company, it is always better to be assertive than to be aggressive.
Because, people don't like to be dominated; and people who are aggressive can not be people-friendly. They are not fit for team work; can not make friends and lot more other disadvantages. OK. Regards,
11th March 2010 From India, Hyderabad
I completely agree with KS Rao, that being aggressive is not a good trait to be instiled in one's overall persona.
Being an HR, people' person doesnot deserve at all to be aggressive but should be amicable and assertive in conviction should always be present in performing actions or dealing with critical circumstances, this is what my belief is and I totally adhere to that as well.
If one wishes to be loved by everyone then one has to inculcates those attributes that makes him/her prominent from the rest and being aggressive or rude is not a way to go for it, but from everywhere only reluctance will be received.
Yes sometimes the situation becomes too cumbersome that lets us become aggressive besides being soo conducive or passive by nature.
So it all depends on rthe kind of situation also that stimulates one to behave and to explicitly show his/her behavior accordingly, this is what my perspective is..even I firmly follow it too...
11th March 2010 From India, Delhi
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