Among my colleagues and I there are often debates about aggression, assertiveness, persistence, kindness and what “crosses the line.” These qualities also are up for debate in the workplace and in “real life.” I’ve often argued that my assertiveness and persistence are just as good as aggression. Many in my field will disagree. They will say you have to be “bulldog” aggressive in order to get the story. I still don’t agree, though from time to time I’ve crossed over to aggressive. Usually I’ve ended up despising myself.
Perhaps more than my initial behavior, I struggle more with reactions. How do you react when someone is aggressive? Passive aggressive? When someone overreacts? Is unprofessional? I don’t supervise anyone at my current job, so I don’t really have authority to tell anyone to cool it or calm down. However, sometimes I wonder if it is appropriate. What if someone says something cutting directly to me? What if it is a superior? A co worker? Is the answer different depending on who it is? I also wonder what to do with passive aggressiveness.
I have always believed that treating people respectfully is the way to go. To be kind as much as possible. I have a fair sense of people, but I also know that I can’t “fix” everything. I’m trying not to tiptoe around too much in my personal life. I don’t at all in my professional life.
I guess I struggle with the balance of it all. How do you balance conflicting personalities? Does it matter who the other person is?