Managers are expected to have a strong hand in the decision-making process and management of their team. You should know that there is a fine line between being assertive and then crossing the line into aggression. We’ve told you how you can turn around your career if you are the office doormat—now it’s time for the flipside of that coin. So, if you’re not the doormat, are you stepping all over your team? Hopefully you’re not as dogmatic as “House of Cards” character Frank Underwood, but it’s easy to see when taking a strong approach can be good and bad. Strong is a word associated with almost everything you have your hands on, because without an iron will, your team, your projects, and everything around you could come crashing down like a house of cards—no pun intended. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using a strong leadership style.
ASSERTION IS GOOD USE OF STRENGTHStrong leaders are assertive in their actions, goals and intentions—hopefully this sounds like you. You know how to stand up for yourself and are driven to complete your plans. This positive version of the strong leadership style is beneficial because it establishes you as a leader that will move heaven and earth to get things done for your team. Within this style, you must also maintain a cooler head. An assertive leadership style can help you keep poise when under pressure and seek the right solution that benefits the team and actively engages them to contribute their ideas. As an assertive manager, you can see the organization function through an objective lens with facts rather than acting impulsively.
GOING TOO FAR IS AGGRESSIVEBeing too strong in your leadership approach can back fire in a few ways. First, it hurts your image to your team—you become their dictator. Second, exerting your will too forcefully can make your team feel invalidated and more like minions of your bidding. Third, as an aggressive manager, you might find people put off and be perceived as an unapproachable person. These are symptoms of greater internal issues. People overcompensate with power to cover for personal insecurities. Their actions usually manifest into defensive and negative behavior. Such behavior can trickle down and poison your organization. You want to be a leader by nature with manager by title, but you have to have it within you to be that leader-type of manager.
THE TOUGH QUESTIONSYou have to walk the fine line between assertiveness and aggression. Sometimes the difference is blurred depending on your personality. Here is a quick list of questions to ask you:
- What is my confidence level?
- How do I respond to issues?
- How are people reacting to me?
- Will this approach of assertion or aggression bring the result I want?