Have you always thought that leaders are aggressive because they need to stand up for their own among the others in the business world? Well, this is not exactly true because aggressiveness cannot be considered as a quality that always works, but assertiveness certainly is.
Assertive leaders and success often go hand in hand because of this quality, which allows you to achieve what you want in a positive and clam way without resorting to aggressive tactics and confrontational style. When do we draw the line between assertiveness and aggressiveness? Let’s compare a choleric college basketball coach and a business leader. Who do you think is the best fit to be assertive? The business leader is the obvious choice.
Yes, we hear what you are saying. In the business, only people who use aggressive techniques survive because of the fierce competition and variety of tactics used by opponents. Well, the world has changed, people. Business has changed as well, with assertiveness now being the new aggressiveness. Who among the recent CEOs can be considered as assertive leaders? Steve Jobs and Jack Welch are among them. Good start, right?
Now that we’ve established the importance of assertiveness for business and identified the successful people who used it to achieve their goals, let’s move on to the lessons. To generate a list of the business lessons from assertive leaders like Jack Welch and Steve Jobs, we looked at them and identified the skills that make the assertiveness one of the most important leadership qualities.
Lesson 1: Feedback Must be Delivered in an Appropriate Way
Our research into assertive leaders revealed that the feedback on actions of other people should be provided in a helpful way because it helps to avoid a number of bad things. For example, the feedback given in a negative way to show the shortcomings of the decisions made by others can discourage, anger, or even de-motivate the person to continue working with you.
As a result, you can lose a member of your team because of the aggressive remarks that are not that necessary if we take a second look. People are always learning, and there is no point in showing the shortcomings of their solutions this way. Instead, you should take an assertive approach and deliver the feedback in a sensitive way that encourages employees to continue improving and developing better solutions. Watch this video of Jack Welch’s lecture at Stanford to learn more.
Lesson 2: Maintain Good Relationships
The only people who dislike truly assertive leaders are haters because of one simple reason: an assertive leader is able to recognize the value of developing and maintaining the relationships with other people because he or she understands its importance to the business. For any leadership style, relationships with other people are critical to the success; therefore, they should be maintained properly.
Frequent communication, positive feedback, simple conversations in the elevator and many other techniques can be used to achieve this goal. You know why Barack Obama, another great example of an assertive leader, always stays calm? Because he knows that regardless of the circumstances, he can discuss the issue with his team and develop a great solution in a matter of minutes. He is perhaps one of the best examples of leaders who try to be friendly to everyone who deserves it.
Lesson 3: Communicate and Connect
This lesson teaches how to connect with everyone and make yourself accessible at all times. Effective communication skills, whether it’s verbal communication or written correspondence, are an important aspect of any leader’s portfolio.
Imagine the following situation: a leader known for his aggressive style comes to the organization to serve as a CEO, and this news is met with a fair amount of fear among people at various levels of the company. When the leader takes the position, he smashes everyone in his path and many people get fired because their mindset was different. What do you think of this situation? Was firing employees because they think differently the right thing to do? We don’t think so, and our opinion is shared by assertive leaders because their style is to connect with everyone in the organization to get a big picture and understand the needs of people.
Moreover, these leaders also make themselves accessible for everyone who needs them. Obama is the perfect example here as well because he is known to communicate well with everyone and make himself available for people. Did you know that you can message him directly to tell him about how you feel about something important? Here are the instructions, just in case.
Lesson 4: Collaboration should not be disregarded
Here is a lesson from assertive leaders that is often ignored. Apparently, some leaders like to emphasize their role in achieving the goals and objectives and refuse collaboration with others. These leaders have crossed the line to being ignorant and eventually fail because such an approach is doomed to fail in the end.
The power of collaboration is strong and disregarding it is a huge mistake. A truly assertive leader, on the other hand, knows that he or she is there to lead, which means that something can be done by the followers. Leadership is performed by leveraging the talents of others for the benefit of the company, even if it means allowing autonomy. Given that people love doing what they like, assertive leadership is great because everyone can take an active role and make a decent contribution.
We now know the line between being aggressive and assertive and the outcomes associated with taking each road. The lessons showed that an assertive style of leadership actually has a lot of benefits for the followers, such as trustworthy communication with the leader, trust, autonomy, sensitive feedback and good relationships.
In addition, many personal benefits come from following these lessons, such as increased self-confidence and self-esteem, and staying true to your values and opinions. Although some people say that being assertive means crossing the line to being obnoxious and pushy, we can refute this opinion by referring to these lessons and examples of prominent world leaders who choose an assertive style.
By doing the homework and learning all these lessons, you can turn assertiveness into an excellent leadership style that brings many benefits for you and your organization. Just work toward the win-win solution, balance these behaviors and do not forget to avoid the aggressiveness that may result in many negative outcomes.
Scott Ragin is a digital marketing specialist working in multi-channel marketing and connecting social media to business initiative at A-writer.