Knowing the Difference Between Being Assertive and Overbearing

For management, knowing how to be assertive is an indispensable skill.

Being able to harness your assertiveness will allow you to motivate and challenge employees – just don’t become controlling. Additionally, those under your watch will respect you as a leader with perspective, but also understand that you’re not overbearing. The purpose, here, is to develop relationships with your employees and not damage them.

Research conducted at Columbia University by Daniel Ames and Frank Flynn shows that in questioning 213 MBA hopefuls on their previous bosses, there was a direct correlation between bosses that were viewed as moderately assertive and bosses that were deemed effective overall. Those that were deemed to be ineffective overall displayed lapses in assertiveness – that is to say they were either too assertive or not assertive enough.

Walking the assertiveness tightrope is an essential function for all bosses. Mastering that dance, however, is vital to being a successful boss.

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