I find it very interesting that when a woman takes charge and assumes control or responsibility in a situation, many people will refer to her as “bossy”. If a man responds in exactly the same manner, to the same situation, the same people will refer to him as a “strong leader”. These kinds of perceptions of the same behaviour between genders create a lot of conflict and tension.
However, there is a golden mid-way. If we could tune in with the power of acceptable assertive behaviour, we could operate in the area where we are rewarded for “doing great”, instead of being punished for too strong or too weak assertive behaviour. “Doing great” in this context means that we can rise above the problem and we don’t allow the situation and other people’s behaviour to affect our mood at the time. The most powerful response is to respond from a place of love, grace and mercy with compassion.
Google defines assertive behaviour as having or showing a confident and forceful personality. I disagree with the forceful personality. There is no power in being forceful. The opposite is true. If we could be meek, we will exert strength, but under control. You can only do that if you surrender your right to be right and to find the right common win-win outcome for all parties concerned. That means you surrender to an outcome that will suit all the people in the situation. Powerful leaders don’t force themselves or their ideas on others.
When I submit to just do what I need to do, I have the power to do anything and I find other people to follow me naturally, without any force. When I submit to the outcome I want to achieve I lose the power to lead people into any solution.
When we exert aggressive or even passive-aggressive behaviour, people naturally withdraw, and they start to protect and defend themselves. You would place yourself in a very weak position when people turn on you for displaying any form of aggressive behaviour. Although men are more likely to be rewarded for being assertive than women would be, assertive behaviour is rewarded because you get things done by treating people with fairness and respect.
The power lies in your ability to be assertive without forcing others to submit to your will, perspective and goals. It has nothing to do with gender. It has everything to do with leading and doing “great things” with and for other people with compassion.
What kind of a leader or partner are you? I would love to help you develop the emotional intelligence skills that will help make you a powerful leader and partner.
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