April, 2017

How to Tell If You’re Working With Regina George

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How To Tell If You’re Working With Regina George

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by a co-worker. We all know the Regina George of the office - they’re direct, they’re commanding, and they almost always get their way. But are they being aggressive, or assertive?

Forbes researched ways in which assertive leaders were successful; they found, “that leaders who are perceived as being more assertive are also perceived as being more honest and having higher integrity than those who are not.” However, what are the key differences between assertive employees and aggressive co-workers?

Understanding the Difference:

More often than not, the intention behind a person’s action is the difference between assertiveness and aggression. If a person is clearly not intending to hurt the feelings of others, typically that person is merely being assertive; if the clear intent of an individual is for their victim to feel negative emotions, then that person is showing aggressive tendencies to get their way.

For example, being a pusher and pushing people to do their best? Assertive behavior. Telling someone to go and shave their back? Aggressive behavior. To make things a little easier for you, here are some traits to look for in co-workers when determining if they are exhibiting aggressive or assertive tendencies:

Assertive Traits:Aggressive Traits:

Don’t be mistaken, speaking your mind and expressing your opinion doesn’t mean that you are an aggressive person. Although, there is a way to be straight to the point without being flat-out rude to other individuals. So what’s the major distinction between being assertive versus being aggressive?

Improving Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. Knowing what your emotions are, and knowing how to read the emotions of others around you, are key factors in creating an assertive versus aggressive aesthetic. If you are aware of others’ emotions and react accordingly in order to express your needs, then you are showing assertive traits. If you cannot read emotions, or simply choose to ignore the emotions of those around you, you may be exhibiting aggressive tendencies.

Keeping your feelings from determining your actions is also another sign of emotional intelligence. On the other hand, knowing how to communicate your emotions in a positive, constructive way is another sign of emotional intelligence (because, let’s be honest, not everyone is going to think that you punching them in the face is awesome). If you hold your feelings in until you, say, tackle Regina in the middle of the cafeteria — you are not exhibiting emotionally intelligent behavior. Having employees understand how their actions affect reactions of others is the key to defining that line between aggression and assertion.

How to Prevent Aggression in the Workplace:

In all seriousness, aggression in the workplace is something that should never be encouraged, but it’s also something that shouldn’t be ignored. HR managers need to be assertive and proactive in encouraging all employees to be open with one another, while at the same time being respectful to everyone. The first step in preventing aggression in your workplace starts with you, and understanding the difference can help you to A) work in harmony with co-workers and B) create a pleasant work environment for everyone. Encouraging open communication lines throughout your workplace will help to deter bullying of employees, and improve the overall morale of your co-workers. And I think we can all agree, that would be so fetch.

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