When Drive and Assertion Can Get You Into Trouble

From the An Influential Project Manager Blog
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Today, more than ever, a project manager needs to be an influencer. The purpose of this blog is to stimulate your journey towards greater influence. With influence, you can overcome the roadblocks thrown in your way, overcome opposition, align stakeholders and, enjoy your role even more. However, since I know you are busy, the posts here will be short (about a minute), thought provoking and also drive you towards action. Feel free to connect with me, ask me questions, and share what's good here.

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Some project managers are very assertive. They are in a hurry, focused on the deliverable, and nothing is going to stand in their way. They have a reputation to maintain.

But, what does this mean? How do you quantify very? More to the point, how do those you work with judge your level of drive and assertion?

You need to know, or at least begin to get a sense of what level to apply, in case you go too far (and be accused of bullying) or become too soft (and be accused of not delivering).

Here are some behavioural that some regard to be bullying:

  • Interrupting and talking over other people.
  • Demanding things at short notice.
  • Not listening to others’ ideas and suggestions.
  • Publicly favouring or disfavouring individuals.
  • Being intolerant of fools.
  • Reacting aggressively when challenged.
  • Speaking before thinking and upsetting people.
  • Allowing others to take unfair responsibility for problems.
  • Cancelling meetings at short notice.
  • Telling people what to do and how to do it.

(extract from Are You a Bully?)

Any one of these, in isolation, it probably okay. Not ideal, but okay. When you start adding more to the mix, you are likely to be coming across as too pushy, demanding and perhaps a bit of a bully.

Now, I know you have a job to do, and there are far too many people avoiding a good day’s work, but take this seriously, before it becomes a problem for you.

How do you judge the appropriate level of assertion to apply?

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Posted on: August 30, 2019 07:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (9)

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Very interesting, thanks for sharing

Asking for feedback from the team is important. Everyone brings some level of expertise to the mix, that is why they are there. Capitalize on that, it will only benefit the project in the end. Good reminder, thank you for posting.

These are good reminders for sure!

food for thought

Good Points Collin - These happen on a daily basis and there should be a constant reminder of how much detrimental they can be to the person himself and the working environment,

Insightful. There is very thin line between assertiveness and bullying and these gap can can be widened by applying empathy suitably in situations. Thank you Colin for sharing great article.

Thin line indeed Alok. Many perspectives. There is a thin line dividing assertiveness and aggressiveness. How that is perceived may be as demanding or bullying - which depends on the recipients disposition, background, experience, etc. So exactly the same behaviour can have different effects on different people. And even things like the timing/environment can also lead to a different effect on the same people!! That's what makes this very tricky indeed - or is that fascinating??

Fantastic reminder thank you for sharing.

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