Research shows that assertive behavior improves individual and organizational performance. The ability to influence others is critical to anyone in a leadership or sales role, and enormously useful to just about everybody else. But people aren’t necessarily born with a personality style which is assertive – it’s largely an acquired skill. And that’s good news for trainers.
People are affected by how you act. Be aware of your impact on others. Do your best to have them see you in a positive light. Join Peggy Greenberg for a free webcast that will examine how understanding influence style can set the stage for skill development.
This webinar is based upon research from Interpersonal Influence Inventory, a training program that gives both newly emerging and experienced leaders and managers the tools and techniques for developing and refining their skills. This learning resource will help your organization retain employees and clients, make better decisions, and improve performance.
Participants Will Learn:
Who Should Attend:
Sarah: Hi everybody, and welcome to today’s webinar, How Do You Come
Across to Others, hosted by HRDQ-U, and presented by Peggy
Greenberg. My name is Sarah and I will moderate today’s webinar. The
webinar will last about an hour. If you have any questions, go ahead,
you can type them into your questions box in the control panel for
GoToWebinar and then we’ll either answer those questions as they
come in, we’ll answer them live at the end of the session if we have
some time. Otherwise, we will put all unanswered questions up on our
blog after the session so you can take a look at it there. Our presenter
today is Peggy Greenberg. She’s going to dive in, give us a dynamic
session today right away. Thank you so much Peggy for joining us.
Peggy Greenberg: Great. Thank you Sarah. I’m really looking forward to spending this hour
with all of you discussing how we come across to others. This is a
subject that’s near and dear to my heart. The question really is, do you
know how you come across to others? We don’t get a second chance to
make a first impression. We’ve all heard that before, and every
interaction that we have influences a person in one way or another. In
this world of instant soundbites, people jump to conclusions quickly
about you, and then unfortunately, they often don’t change their minds.
Peggy Greenberg: Getting to the bottom of how you come across to people is the key to
being assertive, influential and confident both at work and at home. I
think it’s really the cornerstone to your success. It’s about how you
relate to people, how people receive you, and how you get along with
others. Sometimes the way people perceive you might be different than
the way you perceive yourself. In fact, sometimes your perceptions are
radically different than what the other person believes or perceives
Peggy Greenberg: A good example of this is, I teach a two day live facilitation skills course.
Ever so often during the two day time period that we’re together, I’d
take a one-on-one with the participants to see, how’s it going for you
How? How are you applying the information? I had one participant we
recently who told me she was uncomfortable. I said, “Well, what’s going
on?” She said, “You intimidate me,” and this really opened my eyes. My
perception was that I was a very open and caring and understanding
moderator, very positive, giving lots of positive feedback, but she said I
Peggy Greenberg: Maybe that was because I was very organized and I have a lot of
experience that I was sharing, and I try to get to the bottom line when
people are asking a question. I try to figure out exactly what they’re
asking. So, even though I didn’t mean to intimidate her, that’s the way
she perceived me. So, believing you’re one way while other people
perceive you another way can really be detrimental to relationships.
Peggy Greenberg: Now you have to know, or you have to get to know what people think of
you. And, remember that most if not all of our actions are designed to
influence people in one way or another. If you want to do a reality check
on how you influence people, try one of these suggestions. I think
they’re really great ones. The first thing is to listen. Listen to what
people say about you, particularly when they introduce you. What
words do they use? Do they use words like understanding,
compassionate, analytical, energetic, go-getter, the nicest person I
know, passionate about her work, always gets what they want, kind,
intelligent, great listener? Whatever the words are, listen to what
people say about you when they introduce you. That’ll give you an idea
of how you’re perceived by other people.
Peggy Greenberg: Another way to find out how you’re perceived by other people is to ask
them. Get a variety of feedback from people you trust and have
relationships with. Your family, your friends, your boss, your coworkers,
your colleagues, your manager. If you have a coach, ask your coach. Ask
them this question, “When you think of me, what adjectives come to
mind?” And, assess your influence style. There are some great tools
available to do that and today, we’re going to be talking about one of
those tools to see what style you have when you influence others.
Peggy Greenberg: Here’s where we’re headed in the hour that we have together this
afternoon. This is our roadmap for today’s session. We’re going to start
off talking about why influence is an important skill in today’s world.
Then we’re going to define influence style, and particularly learn about
the four common influence styles. We’re going to take a real deep dive
into each of those four styles and recognize the indicators of each of
those styles, and discuss why assertive behavior is the one that yields
the most positive results. We’re also going to talk about how some
styles can hamper our interpersonal communication.
Peggy Greenberg: And as Sarah said, hopefully there’ll be some time at the end for us to
have some questions and answers at the end of today’s session. But, I
want to start out by telling you a little bit about me so you know, who is
this person and why is she talking to us about influence? First of all, a
little bit about my background. I worked as the Director of Training for a
variety of healthcare organizations in Boston, Baltimore, and
Washington, DC. I was also most recently the Director of the Office of
Education and Training for the United States Senate.
Peggy Greenberg: When I left the Senate, I started my own training and consulting
business. I serve as an executive coach and a consultant. I conduct
training seminars for a variety of organizations, and I’m also an online
moderator for business management and communication topics. I think
I can safely say that my entire career has been dependent upon my
ability to influence others. I do believe it is a core competency for
everyone and I assume that since you’re making time out of your what
have to be very busy schedules at this time of year to participate in
today’s session, you do too.
Peggy Greenberg: I’d like to learn a little bit about you so that I can potentially tailor some
of my remarks specifically to you as we go on. We’re going to start off
with a quick poll. What I’d like to know is, what is your primary role in
your organization? Are you a team member, a specialist or a subject
matter expert? Are you a supervisor? Are you a project team or unit
manager? Are you in middle management? Or, are you a member of
upper management or an executive team? Now, I know not all jobs are
here, so just find the one that’s closest to your job. I’m going to give you
a minute. If you can answer that poll, make sure you hit submit.
Peggy Greenberg: Okay, it looks like over half of you are team members, specialists or
subject experts, great. Then we have some folks that are in
management. We have some supervisors, some middle managers, and
some upper management. That’s about another 30%. Then we have
some project teams and some unit managers. Well, thank you all for
that information. Again, it’s really helpful for me to know that. I have
another question for you as we; another poll for you. The poll this time
is, I believe influence is … Is it innate, or is it learned? What do you
think? Is it innate, or is it learned? Make sure you hit submit once you
answer that poll question.
Peggy Greenberg: All right, it looks like you all are right on the money here with 70% of
you saying that you believe influence is learned and you are absolutely
right. Influence is a skill that can be learned. If you look at influence and
you have … If you look at influence, certainly in influence there are
some personality characteristics. However, and those personality
characteristics might help you in the beginning but for the most part,
the skills that we have in regard to influence and the ones that we’re
going to be talking about are things that can be learned.
Peggy Greenberg: You might ask, “Why bother,” and, “Why is this important? It’s already
sounding like maybe this is a little more energy than I’m willing to put
out.” First of all, businesses and organizations have changed over the
years, I certainly know. I’ve been around the block many, many times,
and I’ve certainly seen incredible changes in organizations over the
years. Most recently, influence style has become more important,
increasingly more important because organizations have become flatter,
they’ve become less hierarchical and more diverse, and focus has
shifted from competition to collaboration.
Peggy Greenberg: The skills needed to function effectively have shifted from skills of
command and control, to skills of influence. According to the research
by Cushman and Cahn, the view of people as communicators has also
shifted. Historically, people were seen as passive responders when it
comes to communication. They were just talked to, or talked at in
organizations. Now, they’re more active. Their voices need to be heard,
there needs to be more collaboration, and there certainly is much more
choice in conveying a message than there was historically.
Peggy Greenberg: In this global atmosphere, negotiation and understanding are crucial
skills at all levels and good negotiation skills involve influence. You
cannot negotiate with someone, you cannot come out of a negotiation
that you feel was successful if you didn’t use influence at all. As Ronald
Arnett, who’s an esteemed expert in communication and dialogue said,
he said that we have to walk, “The human must walk with his partner in
dialogue on a narrow ridge between two extremes.” I ask you just to
picture this with me, if you will.
Peggy Greenberg: The two extremes of this narrow ridge are the extreme of refusing to
attempt to understand the other’s perspective of a situation. Then the
other end of that narrow ridge, the other extreme is forsaking your own
ground and blindly following the other’s opinion. Again, it’s a very
narrow ridge between those extremes, and obviously, it’s so crucial to
our relationship ships. It’s so important that we learn how to navigate
that because in any dialogue that human beings …
Peggy Greenberg: It’s important in any dialogue that as human beings, we voice our views,
while attempting to simultaneously understand other people’s views.
This is really at the core of what effective influencers do in order to have
an impact. They voice their views, while attempting to simultaneously
understand other’s views. Now, I say that as though it’s just a simple,
easy thing that happens all the time and can be done without any
thought or any consideration. However, it really does require a lot of
thought and a lot of consideration, and that’s what we’re going to be
talking about here in a few minutes.
Peggy Greenberg: I want to ask you another question. I’m going to ask you to share this via
chat. My question is, how do you see yourself using influence skills? I
know that many of you are coming from the realm of being a team
member, and then a sizable percentage of you, a third of you are so are
coming from management ranks. So, how do you see yourself using
influencing skills? Go ahead and type that in for me and I’ll see what …
Everybody hopefully has an answer to that. You chose to attend today’s
webinar, so how do you see yourself using influencing skills? How do
you see yourself using influencing skills?
Sarah: Can you see them coming in Peggy?
Peggy Greenberg: I can’t, I can’t.
Sarah: Not a problem, it happens. Let me summarize. We have a lot of
participation today. I’m seeing a lot of improved collaboration and
communication. A couple of people have said, just to get my job done,
as simple as that. Emotional appeal, building trust, I’m seeing
motivating, motivating my team or motivating some even say
colleagues, or my boss. That’s definitely a theme. And, productivity I
would say, is just getting things in the right direction. Now I’m starting to
get even some coaching.
Peggy Greenberg: Okay, all right, definitely coaching. All right, great. Thank you Sarah.
Thank you for reading those out for me and thanks to all of you giving
that some thought, because there are lots of different ways that we can
use influence. There are lots of different ways that we can use influence
skills and again, this is one of those things where it’s not limited to use
at work. It’s very effective use of applying this to all of our relationships.
Not only our work relationships, but our relationships again, with our
friends, with our family, with our kids. It’s an important aspect of all
parts of our life, and something that I hope you will consider utilizing in
different places, not just work.
Peggy Greenberg: Influencing is not about forcing others to accept your point of view. It’s
not about continuously nagging people until they agree with you. That’s
nagging, that’s not influencing. It’s not about bargaining or giving into
someone else’s view, even when you believe they’re wrong. It’s not
about giving advice necessarily, although sometimes when we do give
advice, I think we are trying to influence someone to take a certain path
or to approach a problem in a certain way. It’s not about having the last
word and it’s not about having power over people.
Peggy Greenberg: It’s influence, it’s something different than all those other things I’ve just
described. Influencing is a skill that we know for a fact can be used to
your advantage when it is used correctly. Let’s talk a little bit about how
you influence. Oops, let me go back one. Because, how you influence
helps you and it helps the people that you work with, and helps your
organization. And, the influence style that a person uses affects your
feelings, and thoughts, and also other people’s thoughts and feelings
towards you, which obviously I think plays into helping the total
functioning of your organization.
Peggy Greenberg: A person who is assertive is more likely to achieve goals and get their
voice heard than a person who’s not being assertive. The assertive
person will also be able to express himself or herself honestly, openly
and directly. If a person never expresses their views, as in passive
behaviors, there are a lot less likely to achieve their own goals. They’re
less likely to have their voice heard. Sometimes, it’s very unfortunate,
but sometimes those passive people are the ones who have the best
ideas, but they just don’t feel confident in talking about them, or in
letting other people know what their ideas are.
Peggy Greenberg: Similarly, people who are aggressive tend to alienate other people, so
that’s not good. Assertive behavior usually leads to better feelings in
both the individual and others. Also, I think when we’re assertive, when
we exercise an assertive influence style, feelings of tension are reduced.
If you’re working in a team and a person is assertive, and knows that
they can trust you, tensions can be reduced and trust between people
on a team can be developed.
Peggy Greenberg: As you behave assertively, the open communication that will always
occur enhances organizational feedback, it enhances information flow,
because assertive behavior is aimed at maximizing the rights of all
parties. It’s very respectful. It’s a win-win situation. I hear what you have
to say, and you hear what I have to say. So, influence works or impacts
in a number of different ways.
Peggy Greenberg: Let’s talk a little bit before I share with you the various influence styles.
Let’s talk a little bit about the factors that shape our influence style,
because there are a number of factors that shape our influence style.
You’re going to see here that there are two different sides of this
diagram. One are the individual factors and the other side are the
situational factors that impact, or shape our influence style. I’m going to
go over each one of these to show you how they’re going to impact your
influence style, because we do learn things at an early age.
Peggy Greenberg: If you look at your past experience for example, you have learned what
behaviors lead to positive or negative results. This learning that occurs
at this early age is derived from a number of different sources. The first
source is the type of learning that occurs when an individual associates
their behavior, their feelings with the behavior without really thinking
about it. We learn through exhibiting a certain behavior. For example,
we exhibit aggression, and then we feel tense about it. Eventually, we’re
going to feel that tension before and it will stop us from being
aggressive. So, our feelings impact the style that we’re going to use. This
is what is known as associated learning.
Peggy Greenberg: The second thing is learning by reinforcement. All behaviors yield a
consequence. For example, you see this a lot with children in the
grocery stores. They have perhaps a very aggressive style of behavior,
and that aggression gets those kids what they want. So, what do they
learn? What they’re saying to themselves is, “Okay, if I’m aggressive, if I
throw a temper tantrum, or shout, or whatever, I’ll get what I want.” Or,
some other kid has to be more assertive to get what they want, and
other people have learned that being passive will get them what they
want. So, something is learned through consequences.
Peggy Greenberg: The third thing is through modeling. This requires that the individual will
look at people in their own environment. People like their parents, their
teachers, their coworkers, and they learn what’s acceptable, and not
acceptable in how they are treated. That’s how they will learn, so the
third that we learn is through modeling.
Peggy Greenberg: The next individual factor our attitudes and beliefs. When we look at
attitudes and beliefs, we have to look at beliefs from our culture, it’s
very important. Attitudes and beliefs about our fears, if for example, if
maybe we fear rejection, or it could be guilt, another attitude or belief
that will impact and effect our influence style. We have to make sure
that we understand that.
Peggy Greenberg: Then the last one is self confidence on the individual factor. If a person
is willing to stand up for his or her rights, they’ll have a lot of self-worth
and they’ll feel very comfortable. But, other people don’t feel like that.
It depends on our inner self-confidence. That is another individual factor
that will influence our influence style.
Peggy Greenberg: The other contributing factors have to do with how we interact with our
environment. This is a situational factor, and the first one is rewards in
your environment. Your work environment is an environment that will
tell you which behaviors you get punished for, and which behaviors you
get praised for it. These can come in the form of verbal praise, or
acceptance, or increased pay, or maybe a better office space.
Peggy Greenberg: When you look at assertive behaviors in the workplace, sometimes
assertive behaviors are not rewarded. It’s better to be passive in
organizations. I hear this in organizations that I consult with, some of
the employees will say, “You know what, I just show up and do what I
have to do. I don’t voice my opinion and I don’t get in trouble.” The
organization is actually teaching them in that way, what they need to
do. Sometimes in organizations, aggressive behaviors are rewarded.
Obviously I’m not recommending that, it’s not good. But when
aggressive behaviors are rewarded, that gives everybody in that
organization an idea of how you’re expected to behave.
Peggy Greenberg: The second thing is the cost of influence style. Influence style does take
time to learn. It takes our time, it takes our energy. We have to figure
out what solutions our words will produce, we have to I know how to
phrase those words so there’s a cost there. An individual if they’re going
to use an influential style, has to be willing and able to spend the time
and the energy that it takes to behave assertively. The last one in
situation is all the rules and laws that we have in the workplace or
society that tell us how to act in a certain way. Those are the factors and
as I said, there are many of them that actually shape our influence style.
Peggy Greenberg: So, exactly what are we talking about when we’re talking about
influence? What’s the definition of influence? There are a number of
different ways to describe this and I’m going to give you one description
of what is influence. But before even do that, I want to start off with the
dictionary definition of influence. The dictionary definition is, it is the
capacity of a person to be a compelling force on, or produce effects on
actions, behaviors, and opinions.
Peggy Greenberg: When we talk about influence, what we’re really talking about is, we’re
really looking at two different dimensions of behavior. The first one is
openness. It’s really about openness in communication. This is my
willingness to disclose to another person or to other people my
thoughts, my feelings, my past experiences, my reactions. Some people,
and I’m sure you’ve met people like this and maybe this describes some
of you, some people are very close to the vest and they don’t want to
share anything. It takes a long time, or they have to be extremely
comfortable with someone, or maybe never are they able to share with
other people. And then, other people will be open and share everything.
Some people go overboard in that regard to and over share. So, it’s a
continuum from I’m very closed, to on I’m very open.
Peggy Greenberg: The next piece of influence is consideration. This is about consideration
for other people. This is an individual’s willingness to accord other
people the same rights that he or she accords to himself or herself.
Again, you’re on the spectrum from where some people think, “It’s my
way or the highway, and I’m not going to consider you at all,” and then
other people are very considerate of everybody in their environment.
They don’t want to step on anybody’s toes or offend anybody.
Peggy Greenberg: Again, depending on your openness and your consideration, one of four
paths or influence style emerges. I want you to keep this in mind as we
dig deeper into what those four styles are. The influence the model that
we’re talking about today is one that is again, it is based on; it has those
two dimensions of openness of communication, and consideration for
others. Let’s talk about each of these four styles, and then we’re going
to look at them even more closely.
Peggy Greenberg: The person with openly aggressive behavior is the person who is very
high in openness as you can see from this model. Very high in openness,
but very low in considerations for other people. Openly aggressive
people are very high in openness of communication, but very low in
consideration for others. What this would look like is that this is a
person who boldly insists that their rights and needs prevail. It’s all
about me in other words.
Peggy Greenberg: Then you have the concealed aggressive behavior, somebody who’s low
in openness of communication, and also low in consideration for other
people. This is the person who would say something like, “I suddenly
subtly make sure that my rights and needs prevail.” Done in a very
subtle way, not the same way as the openly aggressive person. Assertive
behavior are high in … A person with assertive behavior is high in
openness and communication, and also high in consideration for others.
Peggy Greenberg: This person would say something like, “I clearly express that we both
have rights, we both have needs, and I listened and I understand.” Then
the final one is the passive behavior. This is someone who’s low on
openness and high on consideration. They don’t want to step on
anybody’s toes and again, they would probably some say something
like, “Other’s rights and needs take precedence over mine.”
Peggy Greenberg: Let’s continue to look a little bit more specifically at these styles. As I go
through them, I’m going to be talking about a number of things related
to each of these styles. I’m going to be talking about the thoughts of
that person that that style might have, the emotions they might be
feeling, what their verbal behavior is going to sound like and what
they’re going to express verbally. Then also, their nonverbal
communication, or their nonverbal behavior to. What might you not
hear them say, but see them saying by other means like body language,
facial expressions, and those types of things.
Peggy Greenberg: There are cultural and situational differences that affect our influence
style. We all know I think, that all cultures will respond differently to
different behaviors. What may be assertive in one culture could be rude
in another culture. Even with gender differences, what might be
assertive with one group might be looked at aggressive with another
group. We have to be mindful of that, the culture of gender as well.
Also, be mindful of the situation that assertive behavior is only possible
if I have free choice.
Peggy Greenberg: Quite honestly, some behaviors may be constrained by the situation.
Sometimes you just can’t go ahead and say anything. Sometimes you
need to know how to be passive as opposed to being assertive in order
to get what you want. There very clearly are cultural and situational
differences. One thing we know for sure, is that there are no absolutes
when it comes to assertion. No one behaves assertively or nonassertively 100% of the time. I think that a person who’s really good at
assertive communication and asserting their needs knows when to
speak, and when not to speak. Sometimes, as we’ve all learned maybe
the hard way as I certainly have, sometimes silence is golden.
Peggy Greenberg: The second thing to keep in mind as we look at these four styles is to
interpret the terms with care. These tendencies and behaviors that I’m
going to talk about, they’re not ironclad categories, and they’re not
personality types. They’re ways of behaving a certain way to influence
another person. Keep that in mind as I talk through this, because I’m not
trying to box people in and to say that you’re going to see this 100% of
the time, or that 100% of the time, because that’s obviously not what’s
going to occur.
Peggy Greenberg: Let’s start with the openly aggressive style first. As I said before, the
descriptive phrase for openly aggressive behavior is, I boldly insist that
my rights and needs prevail, I boldly insist that my rights and needs
prevail. The thoughts of someone demonstrating this kind of behavior
kind of tends to be hostile. The openly aggressive person believes that
they should have rights. They have a very strong need for being in
control, extremely difficult time of ever, ever imagining themselves to
be wrong and as a result of that, rarely admit to being wrong. And, are
Peggy Greenberg: They worry only about themselves and have a very difficult time
thinking about anyone else, or considering how their behavior is
impacting other people. Honestly when people are openly aggressive,
they’re not afraid of hurting other people. The emotions are, these are
people who are fiery. They’re bitter, they’re angry. Those are the
emotions that are really fueling openly aggressive behavior on a fairly
Peggy Greenberg: What you might hear verbally is a lot of sounds, a lot of loud, vocal
sounds. Again, this is someone who might fall into the category quite
honestly, of being verbally abusive, using insults, thinking that that’s a
way to get at people is to just insult them. Interrupting other people is
normal for the openly aggressive behavior. It’s not considered rude to
interrupt other people. However, other people see openly aggressive
behavior as being rude.
Peggy Greenberg: Non-verbally, again, these are people who try to with their body
language and all their non-verbals, demonstrate control. How they
stand, how they lean, how they glare or using their hands to finger point
or to shake fists at other people would be another part of their
nonverbal behavior. Again, not everyone who is demonstrating openly
aggressive behaviors necessarily going to have all of these things, but
they may have some.
Peggy Greenberg: I’m going to just take a guess because this is what usually happens as we
go through this, probably some people are already coming to your mind.
Maybe as I was describing that, you were already listing someone’s
names, or attaching someone’s name to that particular style. I would be
willing to bet that almost all of us at one point in our lives have maybe
had to be openly aggressive. Maybe that was us at one point in our lives.
Hopefully, it’s not how we communicate on an ongoing basis and
influence people on an ongoing basis.
Peggy Greenberg: The question is, does openly aggressive behavior get you what you
want? I don’t know, I mean, I would say that for people who
demonstrate this type of a behavior and influence style a lot, they might
think it does, and perhaps that’s the reinforcement that keeps them
going. There are clearly some costs to this type of behavior. It does
offend other people, undoubtedly, a lot of people, and it creates a lot of
resentment. This isn’t the person that anyone else wants to work with.
Peggy Greenberg: It’s someone that if they’re in a group or in a team, they can literally just
snuff out everyone’s creativity by their openly aggressive behavior,
especially by the way they might talk to other people and the fact that it
is my way or the highway. It’s like, this is the only way it can be. Now,
there’s a benefit to this type of behavior. It’s pretty easy to know what
these people are thinking because they’re going to be right out there.
They don’t hold anything back, so that is a benefit to this particular
style, which might not and isn’t present in all of the styles.
Peggy Greenberg: Let’s do a quick little poll here to make sure that you’ve got the gist of
the openly aggressive style. Which statement reflects the openly
aggressive style? Is it A, I express my anger through various facial
expressions or B, I believe you must show strength to command
respect? Sarah, we should have a couple more choices on there. Is there
another slide? Sarah?
Sarah: You should have C and D.
Peggy Greenberg: Okay, I only okay see two up on the quick poll right now.
Sarah: People are responding to C. I’ll go ahead and read those out, but C
should because, I don’t mind asking for help when I feel I need it. And D
on this, I have trouble turning down people’s requests.
Peggy Greenberg: Thank you. I’m not seeing that up on the slide that I’m seeing, but I’m
glad it’s there.
Sarah: Yeah, that’s odd. I can see people are answering for those, so it is
getting filled. It looks like we’re still getting a lot of active responses, so
Peggy Greenberg: Wait another second there.
Sarah: Yeah. All right, let’s go ahead and share.
Peggy Greenberg: All right, it looks like mostly most of you answered B which is, I believe
you must show strength to command respect, and you are absolutely
right. That is the desired answer there, it is B. It’s not A, but they will;
people who are openly aggressive will use their facial expressions to
exhibit their aggression. But, it’s not A because they’re also going to
express it verbally as well. That’s why B is the one that is most reflective
of the openly aggressive style.
Peggy Greenberg: Let’s move on and talk about the next style on our model, which is
concealed aggressive behavior. You’ll remember that the descriptive
phrase for concealed aggressive behavior is, I suddenly make sure that
my rights and needs prevail. You might be thinking with this person that
everything is fine and dandy, but this is the person who’ll show you in
one way or another that they’re actually not really happy about that
decision and they’re going to sabotage it in some in some way.
Peggy Greenberg: Quite honestly for me, this is the most difficult style to deal with
because these are people who are very manipulative. On the surface,
they seem like they’re agreeable, or they’re listening, but all of a sudden
you’re going to hear a book slam, or a book be thrown on a desk, or a
door slam, or some other subtle rude comment. To me, concealed
aggressive behavior is a challenge because they believe that they have
rights and other people don’t.
Peggy Greenberg: Very much like the previous style, they assume that they’re never
wrong, they’re egocentric, and they find subtle ways to get their way.
The emotions that they’re experiencing are things like resentment and
some hidden frustration. They’re uptight, because maybe they can’t
express themselves verbally in terms of what they need. That’s why they
might be a little bit uptight.
Peggy Greenberg: The verbal behavior of concealed aggressive is that they do a lot of what
I refer to as sniping. They use an indirect expression of insults or threats
to other people. Not directly, but indirectly. A lot of murmuring. It’s the
person who’s sitting off to the side at the meeting and not offering an
idea or suggestion, but kind of having a side conversation. These are
people who have a tendency to gossip and to sabotage, very often
sabotaging decisions after they’ve been made.
Peggy Greenberg: Non-verbally they again, just look like they’re uptight and under a lot of
stress. Forced smile, this kind of piercing eye contact, a very controlled
posture might be something that you will see as well. And, there are
some real high cost I think, to this concealed aggressive behavior. Other
people will pick it out eventually. I don’t think there’s any person who
likes to feel manipulated. Once we feel that way, we feel as though
we’ve been manipulated by another person, our eagerness and our
willingness to work with that individual is greatly diminished.
Peggy Greenberg: These are people that others just consider untrustworthy and in many
cases do not want to have a lot to do with them. The sub-benefit is that
it can be … These people can be very clever if you can direct them into a
positive behavior style, as opposed to the negative concealed
aggressive. So, which statement reflects the concealed aggressive
influence style? I’m afraid to admit that I don’t know how to do
something I’m expected to do? I am able to express my feelings honestly
and directly? I like to be in control of every situation? If I don’t agree
with my boss, I may find a way to drag my feet quietly on projects he or
she wants done? Let’s see what you think. Make sure you hit submit.
Peggy Greenberg: All right, you are very good, you’re absolutely right. The correct answer
is D; if I don’t agree, I may find a way to drag my feet. This concealed
aggressive style is someone who has had … As a manager all of my
career is, in my opinion the most difficult one to manage, the concealed
Peggy Greenberg: Let’s go on and look at passive behaviors. The descriptor here is, other’s
rights and needs take precedence over mine. The passive behavior, their
thoughts are very self-negative. They view that others have rights, but
they don’t think they do necessarily. They tend to be very hesitant to
speak up. You might not see their resentment or their built up anger but
when they do, they’ll often just blow a gasket. It’s so out of character
and everybody else is like, “Oh my gosh, what’s going with that person?”
Peggy Greenberg: These are people who are very conflict averse, avoid disagreements and
just afraid to do or say anything that is going to upset any kind of
relationship, both work or personal. Emotionally, they might feel very
victimized or very depressed because they wish they could speak up, but
they never seem to be able to do that. Verbally as you would expect,
just a meeker voice, use a lot of qualifiers when they’re speaking, say
things like, “What do you think? Do you think it’s right? What do you
think I should do?”
Peggy Greenberg: Non-verbally, again, just don’t look like they have a lot of self
confidence. Wringing their hands on, not having a very confident
posture would be something that we would expect to see in passive
behavior, and there are some costs to this. Again, as I mentioned
initially, these are people who often have great ideas and information,
but just don’t feel confident enough to express it. It’s a cost because
they just don’t take responsibility for contributing to the team. That’s a
cost, obviously to the team and ultimately to the organization.
Peggy Greenberg: The benefit is, they don’t create any unnecessary conflict at all. That
would not be at all what we would expect to see from the past behavior
side. So, which statement reflects passive influence? When I’m angry
with someone, I shut him or her out? If I have something to say that I
think is important, I’m going to interrupt a conversation? I feel guilty
when I have to ask others to do their share? Or, I make decisions when I
have a reasonable amount of information, even though I might be
wrong? Let’s go ahead and launch that poll. Tell quickly what you think
about that one.
Peggy Greenberg: All right, most of you came up with C, which is absolutely the correct
answer. C is, I feel guilty when I have to ask others to do their share. A
number of you mentioned A to, and this is something that I think you’ve
probably seen passive people do this, that they just shut people out if
they’re angry, they don’t talk about it. So, I would agree with you to,
that that’s something you might the passive influence style do, but C is
the most common expression of a passive influence style.
Peggy Greenberg: Last but not least of course, we have assertive behavior. The descriptor
is, I clearly express that we both have rights and needs. Alberti defined
assertiveness many long years ago and said that assertiveness is a
behavior that enables a person to act in his or her best interest to stand
up for herself or himself without anxiety, and express feelings honestly
and comfortably, and exercising their rights without denying the rights
Peggy Greenberg: I think he make some important points about assertive of behavior that I
think we all need to be aware of. One is that assertive behavior is a
characteristic, assertiveness is a characteristic of the behavior, not the
person himself. It’s very person and situation specific and it’s not
universal. As I mentioned to you, no one behaves like this 100% of the
time. It depends on the situation, and it depends on who you’re dealing
Peggy Greenberg: Another thing is that assertiveness has to be viewed in cultural and
situational context, as I said before, and also a gender context, where
you are and who you’re with. In some cases, it depends on whether or
not you have the ability to choose freely how you’re going to act. In
some cases you can choose freely, and in other cases you can’t. It really
depends on where you are, the organization that you work in for
example. You’ve got to take all of those things into consideration when
you’re exercising assertive behavior.
Peggy Greenberg: The thoughts of people who are assertive are very self confident. Again,
they believe that everyone has rights that should be considered. They
objectively try to understand other people and the source of other
people’s emotion. Their emotions tend to be very even tempered, very
patient. And again, their feelings are directed at behaviors or situations
and not at people. That is one of the highest indicators I think of
assertiveness, is that I’m directing this at a behavior. Especially if I’m in a
management position and I’m correcting someone, I’m correcting the
behavior. I’m not criticizing the people, the person, I am criticizing a
certain element of their performance. That is a difference in terms of
Peggy Greenberg: Verbally, assertive behavior sounds very clear and very concise. There’s
a lot of first person language, I language instead of you. You’ll hear a lot
more I language. People who are assertive art receptive to other
people’s viewpoints. They listen actively and they’re receptive. It doesn’t
mean I agree with you, it just means I know that you have a right to
state your opinion and I’m going to listen to what that opinion is. Nonverbally, a very confident, relaxed posture. Very open and supportive
nonverbal behavior. A lot of eye contact, a very important part of being
assertive is the use of eye contact.
Peggy Greenberg: Now, there are some cost to even being assertive. It takes time and
effort to be assertive and it can be sometimes a challenge to maintain
this style in all situations, and you have to take the time to do a
situational assessments and figure out, is it right for me to be assertive
right now? Is this some place where I can be assertive? But, there are
incredible benefits. It encourages collaboration and teamwork.
Someone who has assertive behavior as a problem solver, and not a
problem creator. It really does expedite the communication process.
Peggy Greenberg: I know from working with teams and consulting with so many teams
throughout my career, that when the large number of people on a team
exercise assertive influence, there’s an incredible amount of
collaboration and teamwork. It all flows together and that’s when you
will see the highest level of team performance and the highest level of
return on that performance to the organization. There’s a lot to be said
for the collaboration and teamwork that comes as a result of assertive
Peggy Greenberg: So, what do you think? What statement reflects the assertive influence
style? Is it A, B, C, or D. All right, great job you guys, you got it. It’s A, I let
people know when I disagree with the,. People who are assertive, if they
don’t agree with you, again, they will tell you, but it will be an open, it
will be an honest and it will be in a caring way, not a put down kind of a
way. They want you to understand what their feelings are and they
want to hear what your feelings are, and what your opinions are on a
particular issue, or on something that you’ve been working on together.
Peggy Greenberg: Here we have again, the influence model summary. Again, it is based on
our openness in communication and our consideration for others. The
continuation, not the continuation, the continuum for both of those is
high to low or low to high with some behaviors being very low in both
openness and communication and consideration for others, and others
being more mixed. But, openly aggressive, concealed aggressive,
assertive behavior, and passive behavior. Obviously, the assertive
behavior quadrant when we talk about how we influence, is the one
that is going to get the most play. It is going to get the most response,
and it is going to get the most positive outcomes.
Peggy Greenberg: A few things we know about the sort of influencers. First of all, people
are not born assertive, nor does anyone act assertively 100% of the
time. The second thing that we know is that assertiveness results from
skills and behaviors that we learn and that we consciously practice over
time. The good news is that you can learn to be assertive, you can
absolutely learn to be assertive. It’s not something that you were born
with, or unlike your personality that was hardwired by the time you
were seven, you can become assertiveness if you decide that this is the
style that I want to use. This is definitely the style that I want to use to
influence people. You can learn how to become assertiveness if you
practice, if you learn about it, and you practice.
Peggy Greenberg: The third thing that we know about assertive influencers is that they
work towards the win-win. They focus on their communication, and
they focus on the consideration for other people. In all communication
and certainly in our ability to influence other people, a key ingredients is
trust. We need to all work on constantly building and sustaining trust in
all of our relationships.
Peggy Greenberg: If I don’t trust your character and competence, it is highly doubtful that
you’re going to be able to influence me. As Edward Murrow once said,
“To be persuasive we have to be believable, to be believable we have to
be credible, and to be credible we have to be truthful.” That to me is
just what it’s all about when it comes to trust in all of our relationships.
Peggy Greenberg: Here are some general suggestions. First of all, use a variety of
techniques to influence other people. Consider what you think their
style might be. Seek assignments that will let you try out your influence.
Try to seek some assignments where that might be a possibility for you
in your current job, although it looked like from the opening chat that
many of you already have lots of opportunities in your current job. And,
observe other people who are good influencers and try to do the things
that you see them do. I think this to me and for me, has always been
one of the most useful things, is to observe others who I think have that
skill and practice it very, very well.
Peggy Greenberg: Then finally, we influence others to shape our future or others will
shape our futures for us. Again, to me, this is kind of the compelling
concluding remark of why our influence style is so important, and why
influence is so important to how we are as people, how we are as
parents, as employees, as people in society. I hope this has been useful
to you, and I’m going to turn this over to Sarah now.
Sarah: Wonderful, thank you so much Peggy for the insightful, insightful
information. We’ve had some awesome participation. I do have some
questions. Go ahead and submit any questions that come in, but the
one thing that I just wanted to, I know that has kind of come up Peggy
that I just thought before we closed you might be able to conceal about
is, some people put out there just some basic terms for each of the four
Sarah: Someone had said the overly aggressive is kind of like your classic bully,
the concealed aggressive might be that quiet nod that just says, “Nice
job.” People were putting out some of those phrases, and I thought that
it might be helpful if you could just share a little bit about each of those
four that might just give people that quick little clue. Are they on the
right job that it is that simple to see that behavior, or is there something
more complicated to it, or are people’s guts spot on?
Peggy Greenberg: Well, I would agree with you. I sure as I was going through the
descriptions of these four, you were probably naming those. If that’s
something that helps people to remember or to identify, I don’t think
there’s anything wrong with doing that. My only caution to you would
be that when we label things a certain way, especially something like
bully, or milk toast for the passive. When we assign negative labels to
things, then I think that perhaps the ability to really have people
honestly self-identify and recognize, is this a style that’s working for me
and if not, what do I need to do differently?
Peggy Greenberg: I mean, openly aggressive and concealed aggressive aren’t particularly
pleasant things to say about yourself. But, if you can acknowledge that
that is how I influence and honestly I’m not a very good influencer so I
need to work on that, then if it leads … If having any kind of a label then
leads us to doing something that’s different and better and more
effective, then I say go for it. This model doesn’t have those kinds of
labels obviously, or those one word descriptors, but you could probably
easily do that.
Sarah: Yeah, good, good. Thank you so much. Then, Katie here on our line
participating today has transitioned me perfectly to answer her question
here. She has asked, how do we know which style we fit into? The
model that Peggy has taken us through today of those four styles is a
self-assessment, it’s published by HRDQ. Years of research and
development around those, so it’s a well researched self-assessment,
and it also comes with a workshop. A lot of what Peggy address today
on how do you identify those styles within yourself and then, how do
you make that shift to the assertive style is part of the Facilitator Guide
Sarah: If you are looking to either learn for yourself what your influence style
is, you can take the online self-assessment of the Interpersonal
Influence Inventory. If you’re looking to train that content in your
organization, you have two ways. You can purchase the Facilitator Set
for 25% off with the coupon you see here, good through January 17th,
so you can check that out. That will give you everything you need to
deliver a program.
Sarah: The other thing you can do is reach out to HRDQ. We also have expert
trainers like Peggy that we can send on site to your organization and
they can deliver this training. Sometimes for this topic in particular, that
actually can be helpful to have an outside expert deliver that, so
consider HRDQ for some of your service training as well. Well, that’s all
the time we have today. Peggy, thank you so much, great talk today and
thank you everyone for participating.
Peggy Greenberg: Thanks everybody. Thank you, Sarah. Happy Holidays everyone.
Peggy Greenberg is President of Peggy Greenberg Training and Consulting. Peggy has over 30 years of experience in staff and organization development. Prior to starting her own business, Peggy was the Director of the Office of Education and Training for the United States Senate. Her office was responsible for the training and development of Senate staff in Washington DC and throughout the country. She has also held Director level positions in large health care systems in Washington, DC and Boston. Since starting her own training and consulting firm, Peggy’s clients have included the Department of Justice, US Senate, Glenridge Healthcare Solutions, CAQH, K12, and the City Of Alexandria to name a few.
Peggy is passionate about the importance of lifelong learning and the value of developing employees to their full potential. Her clients know her as someone that is very skilled at competently assessing needs and designing learning that is both engaging and relevant. Peggy’s passion for continuous development drives her to always seek new ideas, concepts and methods to enhance her professional skills.
In addition to her undergraduate degree in Nursing Peggy also holds a graduate degree in Adult and Continuing Education From Boston University.
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