Others in your workplace have given you feedback that you can be overbearing at times. Your boss has just told you you need to change your style because you’re too aggressive. You just see yourself as direct and honest and think they are too sensitive and should just “get over it.” You’re a good performer so you’re angry at your boss for focusing on your style instead of your successes.

Should you:

a) Ignore the feedback since it’s other’s problem not yours?
b) Learn more about your style and find ways to tone your communication down?
c) Start looking for another job where your contributions will be appreciated?

The issues

This is your issue:

  • You likely have a “commanding” style that can be effective but also intimidating;
  • If you think others should just accept you the way you are you have a big problem because you don’t own your part in relationships;
  • Eventually, if you don’t change, you may suffer relationship losses because people will find you too hard to deal with and move on.

What to do

The answer is ( b ) above. While people who are direct and honest don’t necessarily intend to offend or intimidate others, they can. Direct, honest communication must also be respectful and kind, taking into consideration how the message will impact the receiver. When communicating with others:

Don’t order, ask
Don’t dictate, listen
Don’t demand, understand
Don’t diminish, empathize

The old saying, “You get more bees with honey than vinegar” still holds true today. Focus on being compassionately direct and you’ll have a better idea what not to say. You’ll find people are much more likely to respond positively to you and you’ll like yourself more!

Key Thought

Say what you have to say with kindness.

All situations and dynamics referenced in this blog are fictitious.  Any resemblance to real situations or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


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For more information on understanding your communication style, check out our Biz Life Management courses, coming this Fall!