Effective vs. Ineffective Communication

» Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

We are social beings. Assertiveness is a style of communication and is the most effective type of the four types of communication. Unfortunately, assertiveness is not used as often as people should. All of us use each of the four styles of communication, and as a result some of our interactions can be unsatisfying and frustrating. The following blog will describe the four styles of communication. Try to think of the time you used each style of communication and how effective it was.

The Passive Style

The passive style is ineffective and is designed to avoid conflict. They feel that their wishes, needs, opinions and desires are not important. Passivity can lead to anxiety or depression. They go alone with demands and never criticize. This style of communication is giving control of your life to others even if you do not want to. There are a lot of emotions that go with passivity such as fear of being rejected, resentment, frustration, and helplessness. Passive style of communication can develop in a number of ways: some people grow up never practicing to say “no” or for some, being assertive may lead to violence or for some people  they do not see assertiveness in action. Examples of passive style are “other people are more important,” “They can do things effectively. I can’t.”

The Aggressive Style

The flip side of the passive style is aggressive style. People with this style try to get others to submit to them. They feel powerful and in control. The goal is to control others by intimidating them. This style is ineffective for achieving goals in the long run. Aggressive style of communication can develop in a number of ways: one may have an aggressive parent, one may have low self esteem that causes them to become threatened, one may obtain what they want through aggression, and one may fail to see the consequences of aggression.  Examples of aggressive style are “mom was aggressive and she got what she wanted. I will try being aggressive more often to get what I want too” or “I can’t do this situation unless I intimidate the other person.”

The Passive-Aggressive Style

This is a combination of the two mentioned above. As stated by Mills (2012) “it is often characterized by sarcasm or “joking,” but it often has a kernel of truth embedded in it that can sting or cause you to question the real meaning of the comments. It is passive, because the person’s opinion, wants, or needs are not shared directly-they are hidden. It is aggressive because the opinion, wants, and needs are often conveyed through biting sarcasm or flippant comments that can be hurtful to the person on the receiving end.” The person who uses this style of communication has a history that includes both passive and aggressive styles. People experience anger and control but they fear expressing themselves directly. Examples of passive-aggressive style are undermining coworkers by saying something bad to the boss or doing a chore badly in order for someone else to take over.

The above mentioned have negative effects on our relationships. None involve an open an honest exchange in which everyone is respected.

The Assertive Style

The assertive style recognizes that you are in charge of your own behavior. It also recognizes that other people are in charge of their own behavior. We acknowledge our thoughts without expecting others will give in to us. We also respect the feelings and opinions of others without doing what they demand. Assertiveness is difficult to learn but it allows us to relate to others, to be relaxed around others, to keep our self-respect, to acknowledge the right of others. Examples of assertive style are “I’m sorry. I value our relationship but I cannot take on more chores right now” or “I understand you have a hard time working with Tony, however this needs to be done by next week. Can we all sit down together and come up with a solution to get this done?”

In other words…….

The Passive Person: is afraid to speak up, speaks softly, isolates self from groups, values self less than others, agrees with others even though that is not their personal belief.

The Aggressive Person: interrupts others, talks over others, intimidates, makes demands, is not considerate of others opinions only their own opinion, values self more than others, speaks loudly.

The Assertive Person: speaks openly, values self equal to others, keeps to the point, tries not to hurt others, is considerate of others viewpoint.

Assertiveness is a difficult skill to attain. However, when it is learned it can have great effects on your relationship. What is your style of communicating with others?