Are you likely to be bossy or do you prefer to give way to others’ demands, no matter how unreasonable they are?
Click start to play today’s Word Search, where the word ‘pushy’ will have you assessing how you conduct yourself.
A 2015 study by US-based Columbia Business School, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that most people do not recognise if they are behaving too aggressively or too passively in someone else’s eyes. The study paired people in mock negotiations, and after each deal was made, participants answered questions about their own levels of assertiveness and their partner’s.
The results revealed that most participants’ perception of themselves and each other was incorrect. Some people who were actually getting it right, sometimes thought they had “crossed the line” into being too pushy and tried to repair the relationship, eventually accepting less than lucrative deals. They didn’t realise that the other person didn’t even know that a problem existed.
So, how do you know if you’re being a jerk or if your assertiveness level is just right?
According to psychology news website Psychology Today, a lack of self-awareness can interfere with one’s ability to reach personal and professional goals. And social cues, like a sigh or a grumble from a co-worker when you ask them to do something, are misleading, because they don't necessarily mean you are at fault. Often, it is just part of social culture to react in such ways, especially when there are other factors at hand, like limited time, or a long and stressful day.
According to the Psychology Today report, one way to build self-awareness is to just pay attention. Soon enough, professionals will be able to pick out the right kind of signals and be more sceptical of the wrong ones – like dramatic exasperation to a request.
Another way to increase self-awareness is to ask for feedback from other people you trust, like peers or mentors who would be willing to offer honest advice.