Women in male-dominated professions and industries

More women in male-dominated professions and industries means multiple points of view, approaches to solutions & less mistakes. Everyone benefits. In recent years there’s been a push for more women in male-dominated professions. Is it worth the effort it takes to break into these fields? Read on!

According to Catalyst, male-dominated industries are those with less than 25% women, and they tend to be the toughest fields for women’s career advancement. Why? Well, Catalyst’s research confirmed something many experts have long suspected—Given that, in male-dominated industries, the senior leadership tends to be made up of men, they set the tone for masculine stereotypes that creep into HR strategies and tools.

Imagination, GE's ad campaign: GE has been encouraging more girls to study engineering, a traditionally male-dominated profession.

GE has been encouraging more girls to study engineering, a traditionally male-dominated profession.

The million dollar question remains: Why do we need more women in male-dominated professions to start with?

You could say that, just as there are male dominated industries, there are also female-dominated industries. On the surface there’s nothing wrong with the fact that one gender gravitates towards one field in much larger numbers than the other gender. For example, engineering, technology and finance have been fields heavily populated by men for the longest time, whereas women have dominated fields such as education and health care.

I say “on the surface” because men and women have complementary behaviors, attitudes, and leadership styles that, when brought together, add new perspectives to the job.

A multiplicity of points of view brings new ways of doing things, approaching problems and finding solutions, which in the end benefit everyone.

This is true of all occupations.

Bad things can happen when an industry is dominated by one gender

We had a good example of the potentially negative consequences of one gender dominating an industry with the financial collapse of 2008. One of the most male-dominated industries, the financial sector, didn’t have the advantage of a diversity of view points that more women could have offered. The level of risk taking characteristic of male leaders encountered no counterbalance by the more moderate approach females tend to have.

Terri List-Stoll, CFO Kraft Foods Group, a position few women hold in a Fortune 500 Company. Women in male-dominated professions and industries

Terri List-Stoll, CFO Kraft Foods Group, a position few women hold in a Fortune 500 Company

Career growth opportunities for women in male-dominated professions

There are very interesting opportunities for career growth for women in male dominated professions. With technological advances leading the charge in the global economy, and no country graduating enough professionals in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to fulfill the global demand, there are many available positions that pay well and have a future of low unemployment. You can review the list of the most promising fields in the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Federal Government.

Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve | Career growth opportunities for women in male-dominated professions

Janet Yellen is the first woman Chair of the Federal Reserve.

Challenges faced by women in male-dominated industries

Granted, succeeding in male-dominated industries is not easy. (If it’s any consolation, the same is true for men trying to enter women-dominated professions.) Many of the executives we’ve interviewed for the Red Shoe Movement are women in male-dominated professions. They have shared with us obstacles they had to overcome and challenges they continue to face. We could all learn a lot from their collective wisdom.

Carla Dodds, VP Senior Business Leader at Mastercard, speaking about how to succeed in corporate America gave these suggestions when asked what women who work in male-dominated professions can do to grow and prosper

“1.  Know your opponents. 2. Understand they are not your opponents

This idea is key to better understand those around you.  Understand their drivers, their personal lives as much as possible because this will help you understand how they respond better. This knowledge will help you navigate the workplace more effectively in order to achieve positive outcomes and ultimately succeed in corporate America (or anywhere else you work.)  Understand men’s weaknesses and strengths so you can seek to “complement” not “face-off” with them.  (…) Instead, think strategically.  Keep cool and calm.  Breathe and take yourself to a happy place while the other person vents. Apply your abilities of “seeking to understand” instead of “seeking to judge.” (…) Accept others for whom and what they are and seek to co-exist in a productive way rather than going toe to toe.”

Deborah Martin, CEO of DM Milan Group, representative of celebrity soccer player Clarence Seedorf, speaking of what it is like for women in male-dominated professions said:

“Challenging. My work in football (soccer) is more about “the business of football” than expert knowledge of it. Despite the successes and contributions I’ve made together with Seedorf in football, some always refer to the fact that I am not a football expert, though many of them are not either, they are just extreme fans. I find that there’s often an attempt to ignore or not adhere to my observations or decisions.”

Advantages for women in male dominated professions

We believe there are certain characteristics that women in male-dominated professions can leverage to their advantage. So over the last two years we also asked interviewees to share these advantages with us. You’d be surprised at some of the answers!

STEM fields offer great competitive opportunities for women. Read what women who have done it have as good advice to us! Photo credit: www.topuniversities

STEM fields offer great competitive opportunities for women
Photo credit: www.topuniversities

Deborah Martin shared:

“My greatest advantage as a woman in the sports industry (as opposed to entertainment, where my clients have included Beyonce, Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz and many, many other A-listers) is my distance from it. I really like and appreciate football, but I am not a die-hard fan. I approach all my deals from the business point of view, so I’m more practical, less idealistic. It has been said that there’s a freshness in my opinions that is much needed for the health of football and the clubs. (…)

“As you can well imagine, initially the men who I must deal with are not expecting “me.” I look like, dress like and behave like what I am – a woman. This seems to come as a big surprise, but is guaranteed to get their attention. The key is that once you’ve got the attention you’d better keep it with innovative thoughts, know-how and excellent contributions.

I do not try to be one of the boys. Why should I want to be what I am not or like everyone else? As a woman who grew up in the South, I command and enjoy the respect that I was raised to expect from men. When I enter or leave a room, they stand, they pull my chair, open doors and give me a bit of preferential treatment as a woman and I gladly accept it.”

 

Ana Beatriz (Bia) FIgueiredo. One of the very few women in male dominated industries such as race car driving

Ana Beatriz (Bia) FIgueiredo. One of the very few women in male dominated industries such as race car driving

Ana Beatriz (Bia) Figueiredo, race car driver and the fastest Latina on the planet, shared this when we asked her what were her advantages as a woman in one of the most male-dominated industries there is: car racing!

“A friend once told me something that I feel really applies to my career:  ‘You are running in a straight line between Fantastic and Ridiculous. If you do well, it’s fantastic, but if you fail it’s ridiculous.’ By reaching a top series like IndyCar and becoming the first Brazilian woman to do such a thing, I have some media and sponsorship advantages. By the same note, I tend to get more recognition by being one of the only females in the field.

“Becoming a ‘feminine’ female driver helped me get more attention from the media, sponsors and new opportunities that are targeting women.  This has positioned me to gain interest from cosmetic companies which do not traditionally enter the racing industry.  Being a woman driver has even helped me acquire Ipiranga as a my main sponsor, given that my gender helps their brand reach women and kids—something difficult for a Gasoline brand that has traditionally targeted men.

“Yet, inside the track gender is irrelevant, and I don’t feel any different from a male driver. We are all aggressive and share the same goal of winning the race. However, outside of the track I have leveraged my femininity to overcome bad situations using traditional women skills of tact and diplomacy while maintaining a firm versus aggressive stand.”

Should you enter or try to advance in male-dominated industries? Engineering and related professions are still male-dominated

Engineering and related professions are still male-dominated
Photo Credit: www.topuniversities.com

Should you enter or try to advance in male-dominated industries?

The answer is yes, of course. There are amazing, untapped opportunities for women who enter these fields. But here are a few caveats you may want to remember: Be aware of what you’re getting into and have a plan and a strategy. Expect some level of pushback and some rough times. Use your femininity to your benefit; use it to stand out in a relevant, positive and powerful way. Identify early on who’s got your back and build alliances. Make the men on your team look good; let them know they can count on you. Let them know you’ve got their backs too.

It’s past time for us to see more women in male-dominated professions, so we are here to support you. Leave us your comment, story, or question so we can help you conquer that next stage of your career.

Self esteem quotes: Because we never get tired of them

No matter how many self esteem quotes you read there’s always room for a few more self esteem boosters!

When we published our low self esteem quotes: the best collection to shake the blues a few weeks ago we received many messages requesting an encore. Some readers said they had printed our self esteem quotes and taped them to their refrigerators or office walls to keep them going throughout the day. Others said that our quotes worked as perfect self esteem boosters, which they made sure to read first thing in the morning.

Don't fear trying something new. Great things await! #self esteem quotes

Don’t fear trying something new. Great things await! Photo Credit: Picture taken at DigiGirlz, Microsoft, El Salvador 2014

Self esteem boosters: Get a good dose of them and be on your way to a more confident you

Positive self esteem quotes, whether they are famous phrases by world-renowned figures or ideas expressed by regular people, provide an unusual way of looking at things. In reality, good self esteem quotes are great self esteem boosters with the ability to reframe your worldview and how you perceive yourself.

Given that to improve a low self-image you’d have to begin by appreciating who you are, having something to trigger new thoughts is a very productive place to start.

The concept may come packaged as a joke, a double entendre, or an obvious fact that surprises you, makes you laugh, makes you think. Or rethink an old idea you’ve been holding on to and that it’s no longer valid.

When you hold a smile your brain receives positive reinforcement and your mood changes. Try it!

When you hold a smile your brain receives positive reinforcement and your mood changes. Try it!

We know it’s very hard to keep your energy up when you have a poor appreciation of who you are and how valuable you are for those around you. So we are happy to provide a new collection of self esteem quotes to pump you up. Let us know which ones are your favorites and don’t forget to email us your own self esteem boosters so we can publish them in a future post.

Self Esteem Quotes to Get Inspired and Feel Good

Don't drive with your hand-break on! #Self esteem boosters

Don’t drive with your hand-break on!
Photo Credit: www.self-help-and-self-development.com

 

Anais Nin, a great self esteem booster

Be courageous and life’s possibilities will expand for you.

Self Esteem quote

If you leave your ego alone it will not get in the way of your accomplishing great things.
Photo Credit: tariqmcom.com

Don't take criticism personally. If someone doesn't like chocolate and you do, would it matter to you?  | Self esteem quote by Mariela Dabbah

Don’t take criticism personally. If someone doesn’t like chocolate and you do, would it matter to you?

It's important to recognize who's in your inner circle and only keep those who are a positive force.

It’s important to recognize who’s in your inner circle and only keep those who are a positive force.

 

Be proud of yourself! | Self Esteem quote

Be proud of yourself!
Photo Credit: Favimages.net via Pinterest.com

Don't get discouraged by how long everything takes to come to fruition. Nothing worth doing happened overnight. |Self esteem quote by Sandra Cisneros

Don’t get discouraged by how long everything takes to come to fruition. Nothing worth doing happened overnight.

If you don't trust yourself it will be hard to find success.

If you don’t trust yourself it will be hard to find success. Photo Credit: PositiveMotivation.net

 

Don't get stuck in needing to be liked. It's more important to get people's respect.

Don’t get stuck in needing to be liked. It’s more important to get people’s respect.

You'll never be as good at being someone else as you will at being yourself! |  Marilyn Monroe

You’ll never be as good at being someone else as you will at being yourself!

 

Best way to overcome self doubt is by doing what you doubt you can do.

Best way to overcome self doubt is by doing what you doubt you can do.

Speak up! | Self esteem boosters by the Red Shoe Movement

Don’t let your low self esteem make you invisible. Speak up!

Self esteem quote by Diane Von Furstenberg

Do you enjoy your own company? Work on that…

Define yourself so others can't define you. | Quote by Sonia Sotomayor

Define yourself so others can’t define you.

Self esteem booster by the Red Shoe Movement

Don’t let others put you down. Speak up!

Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

Make the most of yourself… Raph Waldo Emerson

Domestic Violence Stories: From the NFL to Everyday America

Domestic Violence stories have been highlighted in the news recently because of the horrific actions of players, managers, and owners of the NFL. Until recently, players who have perpetrated domestic violence have been allowed to remain actively employed and the sanctions against them have been minimal. What does that say to other male players and to the women employed by the NFL? “Men, keep doing what you’re doing” and “women, it is your fault if he becomes violent.” Does this then create the most positive work environment? Hardly!

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime1. How does this affect a woman’s career?

Domestic Violence Stories: from the NFL to Everyday America

The only witness won't talk. Women suffering from domestic violence need your help - Amnesty International Campaing Against Domestic Violence - Domestic Violence Stories

The only witness won’t talk. Women suffering from domestic violence need your help – Amnesty International Campaing Against Domestic Violence

I am a survivor of domestic violence. I left my abuser with our 2 month old child only 14 months after we were married. The abuse was subtle at the beginning: arguments that I mistook for normal relationship quarrels, then came the shoving and throwing things at me while I was pregnant, and him kicking one of my cats (71% of domestic violence survivors report that their partners killed, harmed, or threatened animals as a means of demonstrating authority?2). I made the decision to leave the day he threw me against the edge of the bathroom door in anger when I had just stepped out of the shower and was still naked. I realized with the help of a family counselor that if he could hurt my cat and me, he would do the same thing to my son.

I have been fighting my abuser in court for 2 years now. Getting away from him has cost me over $100,000 and it has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I’ve had lawyers turn me away as a client because they said I would never be able to divorce an FBI agent who is also a lawyer and a Major in the Army. I have had to fire two lawyers who were not willing to fight for the safety of my son. I’ve had to fight the cops and the judges who have protected him (blue blood runs thick!).

Through my entire ordeal, I have remained employed by the same company. I made the decision to leave my abuser while I was on maternity leave, so I came back to work as a new single mom. This is not at all what I had planned during my pregnancy. I kept my problems a secret for the first month because I was ashamed, but everyone could see the pain and anguish I was living right on my face. I decided to open up to my direct supervisor and was very pleasantly surprised to receive my company’s full support. Our medical plan covered several visits with a therapist at no cost to me, I was able to attend court hearings during work hours, and my coworkers rallied around me for support at work. My company went above and beyond to help me, and I will be forever grateful.

There have been many days when I have found myself crying at my desk and losing my work focus. I’ve had to reschedule conference calls because I just could not think or prepare for meetings. These events have fortunately not caused me any major problems at work, and for that I am very lucky. Domestic Violence does not only affect your personal life, but it also has an impact on your professional life. The impact can be managed with strong domestic violence work policies that support women who are suffering and that do not condone those who have been found guilty of domestic violence offenses.

Domestic Violence Stories

Domestic Violence Stories

Domestic violence stories are heard from all over as Domestic Violence occurs in every culture, country, and age group. It affects people from all socioeconomic, educational, and religious backgrounds. The abuser uses many tactics to control their victim and not all of them are violent. Here is the power and control wheel3 that can help you identify red flags within your own relationship or the one of someone you care about.

What to do if you are a victim of Domestic Violence

If you are in an abusive relationship of any form, please tell someone! Anyone! You deserve to be happy and free.  For help, support, and guidance you can call the national domestic violence hotline at 1−800−799−7233 and for help within your company contact your HR department directly.

Don’t make the mistake I made in feeling shame for being in an abusive relationship. Remember, abuse is a choice, but it is the choice of the abuser!

RedShoeMovement Note: Our author asked to remain anonymous because of the potential consequences she might face as a result of this article. She decided to share her story to help at least one person seek help. Please leave your comments here.

National Domestic Violence Hotline - Domestic Violence Stories

National Domestic Violence Hotline – Domestic Violence Stories

 

Domestic Violence Stories Quote. There is no safe way to remain in a relationship with a person who has no conscience. The only solution is to escape. Photo credit: shinystarrlight.tumblr.com

Domestic Violence Stories Quote. There is no safe way to remain in a relationship with a person who has no conscience. The only solution is to escape. Photo credit: shinystarrlight.tumblr.com

Power and Control Wheel

Power and Control Wheel by the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence

1 Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy. National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” (2000).

2 Arkow, P. (2014). Form of emotional blackmail: animal abuse as a risk factor for domestic violence. Domestic Violence Report, 19(4), 1-1.

3 Domestic Abuse Intervention Project www.duluth-model.org

How to deal with people who are jealous of your success

Don’ t waste energy in people who are jealous of your success. Learn how to deal with them in a positive way: Help them achieve their own success! Read how!

The closer two people are in age, education and background, the more competitive they can be with each other. Look around: people jealous of your success tend to be your peers and even your siblings.

It’s sad but true. People jealous of your success are often your closest relatives, friends and colleagues. People you grew up with, who had the same chances of success you did, who see themselves reflected in you. Those who wonder, “why her and not me?” That’s why high school reunions are so tough on mostly everyone, except those who made it big. All attendees are the same age, went to the same high school, lived in the same neighborhood…

The cheerleader who put on thirty pounds and at forty works as a cashier in the local fast food restaurant will probably avoid the reunion, choosing instead to keep the memories of the good old times. But if she went, she’d probably be among the people jealous of your success because she could have made it but she didn’t.

The closer two people are in age, education and background the more competitive they can be with each other. Photo Credit: the healhtsite.com

The closer two people are in age, education and background the more competitive they can be with each other.
Photo Credit: the healhtsite.com

What to do with people who are jealous of your success at home

It may be harder to deal with sibling rivalry (usually more severe between siblings of the same gender) than with people jealous of your success in the office. You can change jobs but you can’t change sisters. Yet, if your sister is one of the people jealous of your success who makes you feel inadequate, it’s time to take action.

Think about this—Unless you are among the very few lucky people who made it to the top with little work and less talent, I’m sure you worked hard for your success. So you deserve it and there’s no need (or room) to apologize for it. That doesn’t mean that your sibling (cousin or close girlfriend) didn’t work hard. She may be working as hard as you but not getting results. The best antidote? Help her! It’s harder for people jealous of your success to continue feeling that way if you help them achieve their goals.

But if, after you spend a substantial amount of time helping your sister or your friend with her goals, you don’t see her attitude change, it may be time to take a step back. Back and away from her. People who are jealous of your success can bring toxic energy into your life. Sharing less with them about your success may be the best way to protect yourself from their negative vibes.

Best antidote against people who are jealous of your success? It's hard to remain envious of someone's success if they are helping you achieve your own!

It’s hard to remain envious of someone’s success if they are helping you achieve your own!

Other Helpful Resources – For More How to Deal with People Jealous of Your Success Tips

What to do with people jealous of your success at work

Now professional jealousy is a whole different ballgame. Dealing with people jealous of your success at work can be tough for many reasons. These people may be your boss, they may undermine your work by bad mouthing you, they may try to ruin your next promotion, and so on. So here are a few tactics to minimize their impact:

  •  Be as inclusive as possible. This means offer team members plenty of chances to be part of your projects. When you succeed, they succeed.
  • Offer others opportunities for high visibility and recognition. (If you’re organizing an event, ask them to co-host it or to say a few words to the audience.
  • Praise their work in front of their bosses and supervisors. (Find real things worthy of your praise so it feels very real.)
  • Thank them for the part they play in your success. (Maybe this is the reason actors thank a long list of people when they receive an Oscar? To make sure jealous people won’t spoil their happiness?)
Following the 7 Red Shoe Movement Principles may be a wonderful way to change the dynamics with people who are jealous of your success

Following the 7 Red Shoe Movement Principles may be a wonderful way to change the dynamics with people who are jealous of your success

At times it may be impossible to mitigate the feelings of people who are jealous of your success. After all, you can only control how you feel and what you do with those feelings. Unfortunately, there will always be unhappy individuals who, rather than focus on what they could be doing different to achieve career success, spend their time and energy envying others. It may be wiser to work on how you react to jealousy rather than on how to make people who are jealous of you see the light.

Understanding that their jealousy speaks more about who they are than about you is a great place to start. Remember: Never let jealous people stand in the way of your success.

Note: The 7 Red Shoe Movement Principles poster can be purchased to display at the office and encourage more women to support each other.

Communication Styles That Won’t Carry You Up the Ladder

There may be different classifications of communication styles but experts agree that nothing beats the assertive style when it comes to effective communication skills

There’s no way around it: If you are looking to achieve career success you must have effective communication skills. Regardless of whether you’re more on the extrovert or introvert end of the personality spectrum nothing will help you fulfill your goals as much as your connections with others. Leadership model after leadership model continues to point to a simple fact— People give opportunities to those they know and trust. So learning about different communication styles will aid you in identifying your style and to assess how well it’s serving you. The next step is to tweak whatever is not working in your favor.

Main classification of styles of communication

The Small Business Administration (SBA) identifies three communication styles: Aggressive, Passive and Assertive. Other groups identify four (aggressive, passive-aggressive, passive and assertive) or six styles (these four plus submissive and manipulative.) But the truth is the SBA’s chosen three communication styles may very well be the large buckets where you can dump all the others. It’s important to know the general characteristics of these three main communication styles as they are similarly defined by most experts. Here are the key points from the SBA’s definitions.

Communication styles 101

What is your communication style?

What is your communication style?

Aggressive

General Characteristics

  • Poor listener
  • Has difficulty seeing the other person’s point of view
  • Monopolizes conversation
  • Achieves goals at others’ expense
  • Domineering, bully
  • Condescending, sarcastic

Behavior

  • Puts others down
  • Think they are always right
  • Bossy

Nonverbal Cues

  • Points, shakes finger
  • Squints eyes critically
  • Glares or stares
  • Rigid posture
  • Critical, loud, yelling tone of voice

Verbal Cues

  • Verbally abusive
  • Use commands like: “You must,” “Don’t ask why, just do it”

Passive

General Characteristics

  • Low self-esteem
  • Indirect, hesitant
  • Always agrees
  • Doesn’t speak up
  • Apologetic, self-conscious
  • Trusts others to make decisions for self
  • Doesn’t express own wants and feelings, so they usually don’t get what they want

Behaviors

  • Tries to avoid conflict
  • Clams up when feeling treated unfairly
  • Asks permission unnecessarily
  • Complains instead of taking action
  • Lets others make choices of self
  • Has difficulty implementing plans

Nonverbal Cues

Fidgets

  • Lack of facial animation
  • Smiles and nods in agreement
  • Downcast eyes, slumped posture
  • Low volume, meek

Verbal Cues

  • Monotone, low energy
  • Passes on opportunities they believe others are better suited for: “It’s better if you do it.” “You have more experience than me”
  • Self doubt: “I can’t…”

Assertive

General Characteristics

  • Effective, active listener
  • States limits, expectations
  • States observations, not labels or judgments
  • Expresses self directly, honestly, and as soon as possible about feelings and wants
  • Checks on others feelings
  • Non-judgmental
  • Trusts self and others, confident
  • Self-aware
  • Open, flexible, versatile, sense of humor
  • Decisive, proactive

Behavior

  • Operates from choice
  • Action-oriented, realistic in their expectations
  • Takes appropriate action toward getting what they want without denying rights of others
  • Firm
  • Fair, just
  • Consistent
  • Nonverbal Cues
  • Open, natural gestures, relaxed posture
  • Attentive, interested facial expression
  • Direct eye contact
  • Varied rate of speech, expressive

Verbal Cues

  • “I choose to…”
  • “Let’s review our options”
One of your biggest assets is having effective communication skills

One of your biggest assets is having effective communication skills

Effective communication skills make “assertive” king among communication styles

When you look at the characteristics of people with an assertive communication style you can tell that they are good at establishing and nurturing relationships. They are confident, trustworthy, open, sensitive to others, and able to express their feelings and needs as they occur. All of this contributes to them being great people to work with. They are good problem-solvers who can get into action right away. And because they can take into consideration everyone’s needs, they also tend to be good negotiators.

For women, there’s a fine line between the assertive and the aggressive communication styles though. Attitudes that would be perceived as assertive when expressed by a man may be perceived as aggressive when expressed by a woman. How to change that perception? Use the empathy advantage recently discussed in Mariela Dabbah’s blog on Engaging men in gender initiatives. Women can easily sprinkle their attitude with empathy to tone down that misperception. For example, instead of raising your voice to command authority, make eye contact, smile, and make a strong statement that addresses the feelings of the other person. And remember to avoid raising your tone at the end as if you were asking a question. “I know you rather not re-write the report but as it stands it doesn’t make the case we are trying to present to the client. And in the end, our goal is to keep the client happy because the client pays our salaries. So please re-write it with the parameters we discussed earlier.”

There's a fine line between women being perceived as aggressive and as assertive. Find yours! Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

There’s a fine line between women being perceived as aggressive and as assertive. Find yours!
Photo Credit: dreamstime.com

Being assertive means you ask for what you want rather than expect people to give it to you. It means you’re able to clearly express your value for the company you work for, and that you are at ease talking about your achievements in a powerful way. It means you know your rights and the rights of others and are able to stand for them in a non-confrontational way.

Negative impact in your career of aggressive and passive communication style

People with low self-esteem either assume one of two styles: A passive stand and fade in the background giving up being themselves, allowing others to make decisions for them, and keeping their feelings inside while the frustration and resentment built up until it comes out in inappropriate ways. Or they assume an aggressive stand abusing others verbally, showing impatience, anger, hostility and the constant need to win every argument. Both styles tend to push people away. Nobody likes a pushover (passive) or a bully (aggressive). They are not productive styles of communication to aim for. So if you see yourself reflected on either one of these, take some time to evaluate the price you may be paying.

Situations when a good dose of passive or aggressive style is needed

Few people have one of these communication styles 100% of the time. And as a matter of fact there are situations in which even people with Assertive styles demonstrate effective communication skills by adopting some of the traits of the Aggressive or Passive styles.

The people with most effective communication skills have an assertive communication style. It's the perfect balance between your needs and the needs of others.

The people with most effective communication skills have an assertive communication style. It’s the perfect balance between your needs and the needs of others.

Here are some examples of good use of aggressive style

  • When a quick decision is needed
  • When you participate in any sort of competition
  • When facts are critical and you have them right

And here are examples of good use of passive style

  • When emotions are running high and it benefits everyone to calm down
  • When you have considerable less power than the person you are negotiating with
  • When circumstances are impossible to change (regulations, laws, etc.)

If your goal is to continue to move up the career ladder you should strive for an assertive communication style while remaining flexible enough to adopt the aggressive or passive styles when appropriate. It’s by far the most productive way to develop the relationships needed for growth.