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How to phrase someone’s negative behaviour without being seen as overly aggressive?

Question Time.

This is our final instalment of your questions in the series of Q&A blogs. If you want recap, and to listen to the BONUS Question check out the latest PODCAST.

Here we go, with the final question:

How do you phrase / or position covering someone’s negative behaviour without being seen as overly aggressive?

negative feedback evaluation ticking unhappy face , representing confrontation  of negative behaviour

David Helfand PsyD says ‘Assertive communication means clearly articulating your thoughts and feelings while setting appropriate boundaries in a firm but compassionate manner’. On the other hand, aggressive communication generally stems from a place of anger, hurt, or resentment. It does not consider the needs or perspective of the other person.

We are talking here about constructive vs destructive conversations, so we must make sure we are considering the other person. In any communication there is a sender and a receiver, there is also noise. As the sender you need to ‘encode’ the message to make sure it has the best possible chance of landing correctly for the receiver. This means thinking about how the receiver will ‘decode’ the message you are sending. The noise (like talking to yourself or feeling hurt and becoming emotional) makes this trickier.

As with any difficult conversation the first thing to do is to stay calm. Try to remove the emotional aspect as much as possible. Be clear about how you feel yes but move forward to know what you want as an outcome of the conversation.

Look at the issue from their perspective. Ask questions and listen. Come from a place of trying to understand why the negative behaviour is happening. There could be more going on here.

Talk about the facts and use the word I, talk about your thoughts and what you saw rather than third had seen. We want a restorative conversation.

“Putting the emphasis on your own needs helps you assert boundaries while avoiding judgments toward the other person and potentially triggering their defensiveness,” he explains. For example: “You don’t listen to me,” may become, “I need to feel heard more.”

Using a feedback model might be helpful.

  • Evaluation/Appreciation/Coaching

  • Situation/Behavior/ Impact (SBI)

  • Intent/Behavior/Impact/Curious/Conscious choice (IBICC)

If things don’t go to plan take a break or agree to disagree.



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