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Thoughts on Being Bold, Assertive, and an Efficient Communicant
There can be a lot of BS behind charisma. Here's an example.
Boldness and assertiveness are important language traits when it comes to sending a message efficiently.
Being just bold or just assertive, however, is a very different topic and it can backfire or make things very complicated for others.
The difference? Authority and leadership are two very different things and you have to leverage (one of) them right. Make sure to sign up 👇 for more insights!
I was a part of a few discussions recently but one echoed in a rather weird manner. Not because of the topic discussed (customer journey improvement, for the record), but because of the tone used by the (freshly appointed) CEO, and because of the message that CEO sent as a result.
In retrospect, being assertive was clearly important for the CEO. His way of speaking was clear, sharp, and eloquent. Even bold at times. The way he spoke showed that he knew what he wanted.
At first, the message was that the team had to be in charge and that the team had to be trusted. The tone clearly felt like one of supervision, charisma, and leadership - we had a good basis to work with.
Over the course of the discussion, however, the tone changed and the CEO took over. The team felt excited and engaged because it felt empowered, but then a gut-feeling decision was made, and the story shifted dramatically.
The agenda changed suddenly.
The initial desire to let people build turned into a need to take back control.
Assertiveness, clarity of speech, and leadership turned into a mix of dominance and authority.
Blame was used to justify the shift. And the initial trust and capacity-building message got replaced with a status demonstration exercise.
Being bold, assertive, and stuff.
The issue, said differently, isn't being assertive and bold as a character trait. It is to use assertiveness and boldness as communication tools that allow you to pass a message while showcasing a personality others can feel aligned with.
Being assertive isn't a matter of dominance and it isn't a matter of imposing stuff. It is a matter of being clear, saying what you do, but also doing what you said you'd do.
People who are just assertive or just bold tend to be perceived as dominant, unwilling to listen, and, well, as balls-breaking BS providers.
They are difficult to communicate with, they convey toughness, even fear sometimes. They don’t leave you any room to grow, and as a result, they often push you to think that finding a plan B is becoming urgent because, well, there isn't much left for you.
Not a nice form of assertiveness.
Look, it's simple. As Seth Godin wrote it beautifully in a recent post, if all of it is bold, then nothing is bold.
Charisma and leadership aren't a matter of imposing authority and forcing your will on people. They are a matter of setting a tone that inspires them and giving them the willpower and the confidence to grow and move ahead without you.
To that extent, being bold and assertive is a communication tool that you have to leverage to pass a message and provoke a reaction. It can be one weapon in your arsenal, but it can't be all of it, otherwise, you are missing
something the point.
It's up to you, though!
Until next time,