By: Tiffany L. Adams, CELI Founder and Cincinnati Business Courier Guest Contributor
What one skill makes all the difference for women in business?
Successful business women are adept at knowing the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Assertive is defined as “confidently self-assured; positive, forceful, decisive, and forward.” On the contrary, being aggressive is characterized “by or tending toward unprovoked offensives, attacks, especially in the use of initiative and forcefulness, pushy.”
Even though the gender composition in the workforce landscape is happily evolving now more than ever into a higher percentage of females excelling in business, some women occasionally have a misguided tendency to emulate the conduct of their male counterpart. At times, we think “I will command more respect and get farther ahead if I come across forceful, unwavering, and aggressive.” Unfortunately, this approach can backfire, alienate, and be counterproductive to collaboration and buy-in of an idea. While it’s important to exhibit strong characteristics in conduct, decision-making, and problem solving, be true to yourself and who you are. Being assertive still means a businesswoman can vigorously make an all-out effort to win, succeed, and stay competitive but not at the expense of compromising who she is.