The 10 Commandments of Communication to Build Trust A Guest Post by Randy Conley

the best vision is insight phrase  on a vintage slate blackboard
the best vision is insight phrase on a vintage slate blackboard


The way we communicate with others is a primary way we build trust. Along with specific behaviors and actions, communication serves as the vehicle for building trust in relationships. What we say, how we say it, and how we respond to what others communicate can make or break trust. That’s why it’s important to develop your interpersonal communication skills. There are some basic communication do’s and don’ts…the 10 commandments if you will…that everyone should know to facilitate the growth of trust.

Check yourself against this list to see how many of the 10 Commandments of Communication you adhere to:

1. Thou shalt demonstrate genuine care for the other person – People can see right through a phony. If you don’t genuinely care for the other person in the relationship it will show in your words and actions. If it’s important for you to build trust with someone, then you should find ways to genuinely care about them. Examine the relationship to see what it is about the person, or the role they play in your organization, that you appreciate and value. Focus on those aspects of the relationship in an authentic and genuine way.

2. Thou shalt listen to understand, not to respond – Most of us have poor listening skills. Instead of listening to someone to understand their point of view, we spend our mental energy formulating a response. Practice active listening techniques such as asking open-ended questions/statements like “Tell me more” or “How did that make you feel?” Paraphrase key points and check for understanding throughout the conversation and listen with the intent to be influenced by the person speaking, not with the intent to argue or debate. Listening can be one of the easiest and quickest ways to establish trust with someone.

3. Thou shalt use open body language – Studies have shown that 70% or more of communication is nonverbal. Our body language often conveys much more meaning than our words so it’s important than your body language is in alignment with the intent of your words. If at all possible, eliminate physical barriers, like a desk, between you and the person you’re speaking with. Sit side by side or in front of each other, don’t cross your arms, roll your eyes, or grimace. Be sure to smile, nod in understanding, and verbally respond with phrases like “I hear you” or “I understand” to show the other person you’re tracking with the conversation.

4. Thou shalt look for commonalities with the other person – People intuitively trust people who are similar to themselves. When first establishing the relationship, emphasize things you have in common such as where you grew up, went to school, common hobbies/interests you have, or the activities/sports of your children.

5. Thou shalt express empathy/mirror emotions – You’ve probably heard the old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Expressing empathy toward another person is an excellent way to show you care, particularly if you mirror their emotions. Neurological studies have shown our brains contain “mirror neurons” that have the capacity to help us feel the emotions being expressed by another individual. I’m not suggesting you mimic the emotions of others in an attempt to manipulate them into trusting you, but rather taking genuine interest in their plight and letting your natural empathetic instincts express themselves.

6. Thou shalt be transparent and show vulnerability – Establishing trust in a relationship requires one person to make the first move in extending trust. Someone has to make him/herself vulnerable to another and one way to do that is to be transparent (appropriate for the context of the situation) in sharing information. A lack of transparency or vulnerability breeds suspicion in the relationship and is usually the result of one party wanting to minimize risk and maximize control.

7. Thou shalt be positive and respectful – Right or wrong, people will judge the quality of your character by how you speak about and treat others. If you are positive and respectful in your words and actions, people will trust that you will treat them the same way. The opposite is also true. If you speak disparagingly about others or treat others as “less than” yourself, people will not trust you will act with fairness and integrity in your dealings with them.

8. Choose the right time, place, and method to communicate – Just as the secret in real estate is “location, location, location,” the secret to trust-building communication is “timing, timing, timing.” In addition to finding the right time to communicate, it’s important to choose the proper place and method. If your communication involves sensitive personal information, have a face-to-face conversation in a private location. Use email, phone, and other methods of communication that are appropriate to the specific situation.

9. Thou shalt look for opportunities to build up the other person – Your words can be used to build other people up or tear them down. Which do you think will build trust? Building them up, of course. Look for every opportunity to use your communication to help others learn, grow, and become the best version of themselves possible. Doing so will cause people to see that you have their best interests in mind, a key driver of deciding to place their trust in you.

10. Thou shalt own your words – Say what you mean, mean what you say, be forthright, honest, compassionate, caring, and responsible with your communication. If you say something that harms another, apologize sincerely and make amends. It’s really that simple.

The Delicate Balance: Circle of Influence

feather and stone balance

Inspired by the ancient book of wisdom; The Tao Te Ching: Verse Twenty-Nine

Those who wish to take the world and control it
I see that they cannot succeed. The world is a sacred instrument
One cannot control it. The one who controls it will fail
The one who grasps it will lose. Because all things:
Either lead or follow. Either blow hot or cold
Either have strength or weakness. Either have ownership or take by force.                                                                                                 Therefore the sage: Eliminates extremes. Eliminates excess. Eliminates arrogance

                                                                                                Lao Tzu

I found my way to eastern philosophy as a result of my dissatisfaction with the western approach to health and wellness. The formative years of my nursing career were spent practicing critical care and emergency trauma. My reverence for the need and value of these specialties never faltered but after about seventeen years of practice I found myself unsettled.

I used my knowledge and skills to offer lifesaving and therapeutic interventions to my patients but I was being haunted by a sense that somehow it wasn’t enough. I felt helpless to truly influence or control the human situation that came to my emergency department in endless waves of need.

I struggled with this inner unrest with my profession for years until I finally had an epiphany. I accepted that my torment arose from a sense of lacking within myself and not my profession. I committed a very common error. I looked outside myself for answers instead of having the wisdom and courage to look within.

In verse twenty-nine, Lao Tzu counsels us to let go and to acknowledge what is truly within our circle of influence. He gently guides us to embrace that it is folly to try to control anything in the outside world because our perspective is littered with blind spots of personal needs that make our judgment unreliable. It is impossible for anyone feeling a sense of no control to believe that all is as it should be.

I believe one of the dominant themes of the western approach to life is singular achievement. This mindset ultimately drives us into isolation. I have come to realize that this is a recipe for unhappiness. There is no finish line. You never belong. You never arrive.

The essence of the eastern view of reality is the awareness of the unity and interdependence of all things and events. The world is composed of the threads that weave the fabric of the phenomenon of basic oneness. All things are an inseparable part of the cosmic whole. Peace of mind (wellness) is rooted in the trust that all is as it should be.

Eastern core values can be summed up in three points. The first is to be mindful of thoughts, speech and actions. The second is to meditate with the intent of developing insight and understanding. The third is to lead a life of self-respect and respect for others. These things are the only outcomes that we can drive and truly control. These core values create our true circle of influence and ultimately offer us the ability to lead an awakened life.

Investing in developing your inner world will create a powerful magnetic energy around you. When you align with the Oneness of all things you will discover how comforting and irresistible your inner light can be.  You will attract what you want into your life. This is not magical thinking. It is being in the flow.


9 Signs of Passive Behavior. Are You Being Too Selfless? A Guest Post by Carthage Buckley



Passive behavior is where you sacrifice your own preferences and needs, so that you can help others to meet their preferences and needs. There will be times in your life when you need to be passive, or, where being passive at that moment will allow you to build a positive relationship in the long run. The problem arises when you are consistently passive. If you want to be happy, you have to be able to pursue your own goals and objectives with confidence.

Passive behavior will not allow you to do this. In fact, consistently displaying passive behaviour will encourage others to take advantage of you, either consciously or subconsciously. In the short-term, you feel that you are being approved of by the other people, and you may view this as a positive thing. However, in the long-term, you will be required to make bigger sacrifices if you wish to maintain their approval. Eventually, you will be filled with a sense of resentment.

9 Signs of passive behavior

The following list highlights some of the most common signs of passive behavior. The list is not exhaustive but it should serve to provide you with a good knowledge of what passive behavior looks like.

1. Hesitant approval-seeking speech

The passive individual often seeks the approval of others with their speech. They are incredibly fearful of upsetting others so they attempt to soften the impact of their comments through permission seeking. This often results in rambling statements which do not seem to say a whole lot e.g.

  • ‘Would you mind if I…’
  • ‘I wouldn’t normally say this but…..’
  • ‘I don’t mean to be rude but I was thinking that if it was OK with you….’

 2. Broken speech pattern

As they lack confidence, passive people tend to lack any form of certainty when they are expressing their opinions. You will hear them stop, start, and hesitate. Their speech pattern will lack any rhythm or flow. The hesitations are often accompanied by ‘err’ and ‘um’ or similar noises.

 3. Belittling their own views

The fear of upsetting others often results in them belittling their own views before they have even expressed them. Rather than wait for someone else to comment on their views, they try to soften the blow by striking first, e.g.:

  • ‘I’m no expert but…’
  • ‘I have been known to be wrong but …’

 4. Putting the preferences of others first

The approval seeking nature of passive behavior leads the individual to place a higher value on the preferences and needs of others than they place on their own. They eagerly demonstrate that they are willing to sweep their own preferences aside, e.g.:

  • ‘I would like to … but if you would rather do something else …’
  • ‘I don’t want to be awkward but …’

 5. Overpowering self-criticism

We are all fallible but passive people often struggle to accept that. While they may make few demands of others, they make very high, often unrealistic demands of themselves. When they fail to meet these, they often resort to extremely harsh self-criticism. If something goes wrong, they tend not to see the role played by others. Instead, they place the full blame on themselves, e.g.:

  • ‘I can’t believe that I messed that up’
  • ‘I should have been able to get that right’

 6. Self-deprecating

While many people use self-deprecation as a form of humor, passive people tend to be quite serious when they resort to it. They put themselves down at the first opportunity, over the smallest things, often to the bewilderment of anyone within earshot, e.g.:

  • ‘Could I be anymore pathetic?’
  • ‘I am so stupid’

7. Soft spoken with declining volume

Passive people are usually very soft-spoken. They tend to lack confidence both in themselves and what they have to say. Therefore, keeping their voice down helps them to avoid drawing attention to themselves. As they approach the end of what they have to say, their volume lowers and tapers off.

8. Avoiding eye contact

Avoiding eye contact is one of the most common signs of passive behavior. Due to lack of confidence, shame, guilt or a host of other negative emotions; the passive person is unable to look into the eyes of the other person. They try to look away, often at the ground, in order to avoid eye contact.

9. Discomfort

Whether with their facial expressions or their body language, passive people send clear signals of their discomfort. Even when they are trying to act confident their appearance of discomfort will be a giveaway. Learning to communicate effectively plays a big role in overcoming passive behavior.

Passive behavior is driven by your need for the approval of others. Rather than risk upsetting them, you put their preferences and needs before yours. This is not healthy behavior. It is important to have respect for others, but you will never accomplish your goals and dreams unless you learn to give them the respect they merit. Passive behavior is ineffective because there is only so much self-sacrifice you can take. Eventually you will snap, either with yourself, or with the people whom you have been trying to please. Neither of these outcomes is desirable as they can create long lasting damage to both your health and your relationships. The list above is certainly not exhaustive but it will provide you with a good idea of the behaviors which you need to be looking out for. If you find yourself displaying any of these behaviors, do not be harsh on yourself. Simply, identify the changes you need to make and make them. It will take a little time but you will become a more assertive person.

Gandhi’s 6 Rules of Leadership Needed Today A Guest Post by Cory Galbraith



He was a poor public speaker and changed his mind often. Mahatma Gandhi knew he wasn’t perfect. But he practiced a series of leadership principles which remain valid to this day. If you’re a team leader, manager or running a project – learn how Gandhi would have handled things.

1. Let your team know that you are always learning 

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

People look up to leaders who admit they don’t know it all, and are searching for answers – just like they are. By committing to continuous learning and improvement, you’re setting an example for others to never stand still. You’re also admitting that you’re human and not above learning a thing or two from your team. They’ll respect you for that.

2. Passionately articulate a clear vision of where you want things to go, then set an example by acting upon that vision

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Your vision comes from the heart. You need to let people know what success looks like when it’s achieved. You’ll be passionate about the vision because passion is contagious. That’s how people buy into a vision. They’ll also buy in if they witness you doing the things, and saying the things, needed to make the vision a reality. They’ll follow along.

3. Use your people skills, not your position

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.

Gandhi viewed the human spirit as infinitely more powerful than the deadliest weapons on earth. Just as he used non-violent means to achieve his goals, today’s leaders will be far more effective if they rely on their people skills, and not their position, to influence others and cause change. The best boss is someone who never has to say “Listen to me because I’m the boss.” It is not your title that will make your team listen to you. It’s your character, integrity and ability to care.

4. Listen twice as much as you talk

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

In business, I still see many managers doing nothing but talk. Meetings start with the boss’s view on everything – often turning into an endless tirade. Talk, talk and more talk as people feel helpless and tune out. In one-on-one meetings, these managers occasionally ask what you think, cut you off, and then keep going as though you said nothing.

A real leader spends most of her or his time listening – to the concerns of the team, their views, ideas and problems. Build a reputation for listening. Listen twice as much as you talk (for we have 2 ears and 1 mouth). You’ll be amazed at how much more influential that is, compared to talk, talk and more talk.

5. Get rid of the serious face

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.

Too many of us take ourselves way too seriously. Gandhi was not afraid to be human. In daily business life, put on a smile and be hopeful, but most importantly, be yourself – and not some fake person who is pretending to be important. The effective leader is authentic.

6. Make the “doing” of work interesting and meaningful

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.

One of the biggest challenges of anyone running a team is to make the work meaningful, fun and interesting. Even the most menial tasks can be more engaging if you turn work into a game. Set targets with rewards. Explain the “why” of work so people can connect what they’re doing with the final result. They need to know that they are important – and what they are doing is contributing to the common good.

The Gandhi brand of leadership – with its quiet persuasion – is needed now more than ever.

Ignite Your Personal Power: How to Kick Start Your Life’s Purpose A Guest Post by Deepak Chopra MD

Black Power Cord Plug close up shot
Black Power Cord Plug close up shot


Every life has a purpose, and in fact many purposes. Every day each of us is motivated to do many kinds of things. But this is different than a life which is guided by a single purpose. Accumulating many different actions during the day isn’t the same as knowing and achieving your vision. When a personal vision is found, the means to achieve it follow naturally. A clear strong vision ignites your life purpose.

There is inner motivation and outer reward. This match between inner and outer is key when it comes to finding your life purpose. Before any purpose can be activated, a personal vision comes first. The stronger your vision the more inspired you will be, and inspiration is always the strongest motivator.

How do you find your own personal vision, one that will sustain you for your entire life? For most people this question is too large and general. A vision can be personal and fulfilling without being grand or lasting a lifetime. The test that any vision must meet is the inner test. Imagine yourself pursuing your heart’s desire. Feel what it would be like inside to do this. Put as many details into this mental picture as you can. Having done this exercise, how motivated are you to take the next step? Visions expand with achievement, and to bring your vision to life requires feedback in the real world.

Many people are discouraged from pursuing their vision because they look too far ahead. This is pure imagination. A world chess champion was once asked how many moves ahead he can see. He replied, “Only one, but it’s the right one.” This standard is useful for most people. See only one move ahead, but make it the right move. Give yourself room to change tactics and make mistakes, but don’t settle for a move that doesn’t feel right. A vision isn’t about achieving a goal. It’s about expansion, evolution and inner fulfillment. You can’t reach fulfillment if each step is discouraging, difficult or a struggle. Here I’m referring to inner struggle. When you are following your own light, external difficulties become a rewarding part of the challenge. Keep in mind that every step should be a step you want to take, not a step you feel you must take.


Now let’s discuss the practicalities. These begin with your present situation. Are you partially fulfilling your life’s purpose already, or do you find yourself far from that? For most people the transition from where they are to where they want to be is a challenge. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself moving in the right direction already, then taking the next step is much easier. You can ask for advice and counsel from someone who is a step ahead of you and is going where you want to go. In a hospital for example, an orderly can speak to a nurse for advice, a nurse to an intern, an intern to a specialist, and on up the line. Looking for a mentor or guide has become a useful, practical path forward.

The more difficult challenge is to change directions completely. Let’s say that this is your situation. Two problems usually exist. “The first is a matter of security, leaving behind the safety and familiarity of your situation, even when it feels compromised. The second problem is uncertainty, wondering whether you are making the right decision to change direction. Both of these factors involve risk, and risk creates stress and anxiety. This gives us the best clue how to move forward. Make a plan that minimizes risk and stress. For example, let’s assume you want to change jobs. To do this, most people need money, emotional support, training, and experience. If you had to handle all of these at the same time, the result would be stressful and highly risky. But that’s not necessary. You can test the waters for each of these things. Training can begin with part-time courses or night school. Experience can begin with apprenticeship or becoming a volunteer. Emotional support can begin by consulting friends and family until you find someone who supports your dream. The same is true for financial support. You will know you have found a path to your life’s purpose when each step supports and encourages your inner intention. In the Indian tradition, this is known asdharma, the ability of consciousness to know, activate and support the right action. Now you have the practical way to achieve your dharma—living your life purpose in the present moment.


9 Habits of Profoundly Influential People A Guest Post by Dr. Travis Bradberry

business strategy concept infographic diagram illustration of emotional intelligence components
business strategy concept infographic diagram illustration of emotional intelligence components


Influential people have a profound impact on everyone they encounter. Yet, they achieve this only because they exert so much influence inside, on themselves.

We see only their outside.

We see them innovate, speak their mind, and propel themselves forward toward bigger and better things.

And, yet, we’re missing the best part.

The confidence and wherewithal that make their influence possible are earned. It’s a labor of love that influential people pursue behind the scenes, every single day.

And while what people are influenced by changes with the season, the unique habits of influential people remain constant. Their focused pursuit of excellence is driven by nine habits that you can emulate and absorb until your influence expands:

1. They think for themselves

Influential people aren’t buffeted by the latest trend or by public opinion. They form their opinions carefully, based on the facts. They’re more than willing to change their mind when the facts support it, but they aren’t influenced by what other people think, only by what they know.

2. They are graciously disruptive

Influential people are never satisfied with the status quo. They’re the ones who constantly ask, “What if?” and “Why not?” They’re not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, and they don’t disrupt things for the sake of being disruptive; they do it to make things better.

3. They inspire conversation

When influential people speak, conversations spread like ripples in a pond. And those ripples are multidirectional; influencers inspire everyone around them to explore new ideas and think differently about their work.

4. They leverage their networks

Influential people know how to make lasting connections. Not only do they know a lot of people, they get to know their connections’ connections. More importantly, they add value to everyone in their network. They share advice and know how, and they make connections between people who should get to know each other.

5. They focus only on what really matters

Influential people aren’t distracted by trivialities. They’re able to cut through the static and clutter, focus on what matters, and point it out to everyone else. They speak only when they have something important to say, and they never bore people with idle banter.

6. They welcome disagreement

Influential people do not react emotionally and defensively to dissenting opinions—they welcome them. They’re humble enough to know that they don’t know everything and that someone else might see something they missed. And if that person is right, they embrace the idea wholeheartedly because they care more about the end result than being right.

7. They are proactive

Influential people don’t wait for things like new ideas and new technologies to find them; they seek those things out. These early adopters always want to anticipate what’s next. They’re influential because they see what’s coming, and they see what’s coming because they intentionally look for it. Then they spread the word.

8. They respond rather than react

If someone criticizes an influential person for making a mistake, or if someone else makes a critical mistake, influential people don’t react immediately and emotionally. They wait. They think. And then they deliver an appropriate response. Influential people know how important relationships are, and they won’t let an emotional overreaction harm theirs. They also know that emotions are contagious, and overreacting has a negative influence on everyone around them.

9. They believe

Influential people always expect the best. They believe in their own power to achieve their dreams, and they believe others share that same power. They believe that nothing is out of reach, and that belief inspires those around them to stretch for their own goals. They firmly believe that one person can change the world.

Bringing It All Together

To increase your influence, you need to freely share your skills and insights, and you must be passionate in your pursuit of a greater future.

We Need to Do a Better Job Caring for 40 Million Family Caregivers A Guest Post by Howard Gleckman

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.
Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.


Family caregivers are invisible.

Those children, spouses, or other relatives who provide personal assistance to loved ones with physical or cognitive limitations are often taken for granted or even ignored. But without them, our system of long-term supports and services would collapse. Frail elders and younger people with disabilities would get sicker. Hospitalizations would increase. Medicare and Medicaid costs would explode.

There are at least 40 million family members caring for adults in the US. According to a new study by the AARP Public Policy Institute, they provided 37 billion hours of assistance in 2013, or an average of 18 hours a week. And AARP figures the economic value of that care was $470 billion. To put it another way: that’s roughly what it would cost to replace that family assistance with paid services.

Yet, we have a care system with only a vague sense that those families are there. It does little to understand their needs or what could be done to make their role easier and more effective.

Earlier this month, AARP updated its snapshot of caregivers, called Valuing The Invaluable. It builds in part on a study released in June called Caregiving in the U.S. that was done jointly by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Together, the two reports paint an important picture of those caregivers, and their enormous physical, financial, and emotional burdens.

Adult children, mostly daughters, reduce their own paid work to care for parents, at a lifetime cost that can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. They struggle to provide complex medical care with little or no training. And, yet, the physicians treating their loved ones rarely talk to them.

The Caregiving study found that only one in three family caregivers reported that a doctor, nurse, or social worker asked their advice about caring for their loved one. Just one in six caregivers said a health provider ever asked if they needed help themselves.

At a time when hospitals are focused on preventing re-admissions (thanks to Medicare penalties for those that have too many), health professionals who fail to ask these questions are ignoring key allies in their efforts to assure patients comply with, for example, post-hospitalization discharge instructions.

For instance, imagine how useful it would be for a physician to know whether an 80-year-old woman recovering from hip surgery will have transportation to her physical therapist once she returns home. Or has someone to help her take her pain pills on schedule. Or help cook her meals so she does not become malnourished.

None of this is high-tech medicine. But for the well-being of that surgery patient it can make all the difference between a good outcome and a poor one.

Similarly, if an over-burdened family caregiver crashes from the stress, the patient is highly likely to end up in a hospital or nursing home. A decline in a caregiver’s health often sends her loved one from home to a facility.

So when an adult daughter accompanies her mom to the doc, that physician could take a minute to ask the daughter how she is doing. True, she is not his patient. But knowing more about her physical and psychological state could be critical information.

Person-and family-centered care is all the rage in medicine these days. But while health professionals have learned to say the words, few really know what they mean.

As the AARP study notes, we are beginning to acknowledge the role and needs of caregivers. Thirteen states have enacted the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act that requires hospitals to take three steps for all patients: If a patient agrees, designate a caregiver at admission; notify her before the patient is discharged; and describe the tasks she will need to perform at home and provide instruction in how to do it.

In addition, 15 states now include a formal assessment of family caregivers for Medicaid recipients getting long-term supports and services at home.

These are important, though modest, steps. Slowly, policymakers are beginning to understand that in many cases, it is literally not possible for people with long-term care needs to live at home without the support of family caregivers. And they are starting to realize that hospital discharges will often fail without that family help.

We have a long way to go, but it is at least a start.


Are You Being Aggressive? 12 signs of Aggression You Need to Recognize Guest Post by Carthage Buckley

Headline Change, concept of Change
Headline Change, concept of Change



You probably think of aggression in its most violent form i.e. shouting matches and fights. Aggression actually refers to anytime that you try to get your own way without any regard for others. There are varying levels of aggression. Sometimes, it may be easy to spot aggression but quite often it is more subtle, manipulative and exploitative. When dealing with somebody who is being aggressive, the first step is to be able to recognise the aggression. The ability to recognise aggression is also essential from your own standpoint. There will be times, during discussion, when you become overheated and start to display signs of aggression. If you recognize this behavior early, you can calm yourself down and adopt a more assertive approach before any real harm is done.

12 Signs of aggression

The following are common signs of aggresssion. Not all of these signs will be displayed by each aggressive individual but familiarizing yourself with these signs will allow you to recognize the aggression quickly, and adjust your behavior accordingly.

1. It’s all about what they want or need

Aggressive people focus on themselves. Their wants and needs are all that matter and others do not get a look in. You will hear phrases such as:

  • ‘I want …’
  • ‘I need …’
  • ‘I must have …’

2. It’s all about how it affects them

When something goes wrong, or when considering potential consequences, aggressive people only consider how it impacts upon them. The impact on others is irrelevant to them. As if that’s not bad enough, if something has negative consequences for them, everybody else is expected to suffer the consequences too e.g. I once knew a girl who, every time she had  a row with her boyfriend, used to wake her entire family up so she could tell them how she had been unjustly treated.

It may seem like an extreme example but aggressive people will often attempt to turn their problem into everybody’s problem.

 3. Unwillingness to accept responsibility

Aggressive people rarely accept responsibility for the consequences they experience. There is usually someone else to be blamed. Assertive people look at a situation and attempt to identify areas where they can take responsibility and implement effective solutions. Aggressive people just look for ways to blame others so that they do not have to take any responsibility. Examples might include:

  • ‘I insulted John because he made me angry.’
  • ‘I was late because traffic was terrible’ (ignoring the fact that traffic is always terrible and he didn’t leave until the last minute)
  • ‘I asked John to do that for me. He’s clearly not up to the job.’

Occasionally, it may be appropriate to highlight how mistakes made by others contributed to a problem but you will find that aggressive people turn blaming others into an art form. They see admission of responsibility as a weakness so they go on the defensive.

4. They believe their opinion is fact

For assertive communication to take place, it is important to be able to differentiate between opinion and facts. You may offer a suggestion or thoughts on something which has happened. In most circumstances, this should be fine. Aggressive people take it one step further. They assert their opinion as fact which is telling others that their opinions are irrelevant e.g.

  • ‘This is what went wrong …’
  • ‘This is what we have to do …’
  • ‘That won’t work …’
  • ‘That is/was stupid …’

5. Aggressive enquiries

When making inquiries or requests of others, it is best to approach them with an openness which invites them to offer their view. Aggressive people use their aggressive behavior to close off that avenue before the other person gets a chance to respond. Aggressive questions are usually short, to the point and asked with a strong tone of voice e.g.

  • ‘What do you think you are doing?’
  • ‘Why did you do that?’

Some of these aggressive questions can be difficult to recognise. If asked in the middle of a conversation, they may be useful questions. However, if asked at the beginning of the conversation, their purpose is to control the conversation and prevent the other person from offering their view.

6.Aggressive demands

Aggressive demands occur when every opportunity is made to prevent the other person from declining the request. This is often done via threats e.g.

  • ‘If you do not do this …’
  • ‘You need to do this or …’

You also need to beware of the people who are a little more subtle with their demands e.g. those who appear to ask a favor but walk away before you respond. These people are not giving you the opportunity to decline. This is a more subtle form of aggression.

7. Undermining

Some aggressive people resort to undermining others to make them self look better by comparison. There are many ways to undermine but they usually involve either putting the other person into a difficult position in order to highlight a weakness or ridicule them; or, they often use subtle tactics to suggest that the person is not up to the job. Their aim is to erode other people’s confidence in the individual they are undermining. If they can erode that person’s confidence in themselves, they may see that as a bonus. Some examples of undermining behavior include:

  • Pulling out of a presentation/meeting at the last minute and leaving the other person to deliver it unprepared.
  • Rather than ask a subordinate if they have completed their work, the manager emails all of the people they carry out work for to ask if the work has been completed.
  • Asking others to perform tasks for which they are not suitable and failing to provide the necessary support.

8. Manipulative advice giving

In reality, this is not advice giving. This is telling people what to do and attempting to disguise it as advice. The recipient is not expected to disagree or voice an opinion. They are expected to follow the “advice” and be grateful for it. Examples include:

  • ‘If I were you …’
  • ‘The best thing for you to do would be …’

9. Rapid speech

Aggressive people speak fast with little or no pauses. They are determined to get their point across and have no desire to let the other person offer their input.  They want total control of the conversation and are determined that the other person will hear what they have to say.

10. Loud voice with emphasised blame

Aggressive people are determined to be heard. They wish to send a clear signal to others that they are speaking and they will not be talked over or talked down. Although already loud, they tend to place extra emphasis on the parts of their speech where they place the blame on others.

11. Aggressive talking; defensive listening

This refers to the body language that they adopt during their bout of aggression. When talking they will likely lean forward. They may point, remonstrate, gesticulate etc. However, when the other person is speaking they will adopt a more defensive posture e.g. crossing their arms.

12. Intense eye contact

If you cannot work out whether someone is staring at you, or staring through you, you are looking at someone who is full of aggression. At that moment in time, they believe that you are the source of all of their problems. They are in fight mode, and in fight mode you don’t take your eyes off of your opponent.

The best way to overcome aggression, whether it is you or somebody else who is the aggressor, is to learn to communicate effectively.

Communication and interpersonal relationships work best when both parties come together from a position of respect and attempt to find workable solutions which meet the needs of both parties. While it is not always possible to meet the needs of both parties, starting off seeking mutual benefit makes it easier to achieve an acceptable compromise. Aggression ignores this approach. Aggression occurs when one party has no regard for the other. They are only concerned with having their own needs met and have little concern for how that might affect others. Aggression is a source of unnecessary conflict and causes lasting damage to relationships. Being familiar with the signs of aggressive behavior will help you to recognize when you, or someone whom you are in discussion with, is being aggressive. You will then be able to adjust your behavior to manage the situation more appropriately and to prevent unnecessary conflict.

10 Life Lessons You Will Only Understand After Failing A Guest Post by Carl Preston

the best vision is insight phrase  on a vintage slate blackboard
the best vision is insight phrase on a vintage slate blackboard


One thing that we all need to learn from a young age, is how overrated failing actually is. It’s a big problem for many of us to fail and can seemingly be life changing. However, failure is a key part of developing as a person and will usually require you to go through a suitably challenging experience to get to the stage where you really start to feel the price of failure hitting you.

If you want to keep yourself on the straight and narrow and learn about life, consider the following lessons that only become clear after you’ve failed;

Failing Isn’t THAT Bad

The first lesson that you will learn that failing really isn’t that big of a deal. Sure, it will hurt on the day but you can quickly get over failure and bounce back. It’s all about being able to get into the mindset that failure isn’t that big a deal. You can always pass again in the future, and you will know what mistakes you made. Passing when you had no real right to is far less beneficial to you than failing when you were supposed to – it’ll help you learn more and prepare even better.

Admit Your Failures

A key life lesson is being able to hold up those hands and admit that you got it wrong. It’s hard to do and many of us aren’t willing to it, but being able to do so is a vital part of becoming a more rounded, engaging person.

You Need To Change, Not The World

Many of us will blame everything else around us that we possibly can for our own failures; the reality is, though, that your failures are caused by yourself and yourself only! You need to be prepared to make serious changes to succeed.

Chase The Dream

The worst thing that you can do is get used to the idea that failure = boredom and mediocrity. Failure should work as the ground floor for your ambitions to take off and have you chasing after the things in life that you seek and desire most.

Nobody Knows Everything

You might know a few people who claim they do, but nobody on this planet is an expert at everything. What you failed at might just not be for you – there’s no shame in that. Get used to failure and not being the genius, it’s very common!

Learn From Those Mistakes

The main lesson you will learn from failing, though, is that you will need to learn from those mistakes to go again and be a success in another part of the world or at something else entirely. With our help, you can easily forge the kind of path that you need to start today; you just need to be willing to show a bit of humility and accept that you need to learn from your previous mistakes.

Time Is Gold

You will soon learn that running around helping CEO A and MD B isn’t worth your time. If you want to be noticed in this world you need to do it through taking action. Treat your team as a rare commodity that nobody else should have a demand over; time is precious, and is your biggest asset.

Push The Boundaries

Many of us think we are trying but in reality we are just getting started. To make sure you can push yourself though you need to taste the bruising feeling of defeat first and foremost to understand just what we need to do when we want to succeed.

Never Shut Up

Failure comes from being meek and not being clinical with what you think and what you want to tell people. To get over this problem you need to speak your mind, be forceful, and never let anyone else set the agenda for you. Take the time that you need to learn how to assert yourself; it’s only possible through seeing your meekness cause you various problems.

Enjoy The Ride!

The last thing you need to do in this world is inhibit yourself. Enjoy the ride that you are on regardless; this is something that failure will teach you moving forward, making your life much more comfortable.