The balance of being an assertive leader without being too aggressive or too passive is hard to ascertain…
A senior executive, whom I serve, was talking with me about how to communicate this principle to his leadership team. He said, "It is important to know how to be in the room and demonstrate value without dominating. You need to have a ‘subtle awareness’ of what's going on in the moment."
Very few leaders possess this "subtle awareness." I find myself getting caught up in the moment of a meeting or relationship and losing the ability to effectively navigate the situation in real time. When I am not aware, I tend to respond out of emotion or impulsivity, which rarely results in a positive outcome.
If we are not careful, we find ourselves spending energy trying to "claim our territory" instead of responding with wisdom and discernment. Conversely, being too quiet in a meeting or relationship can imply that you are not interested, incompetent, or simply checked out of the conversation.
Finding that balance is difficult and takes time, experience, and skill. It can be found in seasoned, successful leaders who know when to lead and when to listen. Choose to develop a "subtle awareness" of what is happening in the moment, and you will make a difference!