What is Aggressive Behaviour?

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What is aggressive behaviour? Aggression, being aggressive or demonstrating aggressive behaviour is a description that we use to describe the visible behaviours that another person demonstrates. The behaviour is often described alongside other types of behaviour such as passive behaviour, passive-aggressive behaviour and assertive behaviour.

What is Aggressive Behaviour?

Aggressive behaviour is normally a gut-based or natural reaction to an internal or external event that triggers an emotional feeling which results in aggressive behaviour being demonstrated. There is no 'fixed list' of traits that would define aggressive behaviour and therefore help us to ultimately answer the question of what is aggressive behaviour.

There are some general traits though which are demonstrated through the 3 main elements that we use to communicate - body language, voice and words.

What is Aggressive Behaviour - Assertiveness Skills Training Course - Revolution Learning and Development

Aggressive Body Language

Examples of aggressive body language may include:

  • Sharp, angular gestures - making gestures that are not smooth, for example chopping hands, banging one fist against an open hand, finger-pointing or waving fists
  • Space invading - getting too close to someone else
  • Eyeballing - intense eye contact or staring
  • Frowning - clenching the eyes together and tightening the lips

Aggressive Voice

  • Examples of aggressive voice may include:
  • Loud - shouting or voice raised above its normal level
  • Forceful - directive and demanding
  • Sneering - growling or sniggering while speaking

Aggressive Words

  • Stop It
  • Don’t
  • Won’t
  • Can’t
  • Do it NOW
  • It’s your fault
  • You Always

Common Aggressive Mis-Conceptions

While the above behaviours are very general and would be widely recognised by most, aggression doesn't always have to be loud and in your face. Being overly directive or instructive or too action-orientated could also be perceived as being aggressive. As could being defensive or argumentative/standing your ground.

The issue is that because it's behavioural, something you may deem to be not aggressive may actually be perceived as being aggressive by someone else.

The Alternative to Aggression

If you find that you are aggressive or have been provided with some feedback that you are too aggressive then looking at alternative types of behaviour to get your message across will be very beneficial to you. For example, assertiveness is a great behaviour to master. Often misunderstood in that only passive people need to be more assertive, assertiveness can help you to communicate in a direct, confident and clear way which tends to get results, maintains relationships and generates 2-way respect.

Further Learning

If you would like to learn more about aggressive behaviour and the question of what is aggressive behaviour then attending an Assertiveness Skills training course can help. Take a look at Assertiveness Training from our training partner Revolution Learning and Development Ltd.


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