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Mortified at being called aggressive !!

27 replies

lollipoprainbow · 17/09/2022 13:33

I've always been a very quiet person and get on with my work quietly and diligently. Our workplace has recently merged with another one and so I have a new boss who is based off site, we have teams meetings weekly with another team member. Things haven't been going well since we merged, there is a much heavier workload and I've had to learn new ways of working which I don't mind to a degree but one aspect of it I find over the top and ridiculous and moreorless voiced this in our team meeting this week. I found myself asking why we had to do everything her way and it was so unlike me to be like this, she shut me down and told me she would talk to me after the meeting, then told me I had been slightly aggressive and unprofessional in the team meeting. I have always got on very well with her and wish now I had kept quiet. I feel so stupid and embarrassed. It's playing on my mind all the time even though we have talked since and she is fine. How can I move past this.

OP posts:
monkeysox · 17/09/2022 13:34

I'm sure you weren't rude. You are just sticking up for yourself

lollipoprainbow · 17/09/2022 13:35

@monkeysox I felt my voice rising which is so unlike, I think she was shocked as I don't usually voice my opinion.

OP posts:
Billybagpuss · 17/09/2022 13:36

Is she senior to you?

if something seems inefficient you either need to know why it should be that way (legal requirements etch or you need to feel safe to be able to raise things and suggest a more effective process.

jays · 17/09/2022 13:36

Aw poor you, please try and be nicer to yourself. You don’t sound like you were being any of these things at all! You sound like you were voicing a valid opinion and she’s trying to shame you into silence and quite frankly gaslight you into believing you were out of order when you weren’t. No embarrassment required on your part. Watch her like a hawk, she sounds toxic. You done nothing wrong!

jetadore · 17/09/2022 13:41

When women are assertive we are usually dismissed as being aggressive. Only you can really judge whether you were being assertive or aggressive, but either way as you say it’s “not like you” to speak out it could be worth reading up on and practicing how to communicate in an assertive way to avoid further issues.

Luredbyapomegranate · 17/09/2022 13:50

Don’t worry about it, it’s not a big thing.

Being a very quiet person who never expresses an opinion is not a nice way to live. You are probably fed up with it. When you first start to assert yourself you have to learn to manage it. It doesn’t sound like you were really aggressive but criticising your boss in a general meeting probably isn’t the best way to get what you want.

She has probably just put it down to you getting used to the new system.

Do some reading on how to make yourself effectively heard, otherwise forget it.

lollipoprainbow · 17/09/2022 14:19

She's so lovely and has been so kind and accommodating for all my leave requests, childcare issues etc much more than my old boss, that's why I feel so awful. I don't want her to think badly of me .

OP posts:
EndTheMonacyNow · 17/09/2022 14:26

It depends exactly what you said but if it was just 'why do we have to do everything your way' I think it could sound unprofessional and possibly a bit petulant. It might have been better give actual examples (and solutions.?). Maybe you already did that though.
Sexism is alive and kicking in the workplace though. Men lead and are assertive but women complain and are bossy. Apparently 😡

girlmom21 · 17/09/2022 14:30

She's told you you behaved aggressively because she prefers it when you shut up and put up.

Aprilx · 17/09/2022 14:33

I definitely agree that women speaking up can be labelled aggressive where a man would be called assertive.

But there is a but and speaking up to say “why do we have to do it your way” does come across as unprofessional and sorry but quite childish. It would have been better to have said something like “I have a suggestion, perhaps we try it this way instead” or something along those lines.

CalmdownCampers · 17/09/2022 14:38

Assertiveness really is hard to ascertain I think. Once you can hear your voice rising, you have overstepped into aggression as should not have to be louder, to be heard

Mate, do not worry about your boss. She sounds over it and good for you for saying how you feel

Ohsugarhoneyicetea · 17/09/2022 14:40

Might have been wiser to raise your concern to her in a one to one, rather than in front of the team - especially using terms like over the top and ridiculous. She is new to the role and probably found it undermining, whereas raised separately she could have changed things without losing face. With regards to having to do things 'her way' - that is somewhat implicit in the manager/subordinate role. Managing upwards is a skill that is well worth developing.

pilates · 17/09/2022 14:43

Without being there it is hard to say but is it a way of shutting you down?

RoseslnTheHospital · 17/09/2022 14:53

It's the "why do we always have to do it your way" that sounds unprofessional and as previous posters have said, childish. If you used the words "over the top" and "ridiculous" that also won't have helped.

If you want to suggest a change in process you need to outline your replacement process and highlight where it is more efficient/quicker/gets better results than the current way. Instead of "over the top" and "ridiculous" you could say "unnecessarily complex and involved". Take the emotive words out of the criticism.

Keepgoing88 · 17/09/2022 15:14

OP I feel your pain! I still remember once when I was in my twenties being called aggressive in a group setting and I’ve never been called that and didn’t think I was at all, I don’t know why but it really cut through me and I was really mortified! Not sure why as I’ve been called other things before as have most of us I imagine and it hasn’t got to me as much as being called aggressive! Never been called it before that or since !

gatehouseoffleet · 17/09/2022 15:19

jetadore · 17/09/2022 13:41

When women are assertive we are usually dismissed as being aggressive. Only you can really judge whether you were being assertive or aggressive, but either way as you say it’s “not like you” to speak out it could be worth reading up on and practicing how to communicate in an assertive way to avoid further issues.

This. I bet you wouldn't have been accused of being aggressive if you were male.

Women are meant to be seen and not heard, especially once over about 35-40.

However, I agree there are ways to express things. When you are irritated things come out the wrong way - that's why we were told to count to 10 as kids. I agree with Roses' less emotional reformulation.

gatehouseoffleet · 17/09/2022 15:20

With regards to having to do things 'her way' - that is somewhat implicit in the manager/subordinate role

It depends really. Managers should not micromanage and they should trust their staff to do the job they are paid to do. Especially if they are new to the role or they have taken on a new team. Of course it depends on the context.

Doingmybest12 · 17/09/2022 15:45

I am a quiet person and will usually only speak up if I feel really strongly about something. I do wonder sometimes if I can sound a bit snippy because I am usually at that point where I am totally fed up or frustrated before adding my opinion. Also don't like the limelight so add in a bit of self consciousness and I think it sounds a bit like I care about it too much sometimes, a bit emotional. I notice it in my sibling and can hear the same in myself.

ChateauxNeufDePoop · 17/09/2022 15:47

If you literally just said "why do we always have to do it your way?" with no suggestion as to any other way or how another way might be better then whilst it may not have been aggressive it's not great - complainers without solutions can be a pain.

(Unless you did in fact offer constructive criticism and she just wanted to shut you down)

Angelinflipflops · 17/09/2022 15:50

I always associate aggression with violence so I would say that a completely inappropriate use of the word.

Booklover3 · 17/09/2022 15:54

I doubt you were aggressive… probably just fed up!

lollipoprainbow · 17/09/2022 16:25

@Doingmybest12 that's exactly how I feel. I let things bottle up and then blurt things out. I keep replaying the conversation in my mind and wishing I had left it for our 121 after the meeting. She had asked the teams opinion on something though and I pointed out that our way of doing things has worked really well in the past. She's generally only interested in her way of doing things but I guess as a manger of a team that's her prerogative.

OP posts:
StripeyDeckchair · 17/09/2022 16:29

Telling a woman she is aggressive is usually a tactic used by men to put them down and belittle them.
It is almost always sexist and misogynist; men who put forward their point of view, cone up with new ideas, disagree or challenge the chair in meetings are decisive, ambitious, analytical etc whilst women are aggressive or combative

Where women use these tactics it's often been learned from their male managers. Any organisation where they are used tends to be unhealthy, especially if they are widespread.

I've been on the receiving end of toxic management tactics in the past. Now I'm a senior manager in an organisation that has a strong ethos of implementing and supporting ethically work practices & has a strong staff wellbeing programme. We spend too much time at work to put up with crap mangers or working practices.

jay55 · 17/09/2022 16:37

If you're usually quiet and keep your mouth shut. Then I expect you have a really good point about the processes you're questioning.

Don't let that get lost admits and kerfuffle about your tone.

jay55 · 17/09/2022 16:38


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