Assertiveness and Likeability

… a core concept in Communication Skills and Atlas 109

Concept description

Garry Orren emphasizes that, contrary to the common understanding, assertiveness and likeability and are not two ends of the same dimension, but rather two dimensions.

Orren states that we like people who are similar to us and who are like us, that is, who are positive, respectful, appreciative, and empathetic.

Orren displays the false choice between assertiveness and likeability as follows:

The false choice in the conventional understanding
that assertiveness and likeability are two ends of the same dimension

Highly Assertive <——————> Likeable/Emotionally Intelligent

Assertiveness
Likeability/Emotional Intelligence
Standing up for your views and principles

Strong

Conviction

Decisive

High standards

Analytical

Focus on the argument, the data (logos oriented)

Empathetic

Listening

Concern for process and interpersonal relationships

Respectful

Care and concern

Appreciative

Complimentary

Positive/upbeat

A 2×2 matrix to illustrate Orren’s two dimensions
of assertiveness and likeability

     Low ← Assertiveness →  High

High

Likeability

Low

Low assertiveness

High likeability

High assertiveness

High likeability

Low assertiveness

Low likeability

Low assertiveness

High likeability

Source

Gary Orren, PowerPoint presentation in 2005 to the Mortgage Bankers Association, Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Communication, accessed 17 January 2016.

Normed topic and synthetic course with which the concept is primarily associated

This concept is primarily associated with the core normed topic Practices of Persuasion and is included in the synthetic course outline Atlas109 Leadership and Communication Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 12 February 2016.

Image: Harvard Business Review, at https://hbr.org/2015/03/empathy-is-key-to-a-great-meeting, accessed 20 January 2016.