There are three fundamental communication styles:
Each of us has a preference, and we’re capable of switching to another, as appropriate.
We are sometimes unaware, however, of how others perceive us. You may think you’re being appropriately assertive, but a more sensitive or resentful coworker may perceive you to be aggressive.
Add to the mix gender differences, our personal agendas, and it’s easy to see how communications breakdown and breed conflict. I see this happen all the time in organizations. It’s hard to know how we come across with the language and tone of voice we’re so accustomed to using.