Communication Patterns During Job

To become an effective communicator, a medical assistant must understand the different communication styles. These styles include:
● passive
● passive-aggressive
● assertive
● aggressive.


People who are passive come across to others as weak and submissive.They commonly lack self-confidence and usually defer to others, while keeping their own opinions and needs to themselves. Passive patients may be too embarrassed to admit they are confused and too reluctant to ask questions or seek clarification. As a result, they might leave the office feeling frustrated with unmet needs. A passive medical assistant lacks the confidence needed to ask the physician questions and advocate for her patients when the need arises. The passive communication pattern is sometimes described as a “lose-win” pattern, which means the individual sacrifices her needs in order to defer to the needs of others. However, in reality, neither party wins.


People who have a passive-aggressive communication style usually present themselves in a passive manner. However, this presentation is actually an attempt to manipulate others by deferring initially but then seeking revenge or finding ways to meet their needs by undermining others. They are commonly critical and sarcastic behind the backs of those people to whom they behave passively. They seek control through indirect means, such as sabotage, procrastination, stubbornness, or feigning forgetfulness. Such behaviors may be conscious or unconscious. For example, a passive-aggressive person who is afraid to say “no” when asked to work late and close the office, might later “get revenge” by “forgetting” end-of-shift duties and leaving them for the morning shift. Also, a person who behaves nicely when talking with a supervisor might then be critical of the supervisor to
coworkers. A simple way to describe the passive-aggressive communication style is that it is a pseudo (false) lose-win style. Because the person defers her needs to the needs of others in the short-term but then seeks revenge, she ultimately undermines everyone.


People who are assertive come across as clear, professional, and articulate. They are not afraid to share their opinion or to speak up and ask for help. Even so, they are able to keep their feelings and opinions to themselves when common sense and professionalism dictate. An assertive medical assistant understands that her priority at work is to meet the needs of her patients and her physician employers, which sometimes means that her own needs take a back seat. She is willing to listen to the opinions and ideas of others and is interested in learning and growing on a personal and professional level. A simple way to describe the assertive communication style is that it is win-win. An assertive communicator understands how to attend to the needs of others without completely sacrificing herself in the process. She is able to set appropriate limits with others when necessary and attend to her own self-care needs, while keeping her professional focus where it belongs: on the patient.


People who are aggressive come across to others as angry, pushy, bossy, selfish, or insensitive. They rarely hesitate to voice their opinions, regardless of the situation. They disregard the feelings and opinions of others in order to get their own needs met. A medical assistant who is aggressive is not afraid to speak up and advocate on behalf of her patients when she recognizes the need. Unfortunately, because of her insensitivity, she can miss subtle but important cues from her patients (and everyone else) and commonly ends up offending or otherwise alienating others. In defense of aggressive communicators, most of them have no idea how aggressive they are. Rather, they usually view themselves as being assertive and commonly think they are great communicators. Sadly, they are the only ones who think so. A simple way to describe the aggressive communication style is that it is win-lose. These people are so concerned with getting their own needs met that they commonly do it at the expense of others.