In this article, I’m gonna talk to you about passive aggression in the workplace.
How do you deal with those passive aggressive coworkers?
It’s a very common behavior. And also something we can call an unhealthy habit.
You see, it’s one of the things that you can just ignore sometimes.
But slowly, it gets worse. And when it gets worse, it can kill your productivity.
Now, basically, passive aggression is when you can’t express your anger upfront.
But, you show it in less obvious ways.
Okay, so, what are these less obvious ways, what are the red flags?
I can tell you, based from my experience, there’s a lot.
Passive aggressive coworkers are usually like this,
They have this habit of avoiding interaction. They wait too long before replying to your emails. Or they ignore it altogether.
But if you ask them, if you confront them about it, they’ll say everything’s fine.
If you’re leading a project, they might avoid tasks. They might ignore directions from you.
And usually, these people, you’d either find them gossiping or complaining.
Okay, so anyway, why is passive aggression so common in the workplace?
Well, it’s not just because some people are non-confrontational.
You see, in most workplaces, you’re expected to professional. That’s a given.
But sometimes this makes it hard for people to express themselves.
Especially when hierarchy is in the picture.
You see, it’s great if your office has an open-communication policy,
But if you work in a very formal setup that doesn’t really encourage feedback,
Then you might get this impression that showing negative feelings is unacceptable. Especially if it’s towards your manager or someone in the authority.
Or, if it’s towards a coworker, that it just makes you look unprofessional.
And then, here’s another thing,
These days, it’s just so easy to be passive aggressive when you have email, when you have all these messaging apps you use at work.
I think, in one way or another, we’ve all been guilty.
We’ve all been passive aggressive at work even once.
And sometimes, it’s also because the workplace inevitably encourages it.
So anyway, how do you deal with this?
First of all, here’s the one thing you should remember here,
This situation, it’s not one of those times when you should call out bad behavior.
It’s not one of those times when you fight fire with fire.
It’s better to take the high road than to give them a reason to blame you.
And besides, you can’t really get someone fired for being passive aggressive.
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It’s about how he win over his failure and rose again.
Anyway, let’s move on.
One thing you can do is to make them accountable. And not just to you, but to the team.
For example, your manager asked you to lead a project with the team, then you notice one of your teammates has this habit.
He just doesn’t follow though.
Let’s say he agreed to discuss his ideas in the next team meeting.
Then on the day of the meeting, he’s just clueless. And he has all these reasons why he’s not prepared.
So, for example, the same thing goes on for three weeks straight. You’ll just never finish that project!
Here’s what you can do, it’s pretty simple.
In meetings, see to it that someone’s taking notes. It could be you, or another team member.
Write down what was agreed on. Who’s doing what. When’s the deadline.
This way, you can help the team be more productive.
And you’ll make the passive aggressive coworker accountable to all.
Alright, so, the next thing you can do is this,
When you’re talking to this passive aggressive coworker,
You can pick better words to use.
For example, instead of saying “you”, you could say “we.”
That way it sounds more productive and less personal.
Instead of saying “You need to do better at this..”,
You could say, “Hey, we have a few things we can work on..”
See what I mean? It takes ego out of the conversation.
Now, another important thing you can consider here is this. Empathy.
Try to see what’s behind the passive aggressive behavior.
It could be because they’re just afraid of confrontation.
Or maybe you come off as too intimidating and you just don’t know it.
You see, most of the time there’s a bigger issue.
You can do it this way,
Try to engage them. Try to relate.
Focus on what they’re saying and not how they say it.
Sometimes, a passive aggressive coworker just can’t speak out,
It could be because of hierarchy. Or office culture.
Just try to hear them out.
Okay, but what if it gets too far?
Just like with workplace bullying, here’s the time when you get help.
Usually, your manager can help your team set boundaries.
If coworkers are just missing deadlines deliberately,
Then your manager can stop giving them leeway,
Work out new rules that everyone has to follow.
So, there will always be passive aggressive coworkers. The good news is, you don’t need to fight them off. It’s just gonna take a proactive approach. It’s gonna take open communication.
Alright, so, that’s it.