6 Ways To Manage Passive Aggressive’s At Work - Passive aggressive behavior can be very difficult to self-manage, as the person has most likely been rewarded by acting this way for a long time. (gained that simple pleasure of stopping your goals and watching you sit in extreme frustration). Expecting this behavior to go away overnight is perhaps setting you up for failure. However, if you don’t manage it, it will only escalate.
Backstabbing? Sarcasm? Blaming others? Lame excuses? Dragging
behind on projects? Overly sweet? A coworker guarantee she will be somewhere
and never show up, without a word about it?
I think you get the picture; Passive aggressive behavior is
prevalent in so many workplaces and many of us are not dealing well with it. In
fact, we are furious!
It may feel like
there is no way to get around this frustrating behavior and is even worse when
you rely on them as a team member.
Let’s start by identifying how a passive
A passive aggressive
often is outwardly calm and patient, actively complies with the needs and
desires of others, but in reality passively resists them. They rarely disagree
with you because they are afraid of reprisal by addressing you directly.
Through this process, the passive aggressive becomes negative, resentful, angry
If the passive-aggressives in your workplace seem out of control,
here are 6 ways to change a passive aggressive’s behavior at work.
IDENTIFY THE BEHAVIORS FIRST: Watch the person
carefully to define the behavior that is making you uncomfortable. Rather
than be irritated, look beyond how you feel and investigate what happened
and how it happened.
always noticed a pattern, not always though have you been able to put your
finger on it.
Put your finger on
this one, it is crucial before you continue to step 2.
CALL IT OUT: Talk to your fellow worker about the behavior you have
recognized and ask how you can help.
Tell Them: “Your words are inconsistent with
“From now on, I am going to trust your actions before your words, until
the two start to match up.”
Be clear with your expectations so
all requests are as concrete as possible. It can be helpful to ask for a
restatement to make sure you have been heard correctly.
If they have complaints or
offenses with merit, acknowledge them. Restate them to make sure your
understanding is clear, and ask for what the person needs to remedy the
DOCUMENT IT: Put all of your communication
in writing, even to the point of having the passive-aggressive coworker sign
agreements so they can't back out later.
GET WITNESSES: Speak to the passive
aggressive employee or coworker in front of others when using the call-out
phase (#2). Also, enlist the help of your superiors if your own efforts do not
INCLUDE IN EVALUATIONS: Incorporate discussion of
acceptable workplace behavior in team meetings and evaluations. Make sure
company policy backs you up.
Expect specific results and clearly communicate that you do. Don't accept,
excuse, or reward poor performance. This is crucial for you to model consistent
ISSUE AN ULTIMATUM: When the passive aggressive
behavior feels like it is not stopping or is getting out of control; state: “This
behavior will stop or else…” encourage the person to seek outside help or be
Don’t expect or want
anything important, fundamental, or vital from passive aggressive people
until they change their behaviors on a consistent basis.
If they say they will
bring the report on time, follow the steps above – step one is to document
the times, their responses, etc. to cover yourself.
If you are in a
relationship with one, stop depending on them for the areas they are not
“showing up” for. Take care of yourself first, you will be far less
disappointed and start living your life whether they want to share it with
you or not.
Admittedly, we all manifest passive aggressive behavior at some
time or another.
My goal is to increase
your awareness and provide practical tools to stop its debilitating power in
your workplace. May you always communicate with CLASS
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