Avoiding passive aggressive behavior at work

Posted on: September 29, 2008

Communication at work is generally of 4 types:

1. Passive communication

2. Aggressive communication

3.Passive aggressive communication

4. Assertive communication
Passive communication is a style whereby an employee operates from the backbench, tends to avoid conflicts and stays away from the risk of upsetting his/her colleagues. It results in lose-win situation and brings about feelings of victimization and loss of control. However an aggressive person uses his power, control and intimidation to get his needs met. He is disrespectful and hurtful towards others and emphasizes on a win-lose situation. However a passive aggressive person incorporates elements from both the previous mentioned styles. He tends to be more forgetful, procrastinates  and intentional inefficiency. He cannot be direct in his communication with others and makes excuses for his inefficiency. Passive aggressive behavior is nothing else but simply indirect aggression. You can avoid this kind of behavior in your workplace by speaking up and speaking out. If you let the passive aggressive person know that you will not be manipulated this time, then you can stop him from scheming.

Always be calm with a passive aggressive person and refute him with power phrases like ‘that sounded sarcastic .did you mean that?’ passive aggressive individuals are back stabbers in the literal sense. They can make difficult for you while pretending that nothing is going wrong. Always have witnesses in case of discussions with a passive aggressive person. He is likely to deny an incident when someone other than you can stand for its occurrence. Also keep all the work with the passive aggressive person in writing. This will safeguard your interests and deter him from proving you incompetent. You may not be able to change such a person but can protect yourself by using strategies and reducing your dependence on this individual.

Carlos Todd, LPC


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