Passive Aggressive Behaviors, Active Threat in the Workplace

Passive aggressiveness is an action to express a negative attitude to retort or against something a person is unsatisfied with. It can be called “Silently Stubborn” or “Angry Smile” I also used to be passive-aggressive whether to my parents, siblings, co-workers, or my lover. For instance, I was playing a game and my mom call me to hang the laundry. I told her “Hang on a sec.” and continued playing the game for another two hours. Or at work, we had a meeting, and I didn’t agree with that project, I chose to stay silent and talked about it again behind someone’s back. (which is not a good example) I bet you can get a sense of it now. Next, I will explain what people with passive-aggressiveness are like in detail.

1. Express through their talk

            For instance, talk behind, talk negatively or scoffingly, and offensive jokes, which they might disguise it as they said: “just kidding”. They might comment on things that are not fit their expectation by adding their expectation in their comment. (e.g. “It’s better if they do it this way.”)

2. Express through the relation-related actions

They might intentionally stay silent, walk away or pretend the target person does not exist. Apart from those, they could be social exclusion, doing something behind, engaging in double-dealing, or intending to create disharmony. They try to hurt the target indirectly using relationships between people or aim to target’s significant others. For example, inviting everyone to eat except the target, befriending the target’s friend to make him or her feel lonely in the workplace, or even creating hatred between the target and co-workers.

3. Express through work responsibility.

They aim to affect the target by Starting procrastination, stopping some projects without reason, forgetting, or neglecting their work.

4. Against the target by punishing themselves.

They tend to intendedly fail in order to make themselves look pitiful, pretend to be exaggerated sick, or play the victim. They might depend too much on others, do drugs, hurt themselves, and show their vulnerable side to get sympathy from others.

Passive aggressive behaviors in the workplace can ruin a good working environment. They also create uncomfort and unnecessary stress between co-workers. These are steps for talking whenever passive aggressive behaviors occur in the workplace.

1. Have a private talk.

Talking with them privately and frankly to the point that they want to utter. This will benefit all parties involved.

2. Ask how they feel.

Passive aggressiveness in the workplace is about the feeling they have toward the situation or people involved. Try asking how they are feeling then talk about those feelings.

3. Talk in a small group.

You may gather people involved in that situation and let them share their thought about the current situation. Letting them express how they are feeling can relieve the discomfort or stress of the situation to some extent.

Passive aggressive behavior can destroy relationships both in the short run and long run. If these occur in the workplace they will create an uncomfortable atmosphere even though you are not the target of these behaviors. If you want good relationships in the workplace, you should use positive attitudes in communication. That is how you can create a good working environment.