Passive Agression in the Workplace


Passive agression in the workplace has to be one of the most frustrating forms of aggravation and stress there is. Political correctness rules, and so, many issues are glossed over or worse, discussed with other employees behind the offenders back.  Situations are made worse, employee moral is chipped away gradually until one day it all backfires and there is an all-out staff meltdown.

Psychology Today states procrastination, and stalling are all classic passive aggressive tactics at work. How many times did you take time off, and a colleague states to a supervisor within earshot “I would have preferred that week for vacation, but we didn’t firm up plans until now” Perhaps vacation plans could have been part of a casual discussion prior to committing to dates? Being PRO-active rather than RE-active might have avoided the entire situation. A little conversation goes a long way. Passive aggressive-types omit giving out information until the last moment, or claim they didn’t know. 

This is not something that just appears at the workplace, it has been a learned habit over time. These same people are the students of the dreaded “group project”, the one that never pulls their weight in the group, the one that brings the entire grade down because of lack of enthusiasm, or falls short of their end of the work applied. No, this type of personality thrives on political correctness to escape all blame, all responsibility for trashing situations. The professors in this case, merely blame the other students for their lack of leadership skills, as you see this is a life lesson that must be learned in school. 

The way to foil this kind of behavior is to address the situation as it happens, don’t let it fester, don’t talk to other staff. There is extensive information, links and references in this article by Signe Whitson. 

Passive agressive behavior is unacceptable, in the workplace, in school, at home. Politeness, and political correctness do not necessarily mean that a person has to subjugated to bad behavior of others. Talk things over, confront the issue head on. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but in a long run the health of the employees and your workplace will be better off. A good supervisor will be tuned into this right away, clearing the way for a more serene and happy workplace so everyone can do their best daily.

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