Passive Agressiveness Behaviour

 In Anti-Bullying, Behaviour

What Is Passive Aggressive Behaviour

Passive aggression is an intentional, but covert expression of anger. Passive aggression is a deliberate, yet covert way of expressing anger.

Is It Possible to Spread Passive Aggressive Behaviour?

Many things at work can trigger strong emotions. Many emotions are involved in the pursuit of professional or personal goals, self-worth and self-esteem. But what about Passive Aggressive Behaviour? Is it ok in the workplace?

Professional communication can be complicated. Sometimes honest responses and candid evaluations can feel unprofessional. Some Behaviour can be regarded as harassing or intimidating. They may even be in violation of workplace policies. Indirect issues can flourish from this type of behaviour. Depending on the situation, the behaviour may spread and be detrimental to others in the workplace.

Anti-Bullying Training Sydney Brisbane Melbourne Perth Adelaide Canberra Geelong ParramattaHow to Identify Passive Aggressive Behaviour

People who are passive-aggressive may pretend to be happy and say that everything is fine. You can usually spot their subtly contradicting words.

Passive-aggressive individuals have a negative outlook on their work environment and complain about their coworkers. They often downplay or ignore the achievements of others, instead of giving praise where it is due. You might also find them using sarcasm to attack others (pretending they are joking), and spreading harmful rumors. Another passive-aggressive behaviour that is common is being disruptive. Sometimes, you might delegate a task that the team member doesn’t want or need to do. He then fails to complete it and leaves it until the very last minute. He might try to avoid his responsibilities by taking a sick leave right before a presentation as a way of “retaliation”. People who are passive-aggressive often find it difficult to take responsibility for their actions and blame others. It’s not their fault that there are problems at work. You might also find that if someone is late to a meeting or fails to complete a project on schedule, it is because of them.

People who are passive-aggressive hide their anger at being asked to do something. They try to be accommodating. They may be able to agree to do something, but they are often angry at being asked.

Perhaps they have said something to you and your boss, or they are giving you the cold shoulder in meetings and at work for no apparent reason. It doesn’t matter what the behaviour is, you need to figure out your next move. These solid strategies will help you deal with passive-aggressive colleagues instead of letting them get the better of you.

Take a deeper look

If a colleague displays passive-aggressive behaviour, find out how it has helped them in the past. Look for the hidden positive outcome motivating the person to act passive-aggressively. They may not express themselves clearly. They might feel superior by putting down others. They may gossip to feel part of the “in crowd” in the office.

Your colleague’s behaviour may be driven by fear. Fear of rejection, fear that they will lose out, and fear of not being enough. Recognising your colleague’s motivation allows you to put it in perspective and allow you to pause to consider how you will respond.

Confront the Behaviour not the Person

It takes honesty to confront a passive-aggressive student or employee at school. It is important to confront passive aggressive behaviour without remorse and set boundaries. Passive aggressiveness should be considered a form hostility.

Passive-aggressive people are not willing to discuss any issues that might be troubling them. They may also make insensitive remarks or murmur under their breath when confronted. You should not allow their hostility or inappropriate behaviour to stop you from challenging their behavior.

Be assertive, but not aggressive

Be clear and precise in your statements. Clear statements will help the person understand the consequences of her actions.

Establish a relationship

After you have resolved your conflict with your passive-aggressive colleague, you can start to build a foundation that will help you avoid future problems. Focus on building a relationship. When they feel secure around you, they will be less anxious and will resort to better behaviour.


Focusing on the bigger goals of the group, namely to deliver the project to the client as efficiently as possible, allows us to transcend our inner emotions and contribute to the team’s collective ideals. Passive-aggressors are reduced to a minor problem rather than an insurmountable mountain.

You can control your anger and emotions

After you have recognised that the employee is passive aggressive, it is important to remain calm and collected in dealing with the situation. Although it can be difficult to react emotionally, it will only make things worse if you add fuel to the fire. Passive-aggressive employees will often shut down and harbor more angry feelings towards you.

Final Thoughts

People who are passive-aggressive hide their hostility by engaging in subtly aggressive behaviours. Procrastination and disruptive behavior are indicators of passive-aggressive behaviours.

Do not let these behaviours get you down. Instead, use positive strategies to change your workplace culture. After identifying the behaviour, you can address it directly. Keep calm and ask questions so that you can understand the motivations behind your team member’s actions.

Establish clear standards and hold people accountable. Make sure you encourage open, two-way communication and provide training so they are able to air their views and become comfortable addressing issues in a non-passive-aggressive way.

One-on-one coaching may be an option to help people communicate more assertively. In particular, role-play the raising of issues, so that people become comfortable doing this in a confident, non-passive-aggressive way.

Learn more about this behaviour and many more by contacting our team about the different methods of training available.

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