the passive aggressive colleagues who poison workplaces
Global – “I felt like I was being subtly manipulated and controlled.”
Working in a team is always difficult – different people, habits, and behaviors. We spend about a third of the day with colleagues, and even if we don’t want it, we have to communicate with them. It is much more difficult if the person in the team is passive-aggressive.
Subtle mockery disguised as compliments. Intentional withholding of information. Refusal to cooperate with the rest of the team. List of small passive-aggressive behaviors that can be encountered by a colleague.
Often these behaviors also affect the rest of the office, creating an atmosphere of hostility and resentment. Although it is very difficult to determine this toxicity.
Unfortunately, many workers report passive-aggressive behavior that is endemic in the workplace. A small survey conducted by Boston-based language learning service Preply in May 2022 found that 20% of 1,200 American respondents said their co-workers are the people in their lives who most often exhibit passive-aggressive behavior—more so than friends or family. Seventy-three percent said they had experienced some form of a passive-aggressive comment at work—52% weekly.
Often, passive-aggressive behavior in the workplace can be more subtle and harder to detect than open aggression. But it can still be just as harmful to those who are exposed as to the wider corporate culture.
There is a wide range of passive-aggressive behavior, such as a co-worker pretending to be stupid, deliberately delaying an important task, or twisting the true version of events to make their co-worker look guilty. They may also try to undermine the expertise or trust of others through cunning excavations. That’s why phrases like “you’re too sensitive” and “no offense, but…” were among the most passive-aggressive among American workers.
There is no particular type of person or role that is more likely to behave passive-aggressively. But there are certain character traits that make a person more prone to such behavior, he adds. One example is Machiavellianism, in which someone regularly uses cunning and manipulation to get ahead. There are also those who simply struggle to convey their emotions in a healthier way and default to passive aggression for lack of a better alternative.
Research shows that employees who have to deal with passive-aggressive behavior regularly suffer from burnout, stress, and decreased levels of well-being, motivation, and job satisfaction.
Passive aggression will always be in the workplace, but experts say there are ways to mitigate or reduce the impact.
The best course of action is to control your emotions and force yourself to remain calm, no matter what your colleague says or does. While this is easier said than done, denying a colleague the response they want will help you put an end to their passive aggression.