You know them. Passive aggressive coworkers are the ones who tend to shift blame, make snide comments until your stress levels rise to unsurmountable levels, and avoid picking up their load of the work. They also give you the silent treatment or never deal with you face to face, rather choosing to always discuss matters via phone, email or Skype. They are infuriating and can make you hate your beloved workplace. Here is how to deal with passive aggressive coworkers.
1. Stop Enabling This
Although it might be a bit hard to hear, this might just be your fault as much as it is theirs. The passive aggressive behavior originated with them, but you are the one enabling it. There is absolutely no reason why you have to put up with the things they do on a daily basis. You are not friends, nor do you owe them anything. Remember you are there to do a job, and that everyone is required to act as professional as possible.
Therefore, when they don’t meet their deadlines, confront them or take it up with management. If you need to talk to them face to face, seek them out and do it. Are you bothered by their gossip, snide remarks or jokes? Talk to HR or lodge a formal complaint.
2. Don’t Reward Them
How to deal with passive aggressive coworkers, you ask? Stop giving them what they want. Whatever their reasons might be, they all act in a certain way. However, when you take away the prize, the satisfaction of the behavior is gone as well. Don’t allow them to get to you, irk or bother you.
Show them that there are two things here regarding their behavior. First of all, it does not bother you on a personal level, as they believe it does, which is rewarding for them. And, second of all, show them you are willing to take action with HR and your superiors if the behavior doesn’t stop.
Whatever you do, don’t make this personal and try to take matters into your own hands. Getting upset or asking questions such as ‘Why are you behaving like this?’ won’t get you anywhere. They will only give them pleasure.
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3. Set Limits
This measure means that passive aggressive people in your office will have to face the consequences of their actions. When they do, they will be forced to stop behaving the way they did. Independently of whether they like it or not.
For example, if there are people who always arrive late, set up a few meetings at nine in the morning. Announce that you are going to start without them if they don’t show up and keep true to your word. Having to walk in on the meeting and disrupt it will be punishment enough to make them stop behaving like that. You can also enforce some other rules, such as talking more face to face when you’re in the same office or two desks down from each other, rather than using email all the time. It’s passive aggressive and takes a lot more time. Remember that if a person’s behavior doesn’t change even after these solutions, then they might not be a good fit for your team.
These are just a few tactics on how to deal with passive aggressive coworkers. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is becoming a common practice in offices across the world. Therefore, it’s a good thing to know how to handle it when you come across it.