How to Deal With Passive Aggression in the Workplace

passive aggression

It’s almost a guarantee that you won’t be in love with everyone you encounter in the workplace. You don’t get to be surrounded exclusively by your best friends, but you do have to figure out how to get along with everyone. Of course, this is often easier said that done as conflicts can arise and people react. Although your passive aggressive behavior may be minimal, it’s important to nip any kind of passive aggression in the bud so you can take a step toward clearer and more positive communications at work.

Perhaps you sometimes feel your demeanor shift when a particular coworker’s name comes up. Maybe you wait longer to reply to their emails or don’t respond at all. It may seem imperceptible, but these small reactions to a coworker’s presence are examples of passive aggression. Once you assess your issue with that person, you can determine whether you can handle it on your own, or address the specific person.

If you don’t make eye contact, or give one-word answers to someone who bothers you at work, that’s also indicative of passive aggressive behavior. Gesturing, like offering a shrug or nod rather than a verbal response, can also create problematic dynamics. If you try to resolve your issue with this person and just can’t, the solution may be transferring departments, teams or even companies. If you are participating in office gossip put a stop to it and change the issue so no one else will continue.

Voicing your opinion at work can sometimes be like walking a tightrope; often, you don’t feel like a team player when you do this. However, speaking up against coworkers who are gossiping will show your boss and others that you could handle being strong and having integrity in subsequent projects. Any kind of gossip—in the office or out—is a subtle form of passive aggression. Discourage this behavior among your coworkers, and don’t allow yourself to gossip. Being direct will only strengthen your work relationships and is far more professional and effective.


About DevonJ140
I am currently an Accounting Director living in New York City. I love reading and learning more about business, finance, tech, and current events.

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