How to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague
Dealing with Difficult People – Three ways to deal with a passive-aggressive colleague
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Realising you need to deal with a passive-aggressive colleague can make you feel uncomfortable. It can be very frustrating when someone you work with agrees with a plan of action and then goes off to do their own thing. Or you sense that someone really doesn’t agree with what you just said but they say nothing. Sometimes they just make you feel subtly undermined.
Passive aggression can have a number of results including eroding confidence and not being good for harmony in the team. But it is frequent and it can mean that you do not achieve your own goals. When you have to deal with someone who says one thing and does another or shows some other signs, try this approach.
Three ways to deal with a passive-aggressive colleague
- Talk to them. Find a quiet private space and explain to your colleague what you’re seeing, hearing and experiencing. Describe the impact of their behaviour on you. Listen to their response and then make your suggestions for how they might change.
- Focus on work, not the person. You need to get the work done despite your peer’s style. So don’t waste time wishing they would change. Concentrate on completing the work instead.
- Ask for commitment. At the end of all meetings make sure you ask everyone (not just your difficult colleague) to reiterate what they are going to do and by when. Sometimes peer pressure can keep even the most passive-aggressive person on task.
Passive aggression usually means someone doesn’t have the confidence to assert themselves clearly. It usually reflects an unhappy state of mind. If you get to know this person a little better you just might be able to help them feel more confident at work.
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Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. She has worked in management as well as coaching and personal development, as well as starting up her own businesses. That means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues.
Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link