Dealing with Passive-Aggressive Colleague

Dealing with Passive-Aggressive Colleague

Dealing with Difficult People – Three Ways to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague

Dealing with a passive aggressive colleague can be very challenging. For example, 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. This can have a number of results as well as 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, try this:

  • Talk to them Explain to your colleague what you’re seeing, hearing and experiencing. Describe the impact of their behaviour on you and provide 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 a meeting ask everyone (not just the troublemaker) to reiterate what they are going to do and by when. Sometimes peer pressure can keep even the most passive-aggressive person on task.

Adapted from “How to Deal With a Passive-Aggressive Peer” by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link


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