The ABCs of Dealing with a Passive-Aggressive Boss

When responding to a question about how to deal with a passive-aggressive boss, I begin with an overall explanation of why people tend to demonstrate passive-aggressive behavior. A brief explanation follows: when individuals are uncertain of how to deal with a problem and feel uncomfortable about addressing the issues, they begin to speak about the problem indirectly. In other words they do not specifically address the person or persons about the issue and instead hint about the problem. conflict or concerns tend to engage in passive-agressive behavior. Rather than addressing the issues head on with the person or people involved, these individuals tend to speak in uncertaing terms and use indirect language. Understanding the reason for their action, provides relevant instructions for how to communicate with a supervisior who is acting in a passive-agressive manner. Below are ABCs for managing such behavior:

A stands for ACKNOWLEDGE: Acknowledge that the behavior is happening and that you’re not imaging it. Doing so, while prevent you from internalizing the issue and blaming yourself. It will also prepare for the next step.

B stands for BE COMPASSIONATE: Knowing why people often behave passive aggressively positions you to understand the underlying issue of uncertainty and uncomfortability the individual experiences with confrontation. It also readies you for the final step.

C stands for COMMUNICATE: When the supervisors behavior interferes with your work performance, you want to schedule a meeting with him to discuss the issue. You want to be specific. For instance, you may say something like, “I am experiencing difficulty with securing information for a project I’m working on. How can WE address this issue. Emphasising we, makes finding a solution a collaborative effort between you and the supervisor. Your initiative also decreases the boss’s concern about retaliation.

Here’s the heart of the matter. the tendency not to engage is direct and honest communication is not only uncomfortable for those who are on the receiving end but may those who are behaving in passive agressively often feel uncomfortable as well. Taking charge and talking with your supervisor about any challenging, requesting cooperation in finding solution will aid in decreasing such behavior and increasing a more satisfying work experience.

To see my response to this question audibly on KOTV News on Six click on the link below.

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