How to handle passive-aggressive colleagues
We have all likely been in situations where we use sarcasm instead of being upfront about our thoughts. While it’s okay (and probably normal) to display such behaviour in certain situations, passive-aggressive behaviour at the workplace is known to hinder productivity in the long run.
If you have a colleague who is frequently displaying passive-aggressive behaviour, here’s what you can do about it:
Don’t lash out
Even though it can get quite frustrating to always be at the receiving end of your co-worker’s snarky comments, it’s essential to maintain your zen.
Refrain from responding with the same kind of provocative tone, as it might cause the whole situation to escalate. Keep a cool head, distract yourself and let the moment pass. Reflect on this at a later time, when you can look at the situation objectively and develop a course of action.
Understand their reasons
Pause and try to identify the hidden motivation behind your colleague’s passive-aggressive behaviour. Try to have a chat with them to understand what’s on their mind or read between the lines to see why they’re not expressing themselves directly.
Once you understand why they act the way they do, you will be better equipped to deal with it the next time it happens.
Gently push back
If you’re able to start a conversation with your colleague about their passive-aggressive behaviour, use this opportunity to gently push back. Have an honest and open conversation about how their behaviour makes you feel and they might be more considerate moving forward.
Build a relationship
Take the next step and try to build a healthy long-term working relationship with your colleague. Invite them out for drinks or if that seems like a long shot, just slip into conversation how they’re always welcome to swing by your desk or to start an online chat.