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Being Aggressive is Great in Dodge Ball…but Not the Office.

January 25, 2014

Daily Read- Being Aggressive is Great in Dodge Ball…but Not the Office.

Aggression doesn’t just come in the form of verbally forceful or unnecessarily pushy. Avoiding responsibility for tasks, purposely missing deadlines, withholding important information, and going over a boss’s head to make him or her appear incompetent, are a few of the ways employees let passive aggression slip into the office. The workplace is ripe with passive aggression if for no other reason that people spend the majority of their waking hours at work where they have relationships that, human nature being what it is, inevitably result in angry feelings of some sort. Here are a handful of strategies you can deploy when dealing with these maddening covert attacks.

Don’t mirror the anger. Any passive-aggressive interaction involves two people: passive aggressive Player A, who hopes Player B, will respond angrily, essentially acting out Player A’s anger.

Foster direct communication. It helps if management makes a conscious effort to foster conditions for direct and face-to-face communication instead of electronic communication since passive-aggressive types tend to frequently leave notes or use emails and texts.

Delineate expectations. There’s less room for excuse making and finger pointing if you set crystal clear expectations regarding quantity of work, quality of work, whose responsibility it is, and when it’s due as well as what will happen if expectations aren’t met.

Allow for honesty. Ideally your work environment is one in which if employees are upset about something they’re allowed to voice it.

Ask about the anger. While it’s difficult to change an ingrained pattern of passive-aggressive behavior, calling someone on it can be effective.

Have you dealt with aggression in your office?

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