Power Tactics for Dealing with Passive Aggressive People

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Dealing with Passive Aggressive PeopleBe Straight Forward and Stay Assertive

We have all had our bouts with passive aggressive people. You know the kind. Passive aggressors use indirect tactics to needle you and make you downright mad. And then, when you address the issue directly, the passive aggressor denies the problem, acting innocent all the while.

One of the keys to dealing with passive aggressive people is to understand where it comes from. People may be passive aggressive because:

  • They don't know how to communicate directly, or they feel unsafe doing so.
  • They are oblivious to their actions.
  • They can (for the most part) get away with it.

No matter the cause of a person's passive aggressive behavior, you must deal with the issue head-one. Be straight forward by describing the conflict between what they are saying and what you perceive.

Words to use in these situations could be:

"Is something bothering you that we need to address? If there is something we need to resolve, let's do it."

"I'm confused. You say everything is fine, but your tone and actions imply it's not. What's going on?"

That comment sounded sarcastic and condescending to me. Did you mean it that way?"

Do not expect a passive aggressive person to openly admit they were wrong. Chances are they will continue their tactics until they realize they just won't work on you anymore. Stay assertive and over time they will stop.

Topics:  Client Services, Passive Activity

Published In: Firm Marketing Updates, Professional Practice Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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