Passive aggression is a form of behavior wherein a person devices a “tricky” solution to avoid conflict and anger. This is also a type of behavior for those who does not want to deal with responsibilities but cannot say “no” when asked. Instead of dealing with the task assigned, those with passive aggression procrastinate while thinking of reasons why he should not do the task.
The following is a classic example of passive aggression: person A is asked to do something by person B. Person A agrees to the task but slacked on the assignment while thinking of reasons why the specific task was not completed or done with poor quality.
This type of behavior could be easily observed in the workplace. Needless to say, this could easily affect company productivity as tasks will not be complied or they will be hastily done which could easily affect the quality of work. This, of course, means lost revenue for the company. If this type of behavior continues and spreads, it could place a business in big trouble.
In terms of relationships, passive aggression may look like a good idea to diffuse anger. But if you take a closer look, passive aggression only increases strife in the relationship between individuals since the reason for conflict is not addressed.
Aside from avoiding conflicts and the real problem, the behavior of those in passive aggressive are usually on defense mode which means they specifically avoid any type of conversations. They use tricks to go on with their regular activities even though an uncomfortable relationship already exists. This type of behavior is not only observed in the workplace but even at home which could result to failed marriages and other failed relationships.
Similarity with Common Aggression
Passive aggression is seen as the “lesser evil” when compared to the regular notion of aggression. Common aggression refers to the form of aggression wherein a person attacks another person verbally or even physically with or without reason. This state is very dangerous and should be prevented as much as possible.
On the other hand, passive aggression is merely ignoring conflict with another person. The passive aggressive person does not verbally or physically attacks but “tricks” the person or totally ignores the conflict by creating stories or lies.
Although passive aggression does not actively attack, it still creates further conflicts and problems between two parties. It is even emotionally traumatizing for the other party when they are fooled or ignored by another person since the conflict will continue and resolution is not actively sought.
Identifying passive aggression on a person is relatively challenging since uncovering the lies and techniques on avoiding conflicts is difficult. However, they can be identified through careful observation of the person. It could take some time but it can be done.
Those who practice passive aggression does not necessarily use all behaviors attributed to this form of behavior. More often than not, those who practice this type of behavior follow a pattern. For example, a person agrees to do something but will procrastinate until the last minute which will greatly affect quality of work. Others will agree but will think of reasons why they cannot do the assigned task.
Noticing the passive aggressive behavior takes time simply because you have to notice the pattern. A single event does not necessarily mean that the person already have this behavior. You have to observe and see a pattern before you can say that he or she is practicing passive aggression.
Dealing with Passive Aggression
Although passive aggression is a little bit challenging to identify, helping the person get over this type of behavior could be easy. As long as the person who wants to help is insistent on helping, there is big chance that a person could address this type of behavior fast.
The best thing that could be done for a person that displays passive aggression behavior is direct confrontation. Talking to a person about his or her behavior will increase awareness of the effects of their behavior with their colleagues as well as family members.
Point out specific activity or event wherein they displayed this behavior so that they will realize what they have done. This is highly recommended especially when passive aggression affects family relationships. The workplace could also use this technique along with quality measurements that will show their inadequacy for showing passive aggression behavior at work.