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Effective Ways To Combat Passive-Aggressive Behavior At Work

4 min read
Last Updated on 16 August, 2022

Instances of passive-aggressive behavior are increasing worldwide in the workplaces. Often under the hood of being sarcastic to bullying, it is pretty common nowadays. Such kind of behavior can be very harmful for an organization and its employees. It can disrupt the work environment and affect employee morale and productivity.

What is Passive-Aggressive Behavior or P.A.B?

One can describe passive-aggressive behavior as a deliberate way of expressing frustration. Passively aggressive people often express their anger in an indirect way.

A person having trouble expressing emotions uses passive aggression to ignore their issues. People with low self-esteem or mental stress also act aggressively in front of others.

What are the signs of Passive-Aggressive behavior at work?

You may have experienced or been guilty of P.A.B at work in your life. There are several ways in which such kind of expressing such behavior is at work.

Here are some common examples -

  • Having a negative attitude at work by being stubborn, making sarcastic comments, etc.

  • Lack of effective communication and giving people silent treatment.

  • Criticizing others and intentional withholding of praise.

  • Use of dysfunctional techniques, such as gossip and complaining to deal with issues.

  • Saying things that do not match actions.

  • Avoiding confrontations and running away from responsibilities.

  • Intentional sabotage of group projects at work by taking sick leaves.

  • Preventing other people’s success by withholding crucial information.

  • Being late and missing out on group meetings.

What impact does Passive-aggressive behavior have at work?

Passive aggression can have a significant impact on the organization and your employees. It affects team morale and hinders workplace performance. It can destroy your company’s culture, so you must take steps to prevent it from happening.

Here are some ways passive-aggressive behavior can affect an organization -

  • Decrease workplace productivity

  • Affect employee morale

  • Affect employee relationships

  • Create a hostile work environment

  • Create workplace conflicts

  • Decrease employee engagement

Ways Employers Can Combat Passive-Aggression in the Workplace

As mentioned above, passive aggression can be very detrimental to your organization. Passive aggression in your workplace can cause severe consequences for the workforce.

You must take proper steps to protect your workplace from destructive behavior.

Here are some steps that you can take to manage passive-aggressiveness in your workplace -

Educate your employees

The first step is to educate your employees on passive-aggressive behavioral traits.


Often, P.A.B results from a lack of self-awareness and an inability to assess one’s emotions. Educating your employees will help them understand the causes of such behavior. It will ensure that they will be better suited to identify and address it. They will also become more prepared when dealing with a passive-aggressive coworker.

Encourage direct communication

Ineffective communication among employees is one of the primary causes of P.A.B at work. These people lack proper communication skills.


So, encourage proper communication among your employees at all times. Ask them to communicate face-to-face instead of sending emails. It helps your employees develop their communication skills and make them more confident.

Create a friendly work environment

One of the best ways to prevent anger in the workplace is by creating a healthy work environment. A healthy work environment is likely to foster positive emotions like happiness. It avoids negative feelings, like anger and resentment among employees.


Encourage your employees to be friendly and build better relationships with peers.

Hire a counselor

Passive aggression in people is often the result of hidden emotions inside them. Such people find it difficult to express their feelings even if they try. In such situations, taking the help of a professional counselor is a good option.


Hire a counselor or psychologist to provide one-on-one sessions to your employees. A professional counselor can help your employees identify and express their feelings.

Promote and encourage mindfulness

You must know that mindfulness techniques like meditation increase self-awareness. It is also a great way to release stress and anger.

Encourage regular mindfulness exercises among your employees. It can help them become more aware of their feelings and emotions. It can help them to communicate their feelings.

Engage your employees in team-building activities

Proper communication and teamwork are vital in eliminating aggressive behavior in the workplace. Activities like fitness challenges and company outings, can strengthen employees’ relationships.


By engaging them in such activities, you can promote effective communication between employees. It will also boost team morale and prevent emotions like anger and hatred.

Final Words

Passive-aggressive behavior can affect an organization negatively. Such behavior is usually the result of ineffective communication among employees. Every Employer has to play a significant role in combating this issue. They must identify the root cause of the problem and address them.

Employers also need to train their employees on the subject. They must create a frequent line of interaction among all strata of the organization. Negating P.A.B can improve the working environment and build team morale

This blog is written by Shah Alif Ahmed and Nizamul Bhuyan. Besides working as a content marketer at Vantage Circle, Shah Alif Ahmed is also an internationally certified nutrition specialist, competitive bodybuilder and a musician. Nizamul loves music, sports and travelling. For any queries reach out to

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