The problem of passive-aggressive behavior is the subject of public debate and a part of the culture. In today’s article, we’ll try to find out whether it threatens us.

What is it

Passive-aggressive behavior is the suppressed expression of anger. It is manifested in sarcasm, procrastination and unconscious sabotage. It destroys relationships, inhibits the growth of the company, prevents people from being happy.

Passive-aggressive behavior occurs when a person forbids himself to express anger: describe it in words or emotions. Instead of expressing anger, a person blocks it.

Where are the roots

Passive aggression is the scar from childhood. A person gets it when parents restrict him to express anger. Perhaps, they are masters of passive aggression themselves, and the child immediately absorbs their inability to express their feelings. Passive aggression becomes a part of the personality and it is extremely difficult to note it in yourself if you do not know its features.

Signs of passive aggression

It is easy to identify a person with passive-aggressive behavior:

  • He agrees to help you, but do it unwillingly. If you entrust work to such a person, he will postpone it until the last moment.
  • It seems that the people around him are the reason because of which he can not be happy. He constantly complains about them. He feels overwhelmed and underappreciated.
  • His favorite phrases in a conflict situation are “All right” and “That’s enough!”.
  • During the open debate, he remembers the old offenses and blames the others.
  • He will take on any commitments just to finish an unpleasant conversation, but will not fulfill the promise.
  • He is a master of irony and sarcasm.

Passive aggression at work

Passive aggression inhibits and destroys the business. In addition to the above-mentioned features, it is also easy to identify passive aggression in the office:

  • by gossips and rumors discussed in the office;
  • by going away from work without any explanation;
  • by complaints about bosses and heavy working conditions.

The sources of passive aggression in the office

  • Rude and despotic chief, whom you do not trust and fail to create a constructive dialogue. His employees often do not find a new job because of fear. He is against any innovations and growth.
  • Inattentive managers, who are not ready to listen to their employees: it causes the fact that talented and dedicated employees feel unappreciated. The managers can not even imagine how much more productive will be the employees if they pay attention to their problems.
  • Radical innovations: it’s difficult for the staff to accept changes in work. New rules and procedures can cause violent resistance. Try to gradually introduce innovations and be sure that they are supported by the staff.
  • Provocateurs: people who are greedy for power, but have not enough talent and experience for leadership. These people try to somehow capture the minds of their colleagues and affect the mood of the employees and rock the boat.

The solution to the problem

  • The leader must be morally strong, without passive-aggressive behavior and be an example for the employees: he should be open to resolving conflicts, to listen to others and be able to justify his position.
  • An order in affairs will help the employees not to get mad at management for taking their time during working hours. Organize your work so that they do not have to do one thing several times, to add the same data to multiple locations, to work with a large number of documents. It is possible with modern time management systems.
  • Instructions and corporate standards will help to navigate the newcomers in the work much better than the experience of their colleagues. Open communication in the company (for example, corporate portal or forum) allows employees to express wishes before they turn into conflicts. Listen to the employees.

Passive-aggressive customers

Imagine that you make a cold call. You say hello, do the introduction, start asking questions. But as soon as the client understands that you are trying to sell him something he instantly says:

Thank you, we do not need anything.

Is the situation familiar to you? This is a passive-aggressive reaction. The client wants to send us to hell, but suppresses this impulse. In this state, it is useless to work with him. But this state can be changed. But first, understand the reasons for such behavior.

According to one of the main psychological theories, our brain consists of several historically formed bodies: the reptilian brain, the neocortex, and the limbic brain – the cortex and prefrontal parts.

The reptilian brain is responsible for primitive physiological survival: identification of danger, fear, panic, aggression are the reactions of the reptilian brain.

The limbic brain is responsible for complex emotions like memory, learning, regulation of pressure and hormones. This brain belongs to mammal and it allows us to feel love and resentment, joy and sadness, desire for momentary pleasure.

The neocortex is the highest thought process, language, and logic, rational decisions. This brain is able to weigh the pros and cons, make plans for the future. The cortex can instruct the limbic brain to deprive himself of momentary pleasure to achieve a bigger goal in the future.

It seems that people are always at the highest level of the brain making rational decisions and weighing everything. Actually – no. The most of time people act according to the mechanisms of the limbic and reptilian brains, guided by the basic things: habits, the principle of immediate rewards, constant fear, and aggression, the desire to protect themselves, inability to act in accordance with the strategic plan.

This is not always true, of course. But when someone says “Thank you, we do not need anything” – there is no doubt, that this is a reptilian brain in action.

How to disable it

To disable aggression of the reptile, let it know that you are more terrible reptile:

Hello! My name is … I am preparing a report for …

Now draw the attention:

I collect information on the effectiveness of companies …

And then ask leading questions and sell. The client disconnects the reptilian protection and is ready to listen to your rational arguments.