Watch out for passive aggressive behaviors in your life and with others. It will kill your clarity, momentum, and peace. At the heart of this behavior is a lack of leadership or ability to ask the questions that will bring clarity to fear. Typically people who are passive aggressive have grown up in homes where one parent was controlling or addictive, and the other parent was a passive/enabler. Mostly they have never seen strong teams, marriages or people making decisions together, so they EXPECT to get their way they will have to be manipulative and forceful.
Passive aggressive people expect to be disrespected or taken advantage of eventually, so they jump to conclusions when there is the least amount of miscommunication or mistakes made. They are also great at excuse making about their behavior which is why it takes so much energy and time to deal with these kinds of people. If this is in your response patterns, you have to get militant about addressing this as it has most of the time been in your family for generations. Most of the time if it’s addressed, they not only deny it but turn it around so that you feel shamed or doubt you saw it.
Passive aggressive leaders surround themselves with enablers, so it’s classic crazy town banana pants feeling for anyone who attempts to address it. The challenge in business is time is money, so honestly, you have to evaluate if this is the kind of partnership you want in your life as it’s a massive financial leak to your profits and marketing.
So, how do you know you’re dealing with a leader or business owner who is passive aggressive? Here’re some characteristics:
They tell you they are going to take care of it but “forget” regularly
They triangulate to others in the family in team rather than directing their questions to the person who can change the situation
Everything seems fine and then all the sudden they just email you about how disappointed they are with you or your performance.
They keep pushing the boundaries until you explode because they don’t want to be the one who initiated the conflict
They ask you to deal with confrontation for them because they are too busy or you are “great” at being diplomatic
They won’t deal with individuals one on one but rather address the offense in a group setting by alluding to the problem
You will hear them always complain about how they are not respected, or they just keep getting taking advantage of over and over again
They cut people off relationally, but then when they see them publicly in front of others they pretend all is well
They show favorites depending on who is affirming them
They can point out every little detail of how you failed but don’t take any ownership in how they failed to lead.
They always have an excuse for why they couldn’t finish a project or why it didn’t work out
So how do you deal with these kinds of friends, business acquaintances, and family in your life? First of all, address their behavior as passive-aggressive but guard your heart and time with them! If you decide to confront them, have in mind the decision or action you will be taking ahead so that you get to put it in play.
Next, don’t second guess yourself. Passive aggressive people have a way of making you feel like it’s your fault when they are minimizing or manipulating you. If you think uh-oh feeling, most likely, you are right. Pray for them to receive the truth but again, don’t come under the fear they try to intimidate you with. Limit your time with them unless they acknowledge their issues.
Lastly, and this is the most important. You HAVE to set very clear boundaries with them without guilt. If they are attempting to control you, just let them know up front precisely what actions you will be taking and then EXECUTE every time. If you don’t, you have taught them that you are negotiable.
Remember, boldness means you can’t back up when there is tension. Hold your ground, establish your authority and stay focused on your mission. Don’t let passive aggressive people distract you from accomplishing the work that God has put you here for!