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3 Ways to Deal With a Passive-Aggressive Boss


What do your boss and your loved ones have in common? Both sometimes have to tell you things you don’t want to hear. Also, I’m betting you’d prefer that they wouldn’t be passive-aggressive about it. Alas, we don’t have a lot of control over what our managers do, so the burden is on us to find successful ways of dealing with management styles we don’t like. Lifehacker recently put out a call to their readers to share some coping mechanisms. These were my favorites:

1. Ignore it. If it’s just your boss’s style, and doesn’t impact your ability to do your job, you might be better off just pretending you don’t care — or better yet, learning how to concentrate on other things. 

2. Be literal. Commenter xenocyclus says “…one strategy that works well for me is to address passive aggression as if it is literal truth. It also forces the person being passive aggressive to come clean with what they want. Since my boss is doing it mostly as an unconscious behavior, she’s not (too) offended when I make her come out and say what she wants.”

3. See the value in it. Imhawaii points out that passive-aggression is an often misunderstood concept. While actual PA behavior is controlling and damaging to communication, avoiding conflict is very different and can sometimes be for the best. So before you judge, ask yourself if your manager is taking the path of least resistance for a good reason.

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We want to hear from you! How do you deal with a passive-aggressive boss? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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