I’ve worked in many different environments over the past 43 years, so I know first-hand that good workplace communication and cooperation can be rather tricky. It doesn’t take much to cause a lot of tension and acrimony, which leads to inefficiency and ultimately has a negative impact on the organization’s bottom line.
I read the article with interest, but was quickly disappointed because the 10 so-called passive-aggressive phrases didn’t strike me as being a problem at all. In fact, one phrase is something I use regularly, especially in emails: “Thanks in advance.”
To be passive-aggressive, the phrase would have to be more like, “Thanks in advance for getting this resolved promptly for once in your life.” Or, “Thanks in advance for not screwing this up like you did the last time.”
Then there is the all too common aggressive-aggressive behavior, when someone will say something like, “That report better be on my desk by 2 p.m. or else you’re fired!” I used to work with a guy who would motivate his employees with comments such as, “Get this done immediately, or you’ll need to make an emergency visit to a proctologist to remove a size 12 shoe from your butt!”
No, I’m kidding. He never said that. He, of course, used a different word for “butt.”
I took a little break from writing this essay to get a snack, and I mentioned the topic to my wife. She said, “What is the definition of ‘passive-aggressive’?”
I replied, “I dunno. But that’s never stopped me from writing about something before.”
She said, “Why don’t you go look it up?”
I mumbled, “Sure,” and walked away, and then I did NOT look it up. (Which I found out afterward is classic passive-aggressive behavior.)
People often engage in passive-aggressive behavior because they are insecure or lack self-esteem. One main reason is a strong desire to avoid conflict. Uh oh, that one describes me.
Passive-aggressive behaviors include not completing assignments on time and being chronically late for meetings. Well, that does not describe me. Other P.A. behaviors are using sarcasm a lot, and being agreeable when face-to-face with people but then complaining after they’re gone. Hmm, that does kind of describe, uh, let’s just say someone I know well.
Thanks in advance for ignoring everything I’ve written here.