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How Do You Deal With Passive Aggressive Workplace Behavior?

January 16, 2020 by OSYB Staff

We can’t pick our family and we cannot often pick our co-workers, unless you are the boss, but the truth is most of us are not. Inevitably, most offices have at least one or more employees that play the proverbial passive-aggressive game. One of the most common passive aggressive tricks is when your co-worker sends an email that is copied to your boss about a topic that you feel can be handled just between the two of you.

Here’s what an article in Inc. says about the behavior of your co-worker and the implication of cc’ing your boss:

  • that you can’t be trusted to deliver/respond without supervision
  • they are your de facto supervisor, allied with your boss to ensure that you deliver/respond

Here is what they suggest you should not do:

  • respond to the email and include your boss which could imply that you agree that you needed your boss to be cc’d to respond
  • not cc’ing your response to the boss can backfire, if your co-worker copies their response to your boss showing your boss that you didn’t copy them because you had something to hide

Here is what they suggest you should do to end this type of behavior and it’s quite simple, forward the email to your boss and just ask them, “Do you want to be in this loop?”

This is a good response because you let your boss know that you are taking charge of the situation, being respectful of their time and attention, and offering them the opportunity to be kept apprised if they want to be.


For full article: The Best Response to a Passive-Aggressive Coworker

Image Credit: Deposit Photos