Having a passive aggressive boss can make any employee feel drained and unmotivated. Passive aggressive behavior is the indirect expression of hostility.

It can take place through procrastination, sullenness, irritability or ignoring a person or his demands. It often leaves you doubting yourself and your abilities, which leads to increased levels of stress, more mistakes on the job or limited creativity.

The recipients of this behavior can be left feeling inadequate and unworthy. Eventually these limiting self-beliefs will diminish their productivity at the work place.

Passive aggressive people can drain individuals in a silent manner, attacking their self worth in an invisible fashion. It’s very hard to protect or defend oneself when the threat is not tangible.

But here are my 5 easy steps to manage your passive aggressive boss — while protecting your mental well being:

  1. Deflect the blame

Realize that your boss’s passive aggressive behavior is his (or her) choice, and has nothing to do with your performance. In challenging situations, a passive aggressive personality tends to respond by ignoring you and your demands or by road-blocking your progress/development. Your passive aggressive boss can be pleasant and praise you but subtly express doubt about your abilities in the presence of others. This behavior is the only mechanism that your boss can employ when faced with challenging situations. Your boss’s behavior has less to do with you, and more to do with his responsibilities at the work place. He might even nurse a deep fear of failure.

  1. Create Emotional Distance

Take some emotional distance and view your boss as a troubled person who is struggling to stay afloat and manage his professional and personal life. Every time you detect passive aggressive behavior in your boss, make the decision that it has nothing to do with you.

Detach from his/her feelings and concentrate on doing your job. Individuals who resort to passive aggressive behavior have usually been subjected to similar behavior as young children. They have had a passive aggressive caregiver or their needs have been significantly ignored.

  1. See the child in pain

Attempt this sort visualization: Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and see an image of your boss as a 5-year-old child who is trying to get some attention and is heavily ignored by his mother or father. He feels alone and neglected. He starts to believe that nobody cares, and that he will never get the love and support needed. Visualize the young child crying and feeling alone.

  1. Praise your boss

Your passive aggressive boss who appears to be so confident is most likely insecure and has low self-esteem. Think about it. If he had more confidence in himself, then the preferred method to deal with any issues would be to open up a dialogue with you trying to find the source of the problem.

The best way to treat insecure people is to praise them. Find shuttle ways to appreciate and praise your boss on his successes. When your boss has reached one of his goals, give positive true comments to him. Your boss will immediately feel important and good enough. This is usually the Achilles’s heal of all passive aggressive individuals. If your praise is honest, your boss will start to feel more confident and less threatened by you.

  1. Be in control

Recognizing why your boss behaves in a negative way will free you from taking on unnecessary responsibility. You will start to feel positive and confident about yourself and your performance, and will not be brought down by your boss’s negative indirect remarks.

Eventually, he will realize that the passive aggressive behavior doesn’t affect you and will be ready to focus on your good performance. Allow yourself to feel in control about your role at the work place, feel confident and be aware of your positive contribution at the work place. Approach your boss smiling and radiating self-love and self-recognition.

Your own positive responses will validate him as a knowledgeable authority, thus making him look good as your mentor/manager. Have faith in yourself and your boss. This is what your boss is lacking. If you find a sincere way to make him feel confident, his concerns will be soothed and the path to your recognition will be unobstructed.

Are you struggling with a passive aggressive manager who is making life unbearable at work? If he is causing so much stress that you no longer feel you can step into the office, contact me HERE for an appointment.