Who is Passive Aggressive Boss – Effects And Signs

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

Dealing with a passive-aggressive boss is a challenge in itself. It is a common issue which thousands of people face in their careers.

You’ll see your passive-aggressive boss be expressing negative feelings without openly communicating them. Such bosses don’t go in a direct way.

You may also face the same problem in your workplace. A passive-aggressive boss uses non-verbal techniques for expressing his anger.

Who Is A Passive-Aggressive Boss And Why Important To Deal:

Spotting a passive-aggressive boss is not as difficult as it sounds. If you have a passive-aggressive boss, he will not directly show you his rage.

Instead, he will indirectly criticize you. He may use sarcasm or obstructionism as his tools.

1. Why Is It So Crucial To Deal With Such Behavior:

We all spend a lot of time in our workplace. It is essential to have a peaceful working environment there.

When we are working under an organization, we have to value discipline and show obedience to our boss.

In some difficult tasks, we need the support of our boss.

A passive-aggressive boss will show as if he supports you. But in reality, he gives little or no support at all.

The most annoying element here is the fake illusion.

Important To Deal With Passive Aggressive Boss
Important To Deal With Passive-Aggressive Boss

At that moment, you may feel sorry for yourself for believing him.

SEE ALSO: Guide On How Leadership Differs From Management

2. A Passive-Aggressive Boss Births Disruption:

A passive-aggressive boss not only causes inconvenience for the workers. This attitude affects his own business too.

Recent researches have shown that many employees leave their job due to this.

Rapid workforce turnover causes instability in the business flow and troubles management.

A worker needs to have mental satisfaction during work. When he faces mental torture by his boss, he resorts to leave the job.

4 Disastrous Effects Of Passive-Aggressive Behaviour

All the employees at the workplace now enter an unhealthy competition. They are not motivated to do good for the business.

Instead, they are intended to put the blame on the other. They all know that their boss will blame them for their work.

In this way, instead of doing right, they are concerned with how to escape the duty.

Here we will discuss the disastrous effect of passive-aggressive behavior.

1. Put Yourself Together To Confront Such Boss:

It would be best if you were prepared to face this situation. Or we can say you should take precautionary measures to avoid such a situation.

Your boss can scold you when you don’t meet their expectations. This is the most common reason.

While they are giving your instructions be clear in your mind. Also, try to have those instructions in writing.

Be Prepared To Face A Passive-Aggressive Boss
Be Prepared To Face A Passive-Aggressive Boss

Don’t give them any opinion. You might be thinking of doing good for their business, but they don’t think so.

Only follow their instructions as they say.

2. Avoid Getting Into A Race With Your Passive-Aggressive Boss:

Never try to compete with your boss. Don’t give them additional suggestions.

In case of any loss, you are going to get all the blame. After you have done all the work, your boss might take all the credit.

Don’t try to prove that you are the real person behind the success. All the employees might not show it, but chances are there that they know the truth.

3. Create A Convenient Environment For Him:

It might seem odd but make them feel comfortable. Your boss will never miss an opportunity to reprimand you.

But when they do so don’t try to counter them.

Make Your Passive Aggressive Boss Feel Comfortable
Create A Convenient Environment For Him

Agree with them and assure you to do more better next time. Deal with your boss, neutrally.

Don’t go against the tide and also don’t panic. Act as nothing happened.

4. Let Your Boss Breath In Freedom:

Passive-aggressive behavior is the result of anxiety and depression.

Some children do not get attention in their family and peer groups.

They have always ignored while the decision-making process. Their will is not given due importance.

Your boss might be a victim of such behavior. Maybe when you deal with them with kindness, they will change their attitude towards you.

10 Signs To Tell If Your Boss Is Passive-Aggressive

How can we get to know if we are an employee of a passive-aggressive boss? Here we are going to discuss 10 signs which will help you to understand.

1. Hides Behind His Dark Jokes:

They will first insult you and make you feel ashamed. After then, the boss will say that he did it only for fun purposes.

He pretends that nothing serious has happened. They are using humor as their tool.

They hide behind the shield of sarcasm.

2. He’s Not Clear In His Orders:

They will never give you clear instructions and always criticize your work.

Boss will never highlight your mistake. They will ask you to find the errors in your work and make them right.

Vague Instructions Of Boss
He’s Not Clear In His Orders

The non-cooperating attitude of a boss is what makes you feel frustrated.

3. He Uses Strange Approaches:

A passive-aggressive boss uses different tactics to annoy their employees. They will support some employees more than others. He will always take his decisions over others.

In this way, the rest of the employees feel unwanted and unimportant.

Such feelings destroy employees mentally. And the concept of leadership is lost somewhere.

It doesn’t matter how much effort they put into their work. They are never going to get the credit.

4. Brings Diversions At The Workplace:

Your boss might involve in unimportant activities. He may start watching television or playing games.

It will disturb the working environment. You will not be able to concentrate on your work. Your attention will be diverted.

Distraction At The Workplace
Brings Diversions At The Workplace

You may also feel that he is busy with passive activities while you are working.

5. Repeatedly Assigns You That Troublesome Project:

Someday your boss will come and reassign you to the same project you completed last week. He will ask you to do it again.

He won’t even give you clear reasons if you ask for them. And you will eventually feel confused.

He will not assist you in anything by taking the advantage of authority. You only have to follow the orders and do it again without knowing what changes he needs.

You will spend your time first figuring out what was the problem. After you are done, it might happen that he will be still dissatisfied.

6. He Throws You Under The Bus:

Even if he is responsible for any failure, he will not accept it. He will rather blame you for all the loss.

He will make you feel that he is the boss. This bossy attitude will demoralize you.

Boss Will Blame You All Time`
Boss Will Blame You All Time

You won’t take interest in your work when you know that you aren’t going to get the credit. Feeling of reward even if it’s verbal makes you motivated.

7. Their Rules Have No Meaning:

Your boss will make you follow some pointless and absurd rules. There’s no point in making such rules, but he does so to satisfy his ego.

Such rules are going to annoy you. But you can’t do anything as they are in the power position.

8. The Passive Aggressive Boss Overlooks Others:

They will always ignore you at the workplace. When you try to talk to the boss, they will not directly answer you.

Your boss’s treatment will show that you aren’t vital to him.

They will make you feel as you are only an employee. You will contact them like you are not on their level.

This status difference when prevails makes you frustrated.

9. He’s Unnecessarily Strict About Deadlines:

They will give you very close deadlines. Too much workload in such a short time is impossible. But they will ask you to complete the work within the required time.

Increased working hours will disturb your physical and mental well-being. Moreover, no reward at all further destroys you.

10. You Won’t Get Forgiveness From Him:

They will never forgive you for your mistakes. They will keep reminding you of your mistakes.

Such an attitude makes you feel as you are not able to. Constant haunting will exasperate you.

Not Forgiving Attitude Of Passive Aggressive Boss
You Won’t Get Forgiveness From Him

Such persons are not concerned with improving you. They don’t motivate and guide you to do better. They will always demotivate you.

Also, they will only highlight your weak points. You will not be able to hone your skills.

How to Work with a Passive-Aggressive Boss?

To work effectively with a passive-aggressive boss, it’s crucial to maintain open lines of communication, display emotional intelligence, and stay solution-oriented.

Avoid engaging in their behavior pattern, focus on your work performance and maintain a positive attitude.

If needed, seek professional advice for further assistance.

Why is My Boss Passive-Aggressive?

A passive-aggressive boss may be dealing with their own personal stressors or insecurities, thus projecting this behavior onto their employees.

They may also lack the necessary communication and leadership skills to express their expectations or frustrations appropriately.

Understanding their motives can aid in navigating this challenging situation.

How to Handle a passive-aggressive coworker?

Dealing with a passive-aggressive coworker requires patience, clear communication, and emotional intelligence.

Avoid reacting impulsively to their behavior, instead, strive to understand their perspective.

Keep your professional boundaries intact and ensure your work performance remains unaffected. If necessary, involve your manager or HR for resolution.

How to Annoy a Passive-Aggressive Boss?

Engaging in tit-for-tat tactics with a passive-aggressive boss is not advisable.

It’s better to remain professional, constructive, and focused on your work.

However, maintaining transparency, asserting your boundaries, and openly discussing issues can subtly disrupt passive-aggressiveness, leading to a potentially healthier work environment.

Passive-Aggressive Boss Examples

A boss may give vague instructions, creating ambiguity and making it difficult for employees to meet expectations.

They might consistently provide late feedback, hindering the progress of projects.

Using sarcasm or veiled criticism instead of constructive, direct communication is a common trait of a passive-aggressive boss.

How to Respond to a Passive-Aggressive Email from Boss?

When responding to a passive-aggressive email from a boss, maintain professionalism and avoid mirroring their tone.

Seek clarity on ambiguous points and respond to the content, not the tone.

Keep your emotions in check, ensuring your responses are constructive and aligned with the task at hand.

How to Communicate with a Passive-Aggressive Boss?

Communicating with a passive-aggressive boss requires tact and assertiveness.

Openly express your ideas and concerns in a respectful manner, ask for clarification when required, and reaffirm your commitment to the team’s goals.

Always maintain professionalism, regardless of the boss’s communication style.


If you still don’t see any difference in the attitude of your boss.

Don’t linger on your stay there only for some money. This attitude will harm you physically and mentally.

Try to search for new opportunities. It doesn’t seem natural at once. But don’t stay there anymore.

It will only harm you more than any benefit. Learn from where you are and get some experience.

Move on to the new place and get the most out of your skills. This article will help you identify a passive-aggressive boss and deal with him.

Share your experience in the comment section below.

Last Updated on 2 weeks by Eesha Khan

Shahzaib Arshad
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