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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

The Passive Aggressor

Worst than a serpent hidden  in the field is a Passive Aggressor ... one who on the face deceptively shows full support to the leader,  his ideas, views and thoughts but tacitly and subtly resists it with a serious vengeance. The resistance to leadership is further compounded by Deception and that is worst. The leader is under the belief of total support and gets shocked to later realise the unacceptable acts of resistance.

Passive Aggressors need to be identified early so that their negative impact could be neutralised. Robert Greene identifies 5 ways in which a Leader could effectively identify a 'Passive Aggressor':

1. 'Subtle-Superiority Strategy' : The PA guy is the one who misses all critical deadlines but has impeccable excuses for not doing so on all occasions. Apologies are rendered to avoid identification.

2. 'Sympathy Strategy' : The passive aggressor here is always the perpetual victim of unfair circumstances. They plead helplessness, and  seek support and favors to cover up, all the time.

3. 'Passive Tyrant Strategy' : whatever you do, you just can't please this PA. Their verbal contributions are higher than real contributions. At the smallest opportunity, they threaten to quit though won't take that call further to its logical end.

4. 'Blame- Shifter Strategy' : detecting the leader's anger early for his failure, the PA starts sulking in advance and throws some 'off the cuff' irrelevant things the leader may have said in the past as the main cause for their failings.

5. 'Insinuating Doubt Strategy' : The PA here compliments the Powerful leader but in a subtle way always laces the closure with his venomous/ toxic observations.

More often than not, post mortem analysis of leadership failure indicates its source to be the unchecked toxic behaviours of such Passive Aggressors, which despite of identification was not effectively tackled in time by the leader.

Remember, on a boat, you could either be pulling along with the leader or you are rocking the boat. If you are not pulling along, it could easily get identified. Action then can be taken to synchronize the pulling. But if you are pretending to pull with the leader but not actually pulling along, the trouble doubles.

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