There are a few certainties in life: death, taxes, and not being totally in love with everyone you encounter in the workplace. You don't get to be surrounded exclusively by your best friends, but you do have to figure out how to get along with key players — it's part of being an adult. But, that doesn't mean it's easy. Human dynamics come into play, sometimes in ways we don't even realize. Conflicts arise, people react, and, "at some point, we are all guilty of behaving passive aggressively," says Laura MacLeod, creator of From The Inside Out Project, a program which helps coworkers improve communication. In addition to passive aggression making interpersonal office relationships strained, it also hinders productivity and progress at work, MacLeod says.
It may start subtly — you roll your eyes when yet another annoying email pops up from that person who got promoted to the job you wanted, or you back-burner tasks that she asks you to do. And, it may progress — you choose the stairs over the elevator or hide in a bathroom stall in order to avoid run-ins with that person who called you out in front of a client. You know it's immature behavior, and you want to disengage, and yet you still feel rankled. Being aware of your own passive aggression — and nipping it in the bud — is a first step toward clearer, more positive communications at work, MacLeod says. No one wants to be that toxic office personality, and learning how to deal with conflict constructively can actually progress your career, she notes. Click through to see if you might be guilty of these 10 passive-aggressive behaviors, and get the experts' take on how to fix them.