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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

14 Feb '13

Passive aggressive behavior is a prime form of dishonesty

Passive aggressive behavior is something all of us should be conscious of and ensure that we don't engage in it. Unfortunately it is all too common and is in my view a prime form of dishonesty.

It is dishonesty because the one engaging in this behavior says one thing to your face - usually indicating assent and agreement or cordiality while in reality they don't mean it. And, to others they may express just the opposite or simply do exactly what they indicated to you they would not do. That is dishonesty. It is also cowardice because they are unwilling to simply tell yo that they don't agree - which could lead to a constructive dialogue and some level of understanding. Instead they essentially lie about what they actually feel and undermine you behind your back.

What is crazy making about passive aggressive behavior is that it is duplicity but a duplicity that is very hard to address because the problematic behaviors are engaged in with others or when you are not present. This is particularly sad among Christians in ministry whose yes should be yes and whose no should be no. It is no less dishonesty than stealing from one's employer or lying on one's tax return. It is dishonest - period.

It may take courage but stating one's position openly and honestly (hopefully with diplomacy) is critical to healthy relationships. The ability to state what one thinks even when it goes against the grain is a sign of healthy EQ. At least at that point there is the possibility of a discussion even if agreement cannot be reached. Not stating it and acting passive aggressively leaves no room for discussion but creates chaos in relationships which is what dishonesty by definition does. The irony is that after a season, the fact that one does not agree (even if one will not admit it) becomes evident in their behaviors.

As a leader I respect those who state their opinions diplomatically even when they disagree with mine. I have no respect for those who lie to me and then engage in passive aggressive behaviors. It is not honest and it is duplicitous.