|The passive bully: A look at calculated indifference|
|By Joe Bouchard|
Did you ever encounter a consistently helpful colleague who suddenly ceases cooperation? The person who seemed to happy help out now quietly refuses to assist as before. Perhaps the change came because the person feels unappreciated. But the resulting behavior is a good example of passive aggression.
One of the biggest discourtesies in the work world is passive aggression. In corrections, it can become unobtrusive sabotage that also infects others with the spirit of disunity. As we all know, our squabbles amongst ourselves become weak points for enterprising prisoners to exploit. In short, when we mistreat each other with passive aggression, we allow a possible break in security.
In other terms, it is Calculated Indifference - the premeditated act of ignoring any call for or need of assistance by a colleague. The key to this form of subtle belligerence is in the word calculated. When the colleague plans to take no notice of a colleague who needs assistance, it becomes premeditated. In other words, the lack of assistance is neither innocent nor spontaneous.
For example, a colleague decides to ignore a colleague struggling under a heavy load of books by pretending to be otherwise engaged in another task. Or, a staff person pretends to be engrossed in paperwork that has no imminent deadline while others search and secure the area.
Calculated indifference is hard to prove. And that is part of what makes it a frustrating problem. Many of us know when it seems that passive aggressive behavior is used on us. But, asking the alleged perpetrator is not without difficulty. The aggressor can hide behind innocence and charge the other of harassment.
How can this understated form of lowered professionalism be mitigated? There are many strategies to take the sting out of these circumstances. Here are some hints:
Visit the Joe Bouchard page
Other articles by Bouchard:
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT