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  1. #1
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    Default ENTJ and passive aggressive behavior

    I'm an ENTJ and I have recently been accused by a co-worker of showing passive aggressive behavior, which they defined as forcing a person to make the decision you want them to or something like that. At my job I guess I'm somewhat "in charge" at times. I've been there the longest so it falls on me to make sure the people working with me are doing things the way they are supposed to. I'm not a by-the-book kind of person and have my own system of doing things (not corporate approved!) and a routine I've developed that works pretty well for me, and for everyone else too if they'll follow it. If you show me a faster or equally efficient way of doing things I will adapt to it after a period of being dissapointed in myself that I didn't see a better way. I admit that when I ask a person to do something, I do expect them to do it, but I try to make it a habit of asking them what they want to do first or just leaving them alone and seeing if they do what they should be, which is usually not a problem. When I correct someone I try to adjust that "tone" thing everyone makes such a big deal about to not sound as much like the jerk I naturally am, telling them it's no big deal and be more careful in the future. I will admit that I do force people to make decisions. It can downright infuriate me when dealing with an individual who can't or won't make a decision on their own for whatever reason. I would much more respect an individual who told me what they were going to do, even if it were wrong or not the way I would do it, rather than constantly needing to be told what to do because they can't make a decision on their own. It makes me even more frustrated when this behavior stems from the individual's fear of making someone mad or not liking them. If making someone make a decision, or at least state a preference, in order to get work done is wrong, I don't think I want to be right.

    Another issue for me is that I'm not a micro-manager or anything, but that I end up trying to do everything by myself. I end up seeing other co-workers more as subordinates who are there to take care of the little details while I do the "big work." To fix this I once again ask what task they want to do, and will gladly do anything they prefer not doing as long as work is getting done while trying to equally distribute any tasks that need doing along the way.

    I tried explaining to my co-worker that I'm not (consciously) trying to make people make the decision I want them to, though I sure would prefer it. If anything, I'm working to not be so controling. What you would see if you were in my head when these incidents occur (she didn't have any specific instances on hand that I recall) is me on instinct giving someone an order and expecting them to obey, realizing that this is a dick move and that they might have an equally efficient or even better idea, pushing down my own pride in my own "efficient" routine, and asking them what they want to do or giving them a list of things that could be done at that moment.

    I wasn't offended at my co-worker's comment but genuinely curious. While "aggressive" has certainly been a word used to describe me, no one has ever called me "passive" before. The idea of being passive does bother me, though. It implies in my mind a weakness. A fear of confrontion or dealing with a problem. I've always viewed myself as a problem solver and, for better or worse (and the worse I've been working on the past few years) a fairly confrontational person. I've done a little bit of reading on passive aggressive behavior and firstly, it seems like anyone could fit the description at a given moment in their lives, so that doesn't bother me as much. It's just an inconsisitency to be avoided. There is an actual disorder though, which I'm sure would make the individual with the disorder very hard to deal with.

    Anyway, the basis for all of this is are there any other ENTJs here who have been in a similar situation or at least accused of passive aggressive behavior? If so, was it for real and how did you deal with it? I would be happy to hear from anyone not an ENTJ who has dealt with one in this way, or has just dealt with people who are passive aggressive in general and could give me a better picture of what the behavior looks like and how it can be fixed. Thank you for your time, and I'm sorry for any ramblin that may have occured in this post.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bcubchgo's Avatar
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    It's happened to me. if you are direct it's "aggression" - not passive aggression.
    People don't really understand the difference - they just spout off the term "passive aggressive" because it's become an every day lexicon to describe someone aggressive. (mistakenly so I might add.)
    There is a difference. If it bothers you just explain to them that they need to learn the definitions of the terms they use.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive...ssive_behavior
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  3. #3
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by corey_vann View Post
    Another issue for me is that I'm not a micro-manager or anything, but that I end up trying to do everything by myself. I end up seeing other co-workers more as subordinates who are there to take care of the little details while I do the "big work." To fix this I once again ask what task they want to do, and will gladly do anything they prefer not doing as long as work is getting done while trying to equally distribute any tasks that need doing along the way.

    I tried explaining to my co-worker that I'm not (consciously) trying to make people make the decision I want them to, though I sure would prefer it. If anything, I'm working to not be so controling. What you would see if you were in my head when these incidents occur (she didn't have any specific instances on hand that I recall) is me on instinct giving someone an order and expecting them to obey, realizing that this is a dick move and that they might have an equally efficient or even better idea, pushing down my own pride in my own "efficient" routine, and asking them what they want to do or giving them a list of things that could be done at that moment.
    I don't think this is necessarily an ENTJ problem.

    Ignoring the aspect of type, maybe they're saying you're being passive aggressive because the bolded ideas are coming through loud and clear despite your lip service to "we're all equal coworkers"? There's no way for us to tell if that's the case without being there, but I would absolutely be troubled/disturbed/annoyed/incredulous if I perceived the bolded sentiments in a coworker of equal rank, regardless of whether they were actually verbally expressed. Maybe when they say "passive-aggressive" they really mean "you act like you're better than us, and you're not".

    Just a thought to consider - "Passive aggressive" is often stretched pretty far from the technically correct meaning. And explaining to your coworkers how passive-aggressive is defined in the dictionary is not likely to win you any friends IMO.
    -end of thread-

  4. #4
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Having known and worked with several ENTJ's (and having a lot of respect for their decisiveness, leadership, and being mission oriented), I would say this:

    People aren't morons. They'll figure it out.
    Example: An ENTJ needed a room organized in the most "practical" manner. I said, "No problem - I got this." I mapped all the possibilities out in my head based on the dimensions of the room and the size of the furniture as well as aestethic factors. In this particular instance, there was only 1 possible way to arrange everything that made any kind of sense whatsoever. So I did it.

    ENTJ comes in and says, "Hmmm...this is OK, but what if we did it THIS way instead?"
    Me: "Well, that was my first thought also! But, when I actually tried it, it didn't work. It looked very cluttered and it didn't look nice."
    ENTJ: "Let's try it."
    Me: "Uhhh...OK, sure." (Thinking to myself: Do you think I'm an idiot or something? I already told you it didn't work. Take me at my word. Trust me a little bit here).

    So, we re-arrange everything. 10 minutes of hard work later:

    ENTJ: Hmmm...I'm not sure about this. What do you think?"
    Me: "Yeah, like I said, it looks cluttered and it doesn't look good."
    ENTJ: Are there any other ways we could do this? Let me think about this. *thinks*.
    Me: I've tried everything - both in my head and in reality.
    ENTJ: Well, let's put it back this other way then.

    10 more minutes of hard work.

    ENTJ: Yeah, this is the most efficient way, so we're going to leave it like this.
    Me: You do realize that this is the exact same way that it was when you walked in the door right?"
    ENTJ: Yeah, so, do you think we could do anything else to make the room look better? I feel like something is missing, like we should add something. What could we add to make it look nicer?

    I understand that the ENTJ needed to work through the problem himself, so that he could activate his Te and his own thought process. That's fine. But, what rubs people the wrong way sometimes is the fact that there's a lack of trust that I'm a capable and competent person. It's like this: When those people go home after work and go home on the weekend, they don't need an ENTJ to tell them what to do at home. They do just fine without the ENTJ supervision at home. So, why do they need it at work? Like all the sudden they get to work and they become incompetent?

    I dunno. I have great respect for ENTJ's in the work place. I'd go to work with an ENTJ on a business venture over just about any other type probably. And I get frustrated with people too. But, just try to keep in mind that "we really aren't stupid" (the rest of us) - we know how to figure things out too.
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    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


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  5. #5

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    I see passive aggression as doing things like leaving post it notes or messages for people instead of speaking to them directly or shirking duties or foot dragging or other sorts of refusal.

    Its easy to be misunderstood and accused of it when you're not, one time I decided not to contribute at a training forum because I felt that some people were just using it as a forum to talk about themselves, either explicitly or implicitly, show boating, soap boxing. I thought it was a waste of time and spun things out terribly.

    Part of the reason I stopped contributing was because these people exercised a kind of "right to reply" or "rejoiner to" every time anyone said anything, sometimes when I felt it really wasnt necessary. I was pretty clear to one of the trainers that I was choosing to say less and why, they labelled it passive aggressive.

    Perhaps, because I could have spoken directly to them about what I felt they were doing, although I really felt it was likely to solicit a hostile response and possible actual and passive aggression from the others. I felt that would further obstruct proceedings. It was interesting and it gave me pause for thought then and now.

    I can see how ENTJs can be accused of this because I would say that ENTJs can be very task centred, focused and goal orientated they are not using cognitive traits or being steered by cognitive sets which import other things into the scenario, such as how they are feeling, how is the other feeling etc.

    There's a good chance that its a case of "I'm not wrong (or in this case passive aggressive), I'm just not you" which is something I've become used to thinking since becoming interested in MBTI.

  6. #6
    ThatGirl
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    To me passive aggression is wanting or expecting something from someone but not being direct about it, while still assigning consequence if the demand is not met. Which the OP wreaks of.

    What is it that Sun Tzu says?

    Something along the lines of if the people don't get it the first time it is the fault of the general. If he makes himself more clear and they still don't get it then it is the fault of the people.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatGirl View Post
    To me passive aggression is wanting or expecting something from someone but not being direct about it, while still assigning consequence if the demand is not met. Which the OP wreaks of.

    What is it that Sun Tzu says?

    Something along the lines of if the people don't get it the first time it is the fault of the general. If he makes himself more clear and they still don't get it then it is the fault of the people.
    That's a good definition!

    I like Sun Tzu but my favourite quote from him is something else about if you wait by the river bank long enough you will see the body of your enemy float by.

    The vrey thought of your avatar quoting Sun Tzu TG is awesome to me

  8. #8
    ThatGirl
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    Ha! I love Sun Tzu, a very Taoist, wise, and respectful approach to dominance and aggression. Little casualty, great rewards.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatGirl View Post
    Ha! I love Sun Tzu, a very Taoist, wise, and respectful approach to dominance and aggression. Little casualty, great rewards.
    I like him a lot too, the concept of limited and limiting warfare as opposed to the Napoleonic total war is great. Likewise all his observations about the links between logistics and war, a big enough army, on the march or standing for long enough will bankrupt its rulers and become a liability as it splits up into ronin.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    [...]Ignoring the aspect of type, maybe they're saying you're being passive aggressive because the bolded ideas are coming through loud and clear despite your lip service to "we're all equal coworkers"? There's no way for us to tell if that's the case without being there, but I would absolutely be troubled/disturbed/annoyed/incredulous if I perceived the bolded sentiments in a coworker of equal rank, regardless of whether they were actually verbally expressed. Maybe when they say "passive-aggressive" they really mean "you act like you're better than us, and you're not". [...]
    Exactly my own thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by corey_vann View Post
    At my job I guess I'm somewhat "in charge" at times. I've been there the longest so it falls on me to make sure the people working with me are doing things the way they are supposed to. I'm not a by-the-book kind of person and have my own system of doing things (not corporate approved!) and a routine I've developed that works pretty well for me, and for everyone else too if they'll follow it.
    That doesn't inspire confidence. Either you're in charge or you're not. No gray areas. Also, a system of doing things that's "not corporate approved" raises another question about the legitimacy of your leadership.

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