"How Do I Deal With Passive Aggressive Coworkers?"
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"How Do I Deal With Passive Aggressive Coworkers?"

Welcome to Ask a Girlboss! It's our weekly advice column where real experts answer your burning career questions. Have a dilemma that needs solving? DM us on Instagram and we'll get right on it.

"How do I deal with passive aggressive, male coworkers who are more senior than I am?"

The expert: Natasha Bowman a.k.a. "The Workplace Doctor" has an impressive CV: she's an author, speaker, attorney, consultant, CEO and mental health advocate. Here's her advice.

"I was fortunate to make it to the c-suite at a very young age. I was a recent graduate of law school and a single mom. So, it shouldn't be surprising to hear that I suffered from tremendous imposter syndrome as I sat at the decision-making table as the only Black woman for some of the most prestigious brands in the U.S. Additionally, others in the room often joined me in my belief that I shouldn't be there either or questioned my credibility, advice and, at times, even my authority. It wasn't until one organization made a huge blunder by not following my advice and eating crow that I realized I deserved to be in every room I sat in, and my voice deserved to be heard. From then on, I decided to find my voice and rebel against those passive-aggressive male co-workers who may have been more senior than me but indeed weren't smarter than me. Here's how I did it.

The first step was obviously gaining the confidence I needed to know that I was credible, intelligent and had value to add. Once I realized that, I stopped questioning whether I should speak up and started questioning those who wanted me to shut up. I began to push back and asked people to clarify passive-aggressive statements directed toward me or my work.