Do you have anyone who really pushes your buttons? Someone who you don't really understand and who manages to irritate you mightily at times?
Some people will actually seek to cause reaction on your part by their actions.
While all of us are "reactive" from time to time, generally it is not a good sign of emotional intelligence and we should learn how to not react, not allow our blood pressure to go up and not to become angry because when we do we usually respond in ways that are not helpful or healthy.
When I hear about someones actions or words or attitudes that might have caused me to react in years past, my goal now is to "think grey." Thinking grey is listening to the information, soliciting other information without drawing any conclusions as to whether the conclusion others may be drawing is accurate. This is actually one of the secrets of good leaders. They do listen, they do want to know and if something sounds problematic they do want to find out the truth. But in the process, they think grey and refuse to draw hard and fast conclusions until they have enough context and information.
Thinking grey does not mean that we intend to ignore the issue or not confront the individual. It means that we will do so when our information is such that it is reasonable and when circumstances are right.
This brings me to another trait of great leaders. They have quiet resolve. Rarely will they react with anger and often they will think grey. But once they are aware of a problem they display a quiet resolve to deal with it, even if it is an uncomfortable situation to deal with.
I often tell those around me, "do not underestimate my resolve." Anyone who does is in for a surprise because I am committed to a healthy work environment, committed to the guiding principles and core commitments and practices and culture of our organization. Waiting for clarity, or for the right time to address problematic situations or people is not weakness. It is simply wisdom - and quiet resolve.
Again, quiet resolve comes into play. You don't ignore but you do wait because passive aggressive people will usually hang themselves if you give them enough rope. You wait and eventually they will do something public enough and egregious enough that those around them see them for what they are and you have the support you need to confront, hold them accountable and be so defining of what behavior is and is not acceptable that they will either conform or leave or you have the ammunition to take action should it happen again.
Good Emotional Intelligence and wisdom will almost always win out over poor Emotional Intelligence and stupidity. Control your reactions, think grey and commit to a quiet resolve.
For more reading on Emotional Intelligence see Emotional Intelligence Revisited