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Picture it…you just walked out of a meeting that has you fuming and you HAVE to get the anger off of your chest. You send a scathing, colorful email message to a colleague that describes the pure ineptness of management and question how they successfully make it through a complete day without play-by-play instructions to ensure they don’t self-destruct. After hitting the “send” key, you suddenly realize you sent the message—to your boss—and there it is, that dreadful sinking feeling of despair and helplessness. You know there is no way to retrieve the message. NOW what do you do?
Let’s be clear, email should not be the channel to communicate angry outbursts or to send tyrannical commands to subordinates.
Many have found themselves in situations where they want nothing more than to “tell it like it is and get people straight”. Self-control, especially in a professional setting, demands that we conduct ourselves in a manner in which we respect ourselves and others. Short tempers and outburst are not an effective method of communicating your point of view; in fact, it is a sure way of not being heard or understood at all.
Numerous articles have been written offering warnings about not putting ANYTHING in writing that you don’t want to see on the evening news.
So, using the example in this blog, what should one do to resolve the problem?
Do NOT send another email apologizing. Go directly to your boss’s office (if that is physically impossible, immediately call your boss), offer a genuine apology. Honesty is the best policy so explain your position and why you feel that way. You may be able to rectify the situation so schedule a time for a face-to-face meeting and accept the consequences handed down to you. Ask your boss if there is a way to repair the relationship.
It may take some time to rebuild your reputation and repair the relationship, but it is worth remembering not to hide behind a disingenuous apology. In the future, before sending a message, set aside your emotions, collect your ideas, thoughtfully write the draft, review it, step away from it, review it again then, if acceptable, send it.
Although it is not possible to go into the past to make changes to your email, it is important that you mend that fence as quickly as possible.
Share your thoughts on today’s blog. We would love to hear from you.