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How To Handle An Email War.
The Question: I’m in an email war with a co-worker and it’s getting out of control. How do I deal with this situation?
I love email. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s efficient. And you can use it just about anywhere.
But it can also be lethal.
The Email has landed countless individuals, corporations and law firms in hot water – and has served as the key to Pandora’s Box on numerous occasions. Despite these dangers, people take the power of email for granted. And as a result, they take a careless approach to the medium without much attention to perception or consequence. We’re all guilty of it at one time or another: firing off an email in an emotional state, distracted, in a hurry or without much thought.
The consequences vary, but generally speaking, a lack of attentiveness to the pitfalls of email can cause more trouble than is necessary. And in an email “conversation”, negative communications can escalate quickly – creating anxiety and strained relations. This is the situation you face now and it needs to be rectified in order to mitigate your own stress and work harmoniously with your colleague in the future. So what’s the best way to proceed? Below is a suggested approach.
“Hi Ron, I thought it best to pick up the phone to talk live about our email exchange. I’d love to meet to clear the air and gain a better understanding of your position. Are you free on Thursday afternoon?”
“Hi Jane, it seems like our email exchange really escalated so I wanted to call. It’s important to me that we work well together so if there was anything I wrote that upset you, I’m very sorry. It would be great to schedule a time to talk further and work through our differences on this issue and come up with a solution. Would you be open to that?”
When engaging in your follow up conversation, you can’t be sure how your colleague will behave. Regardless of whether it’s good or bad…always take the high road. But don’t be afraid to express your views and feelings in an honest, respectful and considerate way. By following this approach, you will maximize your chances to diffuse the situation and get back on track with your co-worker. And that’s in everyone’s best interest.
Email is a wondrous thing. But sometimes it’s the least effective way to communicate. So with each encounter, use your judgment to determine whether it’s best to type…or talk. And before hitting “send”, make sure your message has been crafted carefully enough…to keep the peace.
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