There’s an everyday tool that frankly doesn’t get talked about enough in the workplace. It’s easy to overlook because it seems so harmless. But I assure you it’s not.
It can help build your professional reputation as a leader.
Or it can damage your reputation and even your job security.
I’m talking about email.
Hey, there are a lot of good things about it. It’s so easy and convenient to use!
But because it’s so easy to use, it can easily become harmful to your reputation if you don’t use it wisely.
There’s one core principle that will help you ensure that you are using email as a tool to get ahead and not as a weapon of mass destruction to your career.
I WANT YOU TO NEVER, NEVER, NEVER SEND AN EMAIL IN ANGER.
Sending an email in anger never ends well. It always makes a situation worse. Next thing you know you’re caught up in rounds of email smackdown. Most of the time with other people who are copied who are seeing your emotional reaction.
Don’t get egged into emotional behavior that’s only going to reflect poorly on you.
Let me let you in on a little secret. As a manager of other employees for over 20 years, I can tell you that many—if not most—of these kinds of email fights end up being forwarded. To your boss. In extreme cases, to human resources.
I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been the recipient so many of these forwarded chains in my career that I couldn’t count them up if I wanted to.
Do you really want to deal with that kind of situation over a need to respond in the moment?
So, what should you do? Here are three ideas.
Seriously, get some air. Clear your head. Process offline with a peer or mentor you trust.
You have to give yourself at least 24 hours before you draft anything in an email in response.
CONSIDER NOT RESPONDING
Consider that maybe you never need to respond. At least not in writing.
Not all emails need to be responded to. That may bend your brain a bit. Just because you received an email does not mean you need to respond to it.
I’m dead serious.
BE THOUGHTFUL & CONSTRUCTIVE
If there truly is a response required, I want you to manage this conflict in a constructive way.
Most likely, that means off email. It means you have to have a real conversation with the person who triggered you.
Conflict happens in the workplace. It’s necessary to do good business. Disagreements are fine. Just be an adult about it.
ALWAYS take the high road. It will never lead you wrong.
I know this is way easier said than done. Keep your head in the game and don’t let others bring you down to their level.
Be known for taking the high road and your professional stock will continue to rise.