It may not necessarily sound like sound like anything related to a workplace skill, but learning how to wrangle in your emotions and not striking out hastily is something we all need to master. Especially when it pertains to keeping something you enjoy…like a good job.
Recently, Steven Slater, a JetBlue Airlines flight attendant is the focus of the media when he walked off the job after a confrontation with a passenger. Of course, he did it with a little flair by grabbing two beers, deploying the emergency slide, and making a grand exit. Hindsight being 50/50, Slater is now facing a slew full of endangerment charges, and the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t even weight in yet.
We all face the stresses of work and life, but its how we manage them that can help keep our careers on track and our temperaments from producing results we regret later in life.
E-mail: friend or foe
E-mail is one of the best inventions technology has afforded us. It’s also one of the worst forms of communication available today. It’s a platform where we can be specific while attaching documents, spreadsheets, photos, and other necessary files. It’s also a platform where people can hide from having real conversations and in turn create great conflict.
It’s very easy to accidentally offend, bruise, and insult someone either knowingly or accidentally. E-mail facilitates the removal of human interaction where we can evaluate body language, responses, eye contact, and breathing which are all the things we rely upon to understand the speaker’s conversation. Written messages take away the evaluation part from the communication and open us up to the opportunity of misunderstanding.
If you need to write an e-mail draft it but don’t sent it
Many times we have the need to send harsh e-mails to our co-workers, and even sometimes to our loved ones, as a way of communicating our feelings. With an e-mail already being an impersonal form of communication, receiving an e-mail laced with harsh context is very damaging to the relationship. There is nothing that will erode a relationship quicker than a stern or even an aggressively constructed e-mail.
If you need to vent, then go for a walk or a run. If you feel the need to send an e-mail with a stern context in the heat of stirred up emotions, draft it, don’t address it, and save it. Walk away from it and cool yourself off. Then come back when cooler heads prevail and read what you wrote.
The best resolution is to have a face-to-face conversation with the person, and if that isn’t possible, pick up the phone and work out the issue. You may find that your first reaction was not correct or that the message you received was not intended in the manner you perceived it.
It’s a legal document
Electronic forms of communication are legal documents. A scathing e-mail drafted in anger can be a serious downfall. E-mails can be saved, forwarded and printed. They become part of a company’s legal property and will not be discarded for a defined period of time. A heated e-mail can potentially create some serious issues for you, even if you meant your message to be taken in a different context.
E-mails saved and forwarded to your boss or the HR department could later be used in disciplinary action, termination or even a lawsuit against you. Consider carefully what you send and what electronic footprint you leave behind in the workplace.