April 18, 2008

Issue Resolution via Email

Solving problems
How to Make it Happen in 2008
This is how it usually starts. You get a strong email in your inbox. It probably has a flame icon on top of it and the CC line has a few names. This email is almost a call to war and seems to say “Hey nitwit! I challenge you publicly to a cyber email exchange”.

And the fireworks start. What self-respecting person would back down from this public humiliation? After all people are looking up to you. You can’t just take this umbrage without a fight.. The only option now is a nastier response. You obviously react even more strongly because it is after all a matter of pride and ego. And you need your posse to back you up so you copy a few more folks. And the email war continues.

In this nasty email exchange what gets lost is the original objective for this dialogue. There was some issue to be addressed and resolved. An issue that took backseat while we thumped our chests in cyberspace and tried to outdo each other with the written word.

The best way in my experience to manage this situation and not get embroiled in an email war is – face-to-face interaction. If you want to resolve an issue – you need to talk it out. Irrespective of who started it – you can end it by confronting the issue.

Email provides a false sense of grandiose and bravado. On the click of a button you can unload a barrage of negativity without physically confronting the person. It makes life easy. Not really! You solve a problem by confronting the problem. Sending nasty tirades just reflects your immaturity.

Next time you come across a nasty-gram or feel the urge to fire one yourself – take a break. Walk away from the instinct to immediately respond. Take some deep breaths, maybe go for a walk and if possible, talk to someone rationale. And finally – ignore the email and walk over or pick up the phone and talk.

(Photo courtsey: gokumjo/Flickr)

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