This seems to happen quite often in the workplace. Maybe you’ve even been involved in an e-tattling attempt? Someone e-mails a coworker with a request. When the request is not responded to, declined or denied — Katie bar the doors!
The requester then sends a scathing, hostile or sometimes accusatory personal attack while Cc’ing a list of other coworkers they think will step in and force the recipient to comply to their request – or at the very least e-tattle on or embarrass the individual involved.
While these tactics rarely work, this approach will most likely cause problems with ongoing relationships, teamwork efforts, cause embarrassment and hurt feelings. So, how do you handle e-tattling at work?
First off, anyone who would resort to e-tattling (and apparently many do based on those who e-mail me through NetManners.com) clearly reflects on the coworker’s lack of professionalism. These folks need to frequent and subscribe to my Business E-mail Etiquette Blog so they can learn how to communicate with respect and a dash of professionalism.
If you are on the receiving end of this type of behavior, you have no choice but to take the high-ground. Most likely it is the other person who will end up looking petty in the process. Never bring in a bunch of folks after a conversation is underway when you cannot deal with a difference of opinion, lack of response or whatever has you upset.
The one thing you definitely do not want to do is stoop to their level by responding in kind. Leave them “out there” with these type of actions and let others come to their own conclusions about who behaved properly or not. Put it behind you and if it comes up, voice your opinion in a calm and unemotional manner.
If you are the e-stabber; shame on you! If you do not get the response you desire, then pick up the phone first or meet personally with the individual involved to resolve the issue first. To begin Cc’ing (or worse yet BCc’ing) others with your inflammatory comments or accusations will do nothing but reflect negatively upon you and you inability to communicate in a professional manner.
When you Cc: others midway in a conversation for the purpose of e-tattling, you need to be very careful of your motives. Many times, if it is purely for CYA or to boost one side of an argument, count on it backfiring and you being the one who looks trivial.