Tuesday, February 8, 2011

E-mail: Is the Person on the Other End an Idiot or Just Not You?

It has been a long time since I posted and I am so sorry.  The short story is I fell on Friday and sprained my ankle.  I am fine but will be sporting a (not so) fashionable ankle brace for a couple of weeks.

Now, on to my thoughts for today.  People seem to feel free to say things to people via e-mail that they wouldn't say in person (or in front of their boss or parents).  In addition, this usually follows a quickly fired off response to an e-mail they haven't fully read.

Here's my plea for the day...next time you have the urge to fire off that scathing e-mail, don't hit send.  Instead, walk away from the computer, grab a glass of water or walk around the office.  Then, go back and read the original e-mail.  Is there something you missed?  Is it possible there is another interpretation besides the person who sent it is a complete idiot?  Think of alternate possibilities.  If you are unclear of the meaning, reply with a question to delve further and try to find a common (and respectful) understanding. 

Why should you do this?  Besides the obvious because it is respectful and polite, think about the time and effort you put into developing a professional image.  One reactionary e-mail can do more damage than you know, even if you don't see it.  A little time now can save a lot of repair work to your reputation later. 

I know it is not easy and the reactions are often natural reactions.  Practice pressing send immediately after every e-mail.  If you develop the habit with e-mails that are easy, it will be a lot easier when you are faced with a more challenging situation.

Good luck and happy e-mailing!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chinese New Year

Happy Year of the Golden Rabbit.  I love the sound of that - is sounds both prosperous and fertile...promising in all ways.  So for those of us who have already broken our New Year's Resolutions and are looking for a fresh start, why not start today?  We know it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, what do you want to do?  Sit down and make a plan.  You don't need to do something at the same time every day, in fact, play around and find out what works best for you.  Share your plan with someone who will help keep you accountable.  Good luck!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Respecting an Individual's Investment

How many times have you gotten truly invested in a project, either at work or at home, only to have it given to someone else.  At that moment you wonder why you invested your time and effort and become less likely to do so in the future.  Sometimes, the way our organizations operate, one person can have their investment "stolen" more than once.  While reorganizations, realignments, and job descriptions make sense, we need to also make sure we are respecting the investment that our workers have put into something.  Keeping them involved after the realignment is one way to work towards efficiencies and individual respect at the same time.  It is a little fix but requires the acknowledgement that people are investing in their work and that should be respected.

Have you had your mental investment "stolen"?  Have you been in a situation where it could have been but for a good leader who recognized your input?  How do you routinely recognize the investment of those you work with?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We All Need Someone to Talk To

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and afterwards (whether it was fun and easy or painful and hard) just felt so much better?  I think that we all need someone to talk to.  Things are easier to face when you say them out loud, when you talk to someone who feels the same way or has experienced the same thing, when you have the chance to explore options and ideas with another person.  I had two experiences today that were very similar in that feeling but I experienced them both in two very different ways.  I think either way, the value of the conversation in the big scheme of things was more than I could have imagined on my part, and I hope similar on the other people's parts. 

Do you have one person you share everything with or do you have different go-to people for different areas of your life?  Do you share easily or do you struggle to share and then wonder if you will live to regret sharing?   Does it get easier to open up to new people or harder?