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This may or may not be a big deal. Recently we brought on board a senior project manager to take over a project that has gotten out of control. This manager took a bombastic approach and naturally started to get on people's nerves. From my perspective this guy had (has) an agenda, as he knew that the outgoing senior manager has become a sort of lame duck. However, once this senior project manager started stepping on my toes, I let it be known to my superiors that this guy was creating havoc and was not only making my job extremely difficult, he was also making other people's jobs difficult.

The issue is that I communicated this concern via email to my superiors in a very direct manner. In fact in my email I said things that I wish I hadn't. As we know sometimes the best tactic at dealing with jerks is to just let them be jerks and watch them hang themselves. Certainly my co-workers have been doing that to an extent (though not always). Their management roles make it easier for them - whereas my role is about managing process - which is where this guy assumed control over. Instead of having a direct conversation with the senior project manager (who in my eyes can be likened to a sociopath), which is what I should have done, I tantrumized it all in an email.

The outgoing department manager finally took action about this senior project manager (likely as a result of my email), but I have now exposed my internal weakness of not tolerating crap. I am a manager who believes in dignity, respect, integrity and honesty. I am fully aware that a large percentage of other managers out there will do whatever it takes to get to where they want to go. However I also believe it is possible to climb the ladder the right way. Whether I will ever be able to do that or not, I still want to neutralize my reputation of being a bit fiery. Noone wants to deal with someone who falters, even once, in office politics. And it certainly can limit the ability to climb up.

My dilemma is, how to clear that reputation? Do I drop it and just hang low?

juliahhavener's picture

Drop it. Lay low. Work your ass off. Succeed. This will fade - but only if you let it.

ehyde111's picture

Work on your communication skills. Give affirming feedback when you have the chance.

lazerus's picture

Hi,
It sounds like you regret this email. Perhaps an apology is in order.

That's what I would do. There's a cast on it, as well.

juliahhavener's picture

Great point, Lazerus! I thought, and forgot to include it.

kevdude's picture

Thanks folks. All obvious stuff really. As I'm sure we all have seen some eyebrow-raising emails written by others at one time or another, it was my turn for a stuff-up this time. Using selective communication is a trait that can always be improved!

tomas's picture

kevdude,

I'm sure you have learned your lesson about using email to blow off steam. Email is almost never going to the correct medium for dealing with that sort of issue. It is very constrained in its bandwidth compared to a face to face discussion making it too easy to be misinterpreted. It lacks the immediate feedback that you get from watching someone's non-visual cues and it is all too easy to forget the normal restraint that one might apply if talking face to face.

It also provides documentary evidence of your tantrum. You never know who it is going to be forwarded to and it provides a lasting reminder whereas blowing off steam in person will probably be forgotten in time. (or become the stuff of office legend, if you are unlucky!)

I think all you can really do is make sure you communicate in professional and dignified manner in future.

juliahhavener's picture

Heh. When I'm tempted to write such an email, I write it. I save it as a draft. I delete it the next day.

I was cranky this weekend when I specifically asked for a task to be done and when I asked for updates three times...I was told the next day that it's fixed, they didn't have time to look at it yesterday, what's the problem? I've been asked to write an email on the situation (they are out of state) as follow up to a discussion with his boss. I told him I would send it tomorrow - that gives me an opportunity to be cranky, and NOT take it out on this person. I want them to get feedback, not be buried.

James Gutherson's picture

[quote="juliahdoyle"]Heh. When I'm tempted to write such an email, I write it. I save it as a draft. I delete it the next day.

I was cranky this weekend when I specifically asked for a task to be done and when I asked for updates three times...I was told the next day that it's fixed, they didn't have time to look at it yesterday, what's the problem? I've been asked to write an email on the situation (they are out of state) as follow up to a discussion with his boss. I told him I would send it tomorrow - that gives me an opportunity to be cranky, and NOT take it out on this person. I want them to get feedback, not be buried.[/quote]

I do this too, but now try to write it in Word first. I'm just so used to hitting 'Cntl Enter' at the end of an email that I have accidently sent something I shouldn't have :shock: :oops: . I'm sure people have heard of the measure of time called the 'O-no-second'.

juliahhavener's picture

I've done that, too, but I prefer using Outlook. Why? Because I've made it my habit to re-read what I send before I send it. It's probably the only 'click' I habitually use so that 'o-no-second' stretches to allow it to be the 'that-coulda-been-bad-second'.

gernot's picture

In that case i leave the receiver blank.
If you hit the send button by accident nothing is going to happen.

You can use Outleak AND be save.

bflynn's picture

I think the best course has been laid out - if you're still in the window where this is on someone's radar, apologize to the appropriate party - probably your boss. Then drop it, it will mostly heal over time. It will never completely heal.

The thing is - if it has entirely passed, you probably don't benefit by bringing it up again. But if it is still even lingering out there, you probably can help the process by acknowledging that you made a mistake. Make it short and to the point. Then get back to work and blow their socks off with results.

Brian

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="gernot"]In that case i leave the receiver blank.
If you hit the send button by accident nothing is going to happen.

You can use Outleak AND be save.[/quote]
This is probably one of the neater tricks I've seen in some time.

PattiBarcroft's picture

[quote="vinnie2k"][quote="gernot"]In that case i leave the receiver blank.
If you hit the send button by accident nothing is going to happen.

You can use Outleak AND be save.[/quote]
This is probably one of the neater tricks I've seen in some time.[/quote]

I do this regularly - it is a great way to draft your thoughts and not shot off you own toes in the process.
Patti

Mark's picture

I'm sorry this has taken so long.

This is a non issue. Let it go. Forget about it. Don't apologize, and don't do it again.

Mark