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What to do about unprofessional comments received inadvertently by e-mail.

Circumstances
I work in a central function leading audits and reviews across the business. I was brought into to lead the team and bring some rigour to the process that was dysfunctional in the past. I have done this over the last 18 months including a timescale for delivery of audit reports - 6 weeks post review. Teams within the business complete reviews and in the majority of cases they comply or at least try. I have one outlier who despite follow up, offers of support etc doesn't respond.

I was forwarded an e-mail from the director of this person (senior exec) outlining when he would complete a couple of outstanding reports (one was due in November last year). It included a number of fairly objectionable comments about how I don't understand what a real job is, I fail to respond promptly to requests and he should try and swap jobs and see how he likes it. Toys out of the pram stuff.

Obviously I wasn't meant to see it but once Pandora's box is open you are where you are.

What to do:

I am pretty annoyed as I was being dragged through it in front of a senior executive and it was unwarranted. However, as per Mark's umbrella comment I shouldn't get upset because that doesn't solve anything. It seems to me that the best thing to do is to ignore the commentary I've seen and make overtures to resolve the relationship in whatever why I can.

Anything else you'd suggest?

mrreliable's picture

Ignore.

Your risk of reacting is that while the person who wrote the comments comes across as snide and snarky, you could take him off the hook by making it look like nothing more than a scuffle between you two. People are liable to see him taking potshots at you, then you taking potshots at him. Nobody's going to care what the actual details are. They'll be too busy trying not to get dragged into it.

tim26viv's picture

The critic has just revealed themself to be unprofessional, in writing.  A fool, too. 

File away this piece on information and remain professional in all future exchanges with them.  Keep on file any correspondence that may be handy at a future time if repercussions come their way and they try to drag you into it.  

The fact that their boss has forwarded their email to you is also somewhat telling.  Stay observant and see what else you learn.