How To Respond to That Frustrating Email

Here's a Few Ways You Can Protect Your Reputation When You Get Heated Over an Email

in Jan 23, 2020

We’ve all been there. That moment when you get a text or email from your coworker or boss that doesn’t quite sit right… Or, even worse, is calling you out. The red-hot anger boils inside your veins and you’re ready for combat. Comment immediately. Say something. This is war and the fight is on!

Sloooooooow down.

As leaders, we have to remember: nothing good has ever come from an impulsive urge to fire a text or email back. As Taylor Swift says, you need to calm down. In this post, we’ll cover three easy ways you can protect your reputation and avoid saying something you shouldn’t when you get heated.

Seek Out a Confidant

Whether you’re starting your first job or you’re a seasoned CEO, what you say and how you say it drastically impact how you’re perceived as a leader. If you want to establish credibility and lead with impact, it’s important to be honest and professional with your words. Before you dive into a response to that frustrating email, seek out a confidant, which is someone who can help wind you down. The first thing I do is talk to a confidant about what happened. Someone I can trust. Someone not involved in the situation. Maybe a spouse, a parent or a friend. I try and gauge their thoughts and see if I’m being unreasonable. By getting it out of your head, you can help alleviate some of the pressure and stop your mind from overdramatizing.

Try to See It From Their Perspective

Next, I try and look at it from my coworker or boss’s point of view. I know, I know. This can be a tough one! I try and understand their perspective and what is truly meant in the message. What is the base underlying problem in the note? Was their intention to be helpful and I’m just reading it wrong? I usually seek clarity in person or face-to-face over a video call.

Check Your Reality

I then try to minimize the significance by doing a good ole fashioned #RealityCheck. Do I still have a job? Yes. Does the person think I’m a horrible or incompetent employee? Probably not. Will this message be the end-all, be-all of my career? Absolutely not. So if that’s the case, why am I making such a big deal? Good point.

The truth is, usually if someone criticizes us and we take it personally, the person is merely poking holes in something that we are self-conscious about. For example, if I was the smartest person in the world and someone called me dumb and I took it personally, that is my issue. Because I should be confident in my intellect.

Remember, You’re in This Together

At the end of the day, you’re in this together and both trying to make a positive impact in the world. The next time an email or text gets under your skin, remember to pause to take a breath, seek out a confidant, try to see it from their point of view, and check your reality! Following these steps will help you maintain your reputation as a leader and continue to make a great impact.

Bryan West
Creative Lead at | + posts

Bryan is the Creative Lead of TEAMTRI, meaning he oversees media and video production projects, animations and conference graphics. He is an avid-hiker, adventure seeker, storyteller and wannabe Instagram influencer. Prior to TEAMTRI, Bryan worked as a television reporter. He has won Emmy, DuPont and Murrow awards for his work in broadcast news. He hopes to publish a book and is proudest of living a life in sobriety.

Written Bryan West

Bryan is the Creative Lead of TEAMTRI, meaning he oversees media and video production projects, animations and conference graphics. He is an avid-hiker, adventure seeker, storyteller and wannabe Instagram influencer. Prior to TEAMTRI, Bryan worked as a television reporter. He has won Emmy, DuPont and Murrow awards for his work in broadcast news. He hopes to publish a book and is proudest of living a life in sobriety.