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Resolve issues face-to-face whenever you can - not by email

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 27 March 2018

 


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Resolve issues face-to-face whenever you can - not by email
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 213
Posted DateTuesday 27 March 2018 09:55 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

Let me share a true story.

A friend of mine was told by their manager never to resolve problems face-to-face but to do it by an exchange of emails and to copy him so that there was an audit trail. Then if anything went wrong, it was obvious who was to blame.

Sometime later, my friend noticed that the sales manager had made an incorrect entry in the new CRM database. It was a relatively trivial mistake.

Usually, he would have just walked around to the manager's desk explained to him the problem and resolved it in a short conversation. But following his manager's orders, he sent an email to the sales manager pointing out the mistake and explaining that he needed to correct it.

The IT manager misinterpreted the tone of the email and felt he was being criticised and being treated like a child. He responded emotionally and of course copied my friends boss and also copied another level up the hierarchy.

The whole issue took a face-to-face meeting to resolve between my friend, his boss, his boss's boss and the sales manager. It was resolved but at the expense of the relationship between my friend and the sales manager. Things were never quite the same again between them.

Although I have slightly changed the details, this is a real story and not an unusual one.

If you have the choice, always resolve issues face-to-face, not by email. It's the human way to do things.



If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen


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Tuesday 20 November 2018
11:27 PM GMT