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Hiding behind email and instant messaging?

Lazy or Scared?

Our world of communication has changed dramatically over the last decade, there are now so many ways to communicate with your colleagues, customers and suppliers. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Text, Email, the list goes on!

And as that world has changed, our communication habits changed along with it. Creating a "safe" and comfortable environment for some people to use these digital comm's tools to convey all their messages. Some people use them well, others, maybe not so much.

There are even those within your workplace that have become almost like the trolls you find on your social media platforms. Email or instant messaging can easily be misinterpreted leading to a multitude of issues and problems, the biggest one, ruining working relationships, sometimes beyond repair.

We’ve all been there, you receive an email from “that colleague".

I know I have, sometimes I shrug the comment off, sometimes I get annoyed but quite often I pick up the phone and try to call them, knowing full well they will never answer the phone. Because if I’m too be completely honest, I think they are too “chicken shit” to have a grown up conversation.

These colleagues are causing more harm and damage to the workplace environment than we realise.

A bit like trolling on social media, these people become confident behind the keyboard. Hiding behind emails generally means people will use language, tone and expressions they would never say face to face, or even by telephone. In fact research shows you are more likely to lie! In turn, this creates the great “email war” a battle which didn’t need to exist in the first place. All because they don’t have the courage to speak to their colleague face to face.

The same Research also shows the further removed you are from the person you are communicating with the more likely you are to be confrontational and use an augmentative tone.

If you are the “receiver” of these types of messages, it’s difficult, because the old aged saying “attack is the best form of defence” springs to mind, but my advise, keep it classy, be professional and engage with an open and collaborative message in return while requesting to meet face to face - this always helps to defuse any message.

Instead of spending your time engaging in an email or instant message battle, getting pissed off at your colleagues tone or misinterpreting messages. Go and have a chat or pick up the phone, your stress levels will thank you, productivity will rise, and the rest of your colleagues will breathe a sigh of relief as they no longer have to hear about the ongoing saga and perhaps your working relationships will become stronger.

Let's just be kind, and as one of my previous managers used to say "Peace and love, it's all about peace and love"


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