Business Performance Consulting, empathy, People

The “All Users” scolding email conundrum

We’ve all received one of these types emails. Likely we’ve all sent one as well. The message is one that is sent to everyone in the company’s database stating displeasure about what is likely one person’s behaviour, but they don’t know who that person is so everyone gets to learn the lesson.

Never in the history of the world has a group email changed anyone’s behaviour. (note: I haven’t actually researched this, but I’m assuming it’s true). It certainly has never changed my behaviour. These emails have, however, changed my mood to the worse and I start to think “Why am I receiving this, I always/never do that good/bad thing”. Conversely, when I sent these types of emails it was mainly to vent rather than address the issue directly. Often I knew, or suspected I knew, who the culprit was but I didn’t want to confront them directly, so instead it was dressed up as some sort of edict of common sense, attempting to indirectly shame others into compliance.

Here’s the actual problem – if a person is going to behave poorly, an email isn’t going to be enough to change their behaviour. They need to be approached, spoken to as a fellow human being, and you need to share your perspective on how their behaviour effects you. Then you have a chance at someone unloading the dishwasher and not track mud through the office.

Also, I realize the irony in me sending out this post rather than talking to everyone who I see do this. . .I thought this might work better. I’ll stop by your office later to talk further.




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