I saw one of THOSE emails recently. It was obviously written out of frustration. But it came across as rude and nasty and threatened several actions that would largely have been pointless. So I wondered, if the person who sent the email was asked to say the written words out loud to the faces of the people involved, what would happen. I strongly suspect that the writer would have backed down and been too embarrassed. So why is it OK to send an email or post on social media or tweet messages that would be totally unacceptable to say out loud.
Is there some security that comes from being behind a screen and not face to face? Do we justify it because we see people in positions of power using written words as insults? Or has it just become so normal that we don’t care?
The workplace can be difficult (see our previous article “Are they toxic, or just different”). People have different motivations, different goals and other lives going on that can affect the way they behave and react. But there is no excuse for rudeness. You can choose the way you interact, whether it is in person or through electronic media. Choose grace.