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Snotty work emails are counter productive

(31 Posts)
pettywitchinlondon Wed 10-Jun-15 08:59:35

Some individuals it seems to be their favourite way of communication. Often its overzealous people that are trying to stand ground.

Aibu to think they just don't achieve anything? Even when someone does make a mistake I would never dream of copying in countless people and having a go at them to publicly shame. What I find best is a quiet private word and giving knowledge as mostly it's due to lack of understanding.

Sending a patronising email ofen makes the sender look silly, especially when it turns out they are wrong or was caused by them. Finding blame rather than improving processes seems to be very popular.

LazyLouLou Wed 10-Jun-15 09:09:16

Such emails are one of the reasons I quit my teaching/managerial post. Not that the contents caused me any problems but that the insight they gave me into the petty, unprofessional minds of the senders was depressing.

None ever seemed to send the 'Oops! I was wrong' email to all and sundry. Once, for fun, as I was leaving, I thanked a serial offender for his apology, and copied all the people he had cc'd in his original complaint. He complained that I was making him look silly... One Vice Principal agreed, he did look silly smile

I think those emails will now be how I judge the mental/social health of any organisation I work for.

Trills Wed 10-Jun-15 09:14:33

If somene is being snotty, I'd rather they did it by email, then there is "proof" of their unprofessional behaviour.

Squirrel78 Wed 10-Jun-15 09:15:51

I agree. I think e-mail is the preferred method for "bad news" as you can detach yourself from the immediate response of the recipient and you can also force others to be involved just by clicking a button and therefore dilute the responsibility of whatever the issue is so its not just your problem.

However e-mails are open to misinterpretation as you don't have the added factors of facial expressions, tone and body language that we all use to help understand how someone feels. Therefore it doesn't really replace face to face contact.

I remember the days pre-email where I would banter with suppliers over the phone and have a laugh. Now everything is done by email and I miss all that. I have one person I deal with called Chris and have no idea if they are male or female!

SunnySomer Wed 10-Jun-15 09:26:48

I hate emails with a passion. In a voluntary role I do we correspond a lot by email, lots of cc'ing involved and there have been one or two HIDEOUS gaffes that have taken months to repair. Eg comments about a third party accidentally shared with that third party, rows that blow up out of nowhere because one person uses an unfortunate word, then 20 people weigh in with their opinion and everyone gets increasingly upset and irritated; most are just glancing at their emails on their phones while trying to do other stuff, so don't really think properly about what they're writing.... Horrible.

treaclesoda Wed 10-Jun-15 09:31:25

It depends. Like another poster I think it's better to have a written record of things. But it's pretty galling to get an email about something petty, all written in SHOUTY CAPITALS and CCd to loads of people...

InstitutionCode Wed 10-Jun-15 09:32:02

email is very dangerous and should never, ever be used when you're angry or upset. It's far to easy to send something that's a bit too strongly worded, to too many people. Unlike a letter, people tend to respond immediately without giving themselves time to calm down and/or consider the response because it gets the issue off their desk quickly and easily. On the telephone people still try to be mostly polite but behind cover of email that doesn't always feel as necessary.

It took me too long and some very embarrassing mistakes to learn this.

blue42 Wed 10-Jun-15 09:55:34

In my experience, the person sending the snotty email to all and sundry has a tendency to make a complete cock of themselves in front of all the people they were trying to impress. So for the most part, I'm happy to let them go for it.

The ones that make me laugh most are the people who fling the insults about, then simply run away when you challenge them to prove their point smile

Drowsybutawake Wed 10-Jun-15 10:03:06

I think those emails will now be how I judge the mental/social health of any organisation I work for.

^^ this.

Worst office I've ever heard of for this was DH's old employer, a mental health service provider hmm

I have pulled staff members aside for a quiet word about the tone of their emails before and how counter productive they were. I probably miss loads though and they can cause serious anxiety.

manchestermummy Wed 10-Jun-15 10:11:20

Oh I agree!

I am often on the receiving end of snotty emails from one colleague. Unfortunately (for her!) she likes to big herself up so copies in the senior managers at all times.

An example:

I have recently opened an envelope and ripped it in the process. It's due to Manchester not ordering the right envelopes. Please can Manchester order new envelopes asap.*

*Scenario changed to protect identities

I'm senior to this person.

Lately I've been having to count to 150....

Nettletheelf Wed 10-Jun-15 10:24:53

The e-mails I hate most are those where somebody asks you to do something then copies in somebody they think you might be afraid of, to make you (they think) hop to it.

It never works on me. The messages these e-mails send are:

- I don't trust you to do this, so I'm asking you in front of witnesses.

- I have no confidence in my own authority so I've brought my mummy along (metaphorically).

- I am a bit of a weasel.

- I can't see how my actions could possibly irritate anybody because all I care about is ME not getting into trouble for not clearing my tiresome 'to do' list. Which is all I'm fit for: following a list of instructions with my mouth hanging slightly open.

Why do senders of e-mails like this not realise? Interestingly, when I've gently challenged people who send e-mails like this (in person, or over the phone; I suggest that they could have just called me, or that thee was no need to copy anybody else into a simple request) they react with fury and go running to mummy (their line manager) complaining of aggression.

reni1 Wed 10-Jun-15 10:30:19

I hate inappropriately forwarded work emails.

"Please be aware that everybody has to wash their own cups, the cleaners are not here to do it, it appears that somebody from the Ancient Egyptian Research Group does not do so" (Ancient Egypt has 2 members, 1 is the sender). This email gets sent to the vice chancellor, the head of division, the tea lady, every PhD student and David Cameron for good measure.

Sazzle41 Wed 10-Jun-15 10:30:33

What Blue42 and Drowsy said. You have to be very very careful how you word emails in corporate world..... anything emotional or blame casting ruffles too many feathers/shows up too many slackers - who people already know are slackers anyway tbh. Gushy lets all pull together 'stylee' is the best way and gets you brownie points for diplomacy. People like steady, oiled wheels at work - and to be stroked , so to speak.

Yokohamajojo Wed 10-Jun-15 10:34:48

Oh how I hate this too! and another one of my pet hate is when I suddenly get cc'd into a chain of 50 emails with a ending of Yokohama could help with this? eh? you want me to trail through this chain and work out what I am to help with instead of talking to me first.....

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 10-Jun-15 10:42:57

It's the evolution of the snotty Post-It Note.
My immediate manager used to leavve these "Please Tidy This !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" on a near pile of notes that we were actually working on hmm

I bloody detest the "Please Wash Your Cups , It's The Cleaner's Day Off/ Cleaning Fairy's Day Off" type notes. (Ha Fecking Ha)

pettywitchinlondon Wed 10-Jun-15 10:55:56

I think those emails will now be how I judge the mental/social health of any organisation I work for.

^yes totally

In some organisations if they let this culture go unchalenged its seen as the acceptable way to do it and most people just accept it. Like where I am at the moment, it is too much work to chqnge things so I just tend to ignore.

I'm doing the counting to 100 also.

It always seems to be the people that aren't very good at their job that send these thoughtless self important emails. In my head I know this, but as it goes unchallenged I fear I maybe on my own.

pettywitchinlondon Wed 10-Jun-15 10:58:05

Oh how I hate this too! and another one of my pet hate is when I suddenly get cc'd into a chain of 50 emails with a ending of Yokohama could help with this? eh? you want me to trail through this chain and work out what I am to help with instead of talking to me first.....

Yes that's annoying also. Misuse of email really. Go speak to people.

I do like the email free days some companies have, although most workers react stupidly to these.

susanstryingterm Wed 10-Jun-15 11:12:53

Any time I've seen someone send a snotty email and cc it to everyone, they have done themselves more harm than good, going waaay down in everyone's estimation.

I find emails can be good when you're feeling quite heated about a situation. Having to type up your view and read it over makes you a bit more careful about what you say. It also, as others have said, creates an official record of an objection, concern or complaint which means people are more likely to follow up and not fob you off.

DrDre Wed 10-Jun-15 11:19:19

ALWAYS re read an e-mail before you send it. I am very careful about the e-mails I send out due to misunderstandings in the past, it is worth just taking a moment to check what you have written to avoid problems.
The same can be said about putting stuff on social media, I have seen big fallings out over fairly innocuous stuff that has been posted, but someone has taken something in it the wrong way.

manchestermummy Wed 10-Jun-15 11:22:52

Yokohama that drives me insane. My line manager does it all the time. I'll scroll through the messages and more often than not if I'd have been copied in right from the start - or, heaven forfend, someone had spoken to me in the first instance - whatever the issue was could have been resolved long ago.

InstitutionCode Wed 10-Jun-15 11:24:03

Yes, DrDre, it's also important never to make a joke on an email (or on MN!) because the recipient never reads it in the same tone of voice that you wrote it!

NoIsNotACompleteSentence Wed 10-Jun-15 11:26:17

I agree email can be good for proving a record of something but i also agree it is woefully misused, particularly the CCing so many people in and those awful "chain" type - gives me The Rage.

When I was at work, I asked my staff within branch to only email each other if the recipient was out of the office - if they were in they had to go and TALK! Sometimes I did follow up on conversations/meeting with an email agreeing next actions to be done but HATE the use of pointless, passive aggressive emails between people sitting in the same office ffs!

My mantra was always Praise in Public, Punish in Private. It seemed to work as everyone got on very well.

Trills Thu 11-Jun-15 00:35:26

when I suddenly get cc'd into a chain of 50 emails with a ending of Yokohama could help with this?

Very annoying.

I disagree that they should phone- I don't want to be interrupted and I like to havea record of requests - but when involvng a new person give them a precis of what is going on and what you want from them.

MrsHathaway Thu 11-Jun-15 00:55:16

DH is slow to learn this. He's getting better. Unfortunately his company has offices all over the country and the world and sometimes he's on a project with people at different sites so the face-to-face option isn't always available.

I remember once someone slightly senior to me (diagonally) wanted to have a go at me about the fact he needed to cover for me while I was at training off site. He copied everybody, obviously. One person replied to all saying rather smoothly that they thought it was his job and hadn't he realised? Nothing was ever mentioned again. Admittedly it was poor management that put him in that position in the first place but I couldn't help that either.

FindoGask Thu 11-Jun-15 05:25:59

We don't get that in our work. Emails are used probably more than phone calls but only because it's much easier to find when you asked for something or passed something on when it's logged in your sent items box. I can think of only one time it was used to raise an issue, and that was between our whole staff team and to do with a duty rota, and in that case it was the only feasible way of dealing with it.

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