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to be dreading work tomorrow & unable to sleep after this email - WIBU?

(41 Posts)
theduchessstill Sun 05-Nov-17 23:31:57

I appear to have offended, angered and upset a colleague from a different department who has to roll out a new initiative over the coming weeks. The changes will have quite an impact on my department and his latest directive was sent out on Friday and had several members of my team in uproar. They told me they were going to email their concerns and I didn't tell them not to because I felt they had valid points.

Late on Friday I also sent him an email in which I challenged, politely I feel, some of his ideas and explained why they would be difficult for us to implement. I also pointed out a fairly minor error he had made which was directly related to the project in question. I could have ignored it and perhaps should have.

Anyway, he has sent an icy reply today claiming he has been besieged by emails from my department and that we have misrepresented his views, which I don't think we have. He has also CC'd in two senior managers, which I feel is a little OTT, but on the other hand I am quite glad as it should mean I get a chance to air my views.

But I am now dreading seeing him tomorrow and don't know how I should approach him. We don't work together but I see him most days. He is not senior to me but I don't know him very well. I can't sleep for playing out possible approaches. How shall I play it??

ButchyRestingFace Sun 05-Nov-17 23:34:04

Are you the manager of your department?

theduchessstill Sun 05-Nov-17 23:35:48

Yes I am the manager - sorry, should have said that.

Dobopdidoo1 Sun 05-Nov-17 23:35:54

Ok, relax OP. You haven’t done anything unprofessional. It’s normal to discuss upcoming change in the workplace.

Just keep calm and professional. If he chooses to get huffy whilst you stay calm and engaged in trying to find solutions, it will be noted by his superiors.

ButchyRestingFace Sun 05-Nov-17 23:42:26

The only thing I was thinking is that perhaps a collated response detailing staff concerns might have been more a propos?

Rather than people emailing him individually and him feeling “besieged”? (or so he says)

WillowWeeping Sun 05-Nov-17 23:44:39

Email isn't for these sorts of exchanges. Ever.

I'd be pretty pissed off if, as a senior manager, I was copied into an exchange by two of my reports who hadn't had the good sense to align on a cross functional engagement prior to roll out.

I wouldn't be that interested in giving either party an opportunity to "air their views" I'd just want them to get it resolved.

I would be extremely pissed off if a peer emailed me their complaints about an initiative I was rolling out. Be an adult and call them.

Best advice speak face to face ASAP

justilou1 Sun 05-Nov-17 23:45:01

If he has cc'd in two senior managers, he's shot himself in the foot anyway, the tanty, little princess. Send them copies of the emails from your staff and yourself (Maybe highlighting his mistake). Problem solved.

SeaToSki Sun 05-Nov-17 23:48:07

Stay very calm and professional. If he gets huffy you can always employ my favourite work phrase. “That is not the issue at hand”. ....pause....redirect to your point. Have a few key phrases in your mind and maybe a list of your points on the front page of something, so you can just glance down causally if you need to refocus. Another thing I do if dealing with a huffy person, is put on my dealing with a toddler mind set. Lots of repeating the main point and refusing to get tangled up in the emotion and button pushing. I will be sending good thoughts your way tomorrow

VladmirsPoutine Sun 05-Nov-17 23:50:13

Keep cool, calm and collected.

Don't rise to baiting or micro aggressions. Sort out a meeting if you can to talk it through as it directly impacts your lot.

Bring your A-game. Keep your powder on!

Withhindsight Sun 05-Nov-17 23:51:07

I'd say if they were sent to individuals rather than to the HODs to cascade, then they can simply reply to him. He should be delighted that so many people are interested in what he has to say (😀) Stay professional dont worry, it needs talking about, you've done the right thing.

Slimthistime Sun 05-Nov-17 23:53:21

"Anyway, he has sent an icy reply today claiming he has been besieged by emails from my department and that we have misrepresented his views, which I don't think we have"

Did you see the emails sent by your direct reports?

Would have been much better to collate their concerns and have a face to face meeting just you and him.

ElizabethDarcey Sun 05-Nov-17 23:53:48

I would be extremely pissed off if a peer emailed me their complaints about an initiative I was rolling out. Be an adult and call them.

Sorry but I think e-mail is far better than calling. E-mail allows them to handle your complaint/query at their convenience instead of putting them on the spot. It also means you word your concerns appropriately rather than any emotion coming over in your voice. It gives them time to consider your words (or it should) and not give a knee jerk response. It also means that the dialogue is on record if the changes cause problems in your department. You have acted completely appropriately and I think it sounds like they are just feeling a bit huffy that their plans have gone down so badly. Not your problem. Stick to your guns and be professional and polite.

LittleBirdBlues Sun 05-Nov-17 23:57:05

Definitely do NOT email your senior managers any more of your exchanges! This is not their problem.

Speak to your colleague face to face tomorrow. It'll be fine. You haven't set a foot wrong so far. Stay calm listen to him. Focus on finding a solution ie a meeting to discuss the changes you are unhappy with.

Ceto Mon 06-Nov-17 00:13:20

If you can't sleep, make a bullet point list for yourself of the relevant facts and points you want to make. I find that's very helpful to reassure yourself that you won't forget and have something to build on in the morning.

KickAssAngel Mon 06-Nov-17 00:34:16

He shouldn't really be emailing at the weekend

Also, why didn't you know details of this before Friday? Should there have been some consultation or just information passed your way before this began?

This isn't life & death. No-one's insulted him. You just see a different way of making this work so you need to get together and iron out the details.

Do ask him how many emails he got. If he got literally dozens, then you can tell him that you'll speak to your department and suggest that in future they send a max of one email each. If he only got 2 or 3 but feels besieged, then making him say how many he got could put it into perspective for him.

Send just ONE email that includes the seniors, suggesting that the 2 of you get together asap to chat about getting this rolling so that it works for everyone, then just contact him directly for a meeting about it.

WillowWeeping Mon 06-Nov-17 08:09:59

Sorry but I think e-mail is far better than calling. E-mail allows them to handle your complaint/query at their convenience instead of putting them on the spot

You don't just call people up and launch into it confused You send an email requesting a meeting to discuss XYZ. Bullet point overarching issues.

If particularly complex you follow up with an agenda so expectations are set.

Emailing "concerns" like this is number on reason why people don't progress IME - I don't want to see my direct reports battling things out in a he said/she said manner. It's not a competition. As a manager you just want a solution.

Preferably one that is reached without having to step in and mediate.

SilverSpot Mon 06-Nov-17 08:23:43

Relax - there is a clearly an issue with the way the project change person has engaged with your team.

Reply to all "Dear colleague. I am sorry you feel that you have been besieged with emails, and that you feel the team have misinterpreted your views. To this end, perhaps you could come over to the department on [Monday afternoon] and run an engagement session with the team to clarify? Looking forward to working with you to achieve [x]. Regards ,OP"

SilverSpot Mon 06-Nov-17 08:24:44

I wouldn't have let me team all randomly email this guy though, that is kinda unprofessional.

You should have collated concerns and arranged to meet with the guy,

Crumbs1 Mon 06-Nov-17 08:31:07

I’d also be concerned if two managers resulted to in fighting and couldn’t resolve the situation without copying me in.
You’re both adults and should be having a conversation.
I assume there was some degree of consultantion and opportunity for people to comment prior to roll out? If not, perhaps that is the discussion that needs to take place.
How do you respond to him? The simple answer is don’t pick a fight you aren’t in control of and can’t address directly with the person concerned.
Arrange a meeting. Apologise for not speaking about it directly, apologise for not suggesting staff collated a single response. Tell him you were disappointed he copied half the world in. Then discuss the specific concerns.

OliviaStabler Mon 06-Nov-17 08:32:50

SilverSpots reply is perfect. Exactly what I would have sent

LakieLady Mon 06-Nov-17 08:33:27

Did he email your whole team about the changes? If so, I think it's fine for them to respond directly. Bit different if it was forwarded to the team by someone else.

I'd be minded to use the time-honoured phrase "I'm sorry you feel ..." besieged, in this case. It's acknowledging their issues without taking on any liability for them.

Anyway, stay calm, focus on the problems, and stick to your guns. After all, if he'd adopted a collaborative approach to start with, people could have had their say before the event, rather than afterwards.

Fekko Mon 06-Nov-17 08:33:48

He is covering his backside in case his ideas are roundly flawed and kicked out, or it is implemented and falls flat.

It's probably been a tough project and it's horrible when there are complaints when you rollout your master plan or people find errors in it.

He is taking it personally and maybe feels that his job is on the line. That's why he cced the bosses - so he can get a preemptive excuse in that nobody supported him and were against the plan from day 1. Although why he didn't consult key staff is an issue.

Be factual, stick to the points and be friendly. Offer alternatives and don't let his emotions fog the issue.

SummatFishyEre Mon 06-Nov-17 08:40:28

I don't think you should have sat back and allowed multiple emails to come from your team. Badly handled on your part.

LazyDailyMailJournos Mon 06-Nov-17 08:41:30

Send Silver's response.

I agree that email is not the best way to manage change like this - anything slightly controversial should always be rolled out F2F either by the person driving the change or by co-ordinating via line managers. I would have collated feedback from your team and sent it as one - although I would be tempted to highlight that if he's sent an email to every single person rather than choosing to cascade via managers, it shouldn't come as a surprise that some recipients have been riled up and simply pressed 'reply' directly to him, rather than going via you.

It's also poor form to email at weekends. And as for cc'ing the senior managers - whatever for? Managers are paid to manage - and that includes being able to work with each other to resolve differences of approach in a professional mannner. If they need advice or to escalate then the expectation is that they should talk to their SM, not tell tales on each other using the 'cc' (or even worse the 'bcc') button.

Keep calm, be professional. It's a storm in a teacup and will blow over in a day or two, but make sure that you manage your team's response effectively. You may not like the policy, but if that's what's been agreed then your job is to support and implement it.

RavingRoo Mon 06-Nov-17 08:42:40

Your team handled this normally. He’s being the unprofessional one - why can’t he handle challenge? As a manager you should be able to - raise that when you meet him, and if needed go over his head.

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