I was recently involved in a confusing situation at work, which involved an email I sent to provide guidance being misunderstood and causing the recipient to take offense. While that was not my intention, I can see why the tone of my correspondence was misconstrued. My company stood behind me, while at the same time suggesting I be more aware of my tone in my emails. I agree that this is something that I must do (as do most of us), especially since most of our interpersonal interactions happen via email, text, and social media. I decided to analyze my actions further so I do not make the same mistakes in the future.
First, I think understanding where the other person/party is coming from before getting into specific details is important. I only had one conversation with my now former client and his wife, and noticed the latter was much more talkative. I also discovered that they had different goals in mind than those provided by their company. This particular point should have made me contact my supervisor directly to alert her of this discrepancy immediately. While I did report the issue, I did not emphasize its seriousness to my company. While I am glad not to have brought it up during my conversation with the couple, I should have paused to clear up the confusion immediately with my company before moving forward.
I also wish I contacted my supervisor about an email she sent me to forward to the client about a sensitive matter. Because I went ahead and sent the email without realizing how it may be interpreted, I put myself in an awkward situation. I believe I should not have been given the task, because it was an issue to be settled between my company's and my client’s companies’ managerial and human resources departments. I will remember this in the future should a similar situation arise.
I am glad the situation is over, but others always arise to present new challenges. How do you handle the challenges of maintaining careful correspondence?