I had an issue last year with a coworker acting a bit below his status — less professional than his position should require. I may be a bit sensitive to this simply because this sort of thing is critically bad in the military and every management and leadership book I’ve read. Sometimes I wonder if that’s a benefit or a curse.
Due to being geographically separated and always on-the-move, it was logistically impossible to meet up and discuss. I’m not one to let an issue sit and fester, nor am I one to discuss with everyone around to get them to fix my problems (like some Passive-Aggressive) — I’d rather address things head-on. This is the best I came up with trying not to be overly harsh, yet setting him back on his heels that this sort of thing never ends well. Let’s call him “Ron”:
You’re chastising me in a broadcast email, this tends to cast a poor impression that is difficult to repair. Some professionals chastise in private, especially when they have unchecked suspicions. You may not realize that it also makes you appear difficult to work with.
You don’t know that I told the customer about interval-vs-total, but you’re assuming I didn’t. It might be better to confirm assumptions.
You haven’t given me anything concrete that I can take back to the customer, there’s a lot of “doesn’t look” and “looks to me” which we’ve tried to depend on before without success.
Chastising me publicly on poor assumptions while giving me no benefit tends to sour working relationships, something those in leadership roles tend to have to learn through the bridges burned. I hope you can reconsider this habit.
In the end, we have to work together: that’s why I’m sending this to you in a private email to see if we can avoid tainting this relationship.
How would you write this?