A good mantra for communication – always, but especially now that so many are remote – is to RESPOND rather than to REACT. It’s a sign of Emotional Intelligence to be able to modulate your emotions, and replying calmly to emails or messages is a great time to put that into practice.

Sharing your emotions without the buffer of time or context rarely advances the conversation in a productive way. If you respond to a message with an open mind instead of drawing conclusions, you are more likely to gain understanding instead of escalating the drama.

I used to have a supervisor who was notorious for firing off email rants late in the evening, thus starting our day on a sour note. Instead of seeking clarification, the email insinuated that we had done something wrong and we were taken to task without an opportunity to clarify. I’m not sure it helped anyone.

Make it your practice to assume a positive intent rather than ranting in your messages. A mature response can go a long way toward fostering productive dialogue and preserving your relationships.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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