How to Avoid Email Wars

The best chapters create a group culture that expects nothing short of excellence.

Strong leaders understand that creating sustained excellence relies on challenging the status quo.

Challenging the status quo often ignites heated debate among chapter members.

Sometimes these heated debates devolve into angry, back and forth reply-all email shouting matches.

For a variety of reasons, these email wars seldom produce a winner and are best avoided altogether.

What’s the best thing a chapter leader can do when caught in the crossfire of a nasty email debate?  Pick up the phone, call the participants and ask to meet in person.

Lifehacker offers some additional guidance on the importance of responding to angry emails in person:

“Offer to meet the person and talk face-to-face. Constant emails back and forth can make a bad situation worse.”

Having dealt with my share of angry e-mails over the years (and allowed myself to get dragged into some very painful arguments), I’ll second that suggestion – but it doesn’t have to be a face-to-face meeting. If the message came from someone you know, just pick up the phone: “Hey, I wanted to talk about your e-mail and try to get this worked out.” Most of the time, that’s a quick and effective way to resolve bad feelings.

When we’re forced to turn that anger into a real, human interaction, we’re a lot less likely to go overboard with it, and can move to resolve the issue in a much more civilized manner.

A strong brotherhood knows how to challenge the norm through a spirited but respectful debate.

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