I received an email from a business user requesting an update of national identifiers for 1150 employees. Being the fairly new guy (I've been with the company for only a year), I looped in the other developer, "RP" (5 years), since she knows more, to see if there is already an existing script that does this task. The thread goes like this:

Requestor: Please update the employees' NSS with the attached file.
Me: Looping in "RP". Hi "Requestor", can you please clarify if the update is for National Identifiers? thank you.
Requestor: Yes, its the national identifiers.
RP (5 year dev): No, we do not have a ready auto program for this.
Me: ** removed business users from email thread** If that's the case, then we may need to create a new program for this. We can test in our Test Environment on Monday, then let "Business User" Verify before we put it into production. Please let me know your thoughts on this.
RP: We already have a process to update National Identifiers which is not exposed to users. Changing National Identifiers is not advisable and has many parameters to it. Need to check the sanity of data like if the payrolls have been run on employee with current ssn, does any other employee exist with provided ssn etc. Please discuss this with "MANAGER" before going ahead with anything.

I was confused, because she earlier stated that there isn't any programs created for it. So I asked for a clarification:

Me: I haven't worked on this yet. You mentioned earlier that there is no process built for this yet. Can you clarify? " No, we do not have a ready auto program for this."

here comes her reply

RP: Yes, that's right. Read the statement carefully. Though it is available it is not ready for use and not used in Production before.
The package needs tweaking and recompilation for updating columns of our requirements. Its built only for dev team's internal use. It was used in UAT instances to restore the ssns for payroll parallels.
Well and by pointing out such statements, may i know what are you trying to bring up?
I have no intentions of hiding any built programs from use and increase teams work.
If you see the discussions below you should understand why was it said that no program is available.
Would suggest, before jumping directly to solutions/allegations please try to understand whether the requirement is valid as per business/process and if is really feasible.
Just because we have a facility of auto program doesnt mean we go ahead and use it based on SR. Please apply some thought and try to do impact analysis of the updates.
Last but not the least, instead of discussing and spending time in such statements, would have appreciated if you could have given some thought to come up with more points on impact of such updates.
Such as comparing the file data with system data and letting the team know what the situation is. That would help more.

I was surprised by her reply, and I don't know how she thought I was throwing "allegations" or "bringing up" stuff. I just finally replied just to control the situation:

Me: "Hi RP, Calm down. :) No “allegations” are being brought up here. I just wanted to clarify the earlier statement, that’s all. Don’t take it negatively. :) Not sure why you’ve concluded that I’m “bringing up” something. It was just a request for clarification. We can discuss this over tomorrow to come up with a solution. Thanks for clarifying.

To somehow makes matters "worse", It seems our Manager (who shares the same nationality with RP), is taking her side:

Manager: Clarification Emails should be sent 1:1.

Some notes that might be worth considering:

  1. The whole team was copied in the email, including our manager.
  2. I work remotely from them across the globe (I'm in PH, they're in the US).
  3. They are a different nationality (I'm Filipino, they're mostly Indian.)
  4. The email exchange was over the weekend, and we cannot call each other up.

My questions are:

  1. Did I say anything wrong?
  2. What can I do at this point?
  3. How can this be avoided?
  • 268
    Even with the smiley :) the words "Calm Down" rarely have the desired effect ...
    – brhans
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 16:47
  • 25
    Even without the "Calm Down", the smiley would suffice to irritate me, doubly so with their redundancy.
    – palswim
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 22:19
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    @brhans, I would even say that they could be interpreted extremely badly. Say sorry instead, smileys can look like a provocation. Like: "It's funny you're angry". Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 22:46
  • 49
    Never in the history of calming down, has anyone actually calmed down by hearing the words "calm down".
    – berry120
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 22:53
  • 18
    I've been in this situation as a senior dev before. It goes like this: 1. a customer will make a request for something they shouldn't because they don't understand some aspect of the technology or design 2. a junior dev will answer them and make explicit or implicit commitments 3. the senior dev gets looped in and has to be very careful not to tell the customer "No", but to delay until a formal discussion can happen 4. the junior dev is like "why not? I could do this easily" because they don't understand what's REALLY going on... potentially creating a lot of extra work or stress.
    – Blackhawk
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 18:32

11 Answers 11


From what I understand, here are my answers to your questions:

Did I say anything wrong?

In my opinion, yes:

  1. In asking for clarification on whether or not there was a program to do what the requester wanted, you ignored the strongly worded point of RP's message: that this is a dangerous change to make, and must be discussed with the manager.

This probably annoyed and worried her because it seemed like you were jumping ahead to considering how to implement a solution, and ignoring important advice not to do so without approval. This is probably why her second reply was much stronger worded, because you seemed to have not understood or acknowledged her advice earlier.

  1. Telling someone to "calm down" is, I think, rude and condescending in a professional setting. Especially if they are your senior. It might get someone to bite their tongue but is unlikely to diffuse tensions.

What can I do at this point?

Apologize (something like "I'm sorry if I came off as rude or dismissive of your concerns, I will do as you advise"), and do as she says and discuss the matter with the manager before considering implementation details. Don't ask her any further implementation details until you are sure you need them.

EDIT: See discussion in comments about the wording of the apology, there's some debate whether "if I came off as rude or dismissive" sounds like it is not sincere or is a non-apology.

How can this be avoided?

  1. Don't tell people to calm down.

  2. Communicate more clearly that you are paying attention to advice you are given and that you are taking the senior developer's concerns seriously. For example, instead of writing:

I haven't worked on this yet. You mentioned earlier that there is no process built for this yet. Can you clarify?

try something like:

Thanks for the advice, I will be sure to discuss with "MANAGER" before proceeding further, and I understand the dangerous nature of this request. Just out of curiosity, could you clarify what you meant by ...

Although personally I wouldn't bother the other developer with further technical questions before discussing with the manager. In this case I would have answered as follows:

Thank you for the advice, I understand that this is very dangerous and I will discuss with "MANAGER" whether to proceed.

  • 6
    Generally in similar situations, I word the request for clarification as an input to the discussion with the manager. Something to the effect of "I want to make sure that when discussing with manager I have all information available, can you clarify if..."
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 8:31
  • 28
    Although he shouldn't have said "Calm down" or used emojis, this was at the end. To me, the senior overreacted. Or maybe OP has been annoying to her many times, hence the reaction. And actually, asking exactly what they have as auto program to know what they can start from is not a dumb question IMO.
    – dyesdyes
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 8:44
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    "I'm sorry if I came off as rude or dismissive of your concerns". I would change that to "I'm sorry that I was rude and dismissive of your concerns". Apologies starting with "I'm sorry if..." doesn't sound sincere to me.
    – user43838
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 11:59
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    @firtydank Though I'm not experienced with OP's culture, in my workplace "I'm sorry if I..." is far preferred by everyone. "I'm sorry I..." implies you had intent to come off rude/dismissive. In the situation the OP is in now, they need to defer intent while also apologizing. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 12:44
  • 24
    Usually I'd phrase it as "I'm sorry, I was not trying to be rude." to separate the "I'm sorry" part from the mitigation. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 13:43

Your coworker told you:

  • there is no prebuilt script to do this
  • doing this is not just a simple matter of a script; you need to be very sure you are not ruining all the data

And you got all accusing, pasting bits of their own email back to them to prove that since there's no script, there's no process, which apparently means anyone can do what they like and change the field at will. This would have made me angry too, and on top of that you cc'ed all kinds of other people on it. And when your more senior coworker tried to set you straight, you got into a mode of setting your coworker straight complete with "calm down", smilies, and "it was just".

Apologize as soon as you can. Do not use the words "just", "only" or "clarification." Do not use any smilies. Start your sentences with "I". Emphasize you will not mess with the data integrity. Thank your coworker for alerting you to this possible problem before you just went ahead and ran a script. Conclude by asking when your coworker is free to work with you on the "making sure it's ok to update identifiers" matter, or by reaffirming that you will be meeting with the manager on that topic before doing anything more on this.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jane S
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 10:43
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    I think you might be reading too much into what the OP said. "which apparently means anyone can do what they like and change the field at will" ← where did that come from? Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 15:34

At the first sign of confusion, you should have picked up the telephone, or arranged a Skype meeting. It's very simple for stuff to get lost in translation - and I can't presume, but if the native tongue of neither side of the e-mail is English, that's all the more reason to pick up the phone and work stuff out.

  • 13
    Boom! Another case where email ( or texting for that matter ) fantastically fails.
    – Neo
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 17:40
  • 27
    @AddictedWithOracle No, you send an e-mail that says, "Can we skype at XX:XX AM/PM, to clarify this?" It's no different than a meeting request that you'd send if the person was in the same office as you.
    – Xavier J
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 17:42
  • 11
    "That's funny, because Skype works every day." - not everyone is blessed with an internet connection that allows more to get through on Skype calls than a garbled mess of incomprehensible sound fragments. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 21:17
  • 8
    @XavierJ: I'm talking about densely populated downtowns in European cities. In my experience, audio calls (not only on Skype, but also on some other messengers) can still be abysmal despite a bandwidth of 50 MBit/s or more. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 21:38
  • 12
    In my experience, phone/Skype/whatever tele-talk is the worst possible form of communication, due to low quality that makes understanding difficult even without a language barrier. Mail allows time to read, re-read, google up meaning, cool down if your feelings were hurt, and proofread to not say something you should keep to yourself. The only thing is that one must actually want to do all mentioned above instead of bringing the "opponent" down ASAP. Skyping won't fix attitude. Another mistake here is sending mail to many people when only one was concerned, that's the biggest boon of phonecall
    – Agent_L
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 10:47

I have spent many years working from my outlook inbox and I think I could provide a few pointers.

I will answer your 3rd question first.

How can this be avoided?

Though the person with whom you were email was being rude, "you" always need to be as professional as possible. Remember any email sent is forever recorded and can be a point of tension come review time or issues crop up down the road.

I have dealt with many upset or rude people over emails in the past 10 years but the best approach is always the professional approach.

To deal with someone who is responding they way they were to your "clarification" question, you should always answer with an apology and a thank you. This serves 2 purposes. The first is to defuse any growing tension and the 2nd is to guide further conversation to something more civil.

Example: "I am sorry if I said something to upset you. I was only looking for clarification so I could understand the situation better. Thank you for your clarification and time. Have a nice day."

Some times you may want to respond back with some witty remark or "stick it to them" because you think they deserve a harsh email but it is always best in the long run to remain professional.

Don't let one email have a negative impact on your job.

Did I say anything wrong?

Before your last reply, I think your conversation was fine. I think the other person may have jumped to some conclusions that they didn't need to jump to but par for the course when dealing with some developers. They can be very sensitive about their work.

However, after that when it comes to your last reply.

Simply: Yes.

Even if someone else is "rude" to you, responding in kind is never going to be looked at favorably.

Sometimes you would think to yourself "The email I sent would not offend me" but this is not the best way to write an email. Think more along the lines of: You are sending an email to your Manager or even his Manager. This is the kind of wording and tact you should be concentrating on.

Probably one of the highest things on my list of "Don't put this in an email" is "Calm Down". 99% of the time, it has the reverse of the intended effect.

Try to avoid telling the person your are emailing to "do/don't" something.

Instead of saying "Don’t take it negatively", change your wording to be less directed towards the person reading the email and more general. E.g.: "I did not mean anything I said in a negative way". Really though, that entire last reply you sent was all kinds of bad. Lots of unfortunate wording. Anyone would take it the wrong way.

What can I do at this point?

Sending an apology email would be a good start. You could say something along the lines of: "I am sorry. I was not trying to be rude. I will take more care with my words in the future"

Some people cannot be appeased so easily but it's a start.

All that being said, you can most likely recover from this and in a few weeks/months no one will remember it. Just take what I said about "always being professional" and the problem should fix itself.

  • 6
    @AddictedWithOracle: The conversation leading up to your last response did not seam all that off to me. I think the other person was probably already irritated at something and took their frustration out on you. Probably thinking they were very clear and tried to explain that while being a bit snippy. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 18:35
  • 8
    @AddictedWithOracle I think it was that you didn't really seem to pay attention to her strong concerns about whether this change should be done, and jumped straight to asking a possibly pointless question (if it's decided that this change shouldn't be made in the first place). Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 18:49
  • 9
    @AddictedWithOracle: I think you don't understand the difference in some of the wording. we don't have a ready auto program for this refers to the user side of things. They do not have something that can readily be used by the customer or an employee outside of IT to change the fields in question. Then they stated they have a program for devs only that is used to make some changes. (Most likely in the case of an error) but to create a program that would allow a user to make changes to that field would present some issues that are best avoided. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 19:02
  • 37
    I dislike almost everything about I am sorry if I said something to upset you. I only was looking for clarification so I could better understand the situation. Thank you for your clarification and time. Have a nice day. Try '""I am sorry I upset you. I didn't understand the situation. Now I know that [something you have learned from the person.] Thank you for your clarification and time." I'm sorry if is not an apology. "I was only" is trying to say it was actually ok. "Have a nice day" is often taken as a dismissal; in some teams it literally means "go away". Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 19:58
  • 14
    'I am sorry if I said something to upset you.' Conditional apologies aren't apologies at all, and this one shifts the blame onto the recipient. 'I apologize' is both necessary and sufficient.
    – user207421
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 23:33

Without delving into stuff that was already answered, I just wanted to add what I think is a vital piece of the "conversations" that may be getting over looked (I didn't see this mentioned, at least not in a way that stood out, as of this answer being posted):

Intended/Included Audience of Conversation

Just for clarification on MY part:

  • When you "originally" asked, it was with the "customer" and happened to include "coworkers" in the email...
  • As far as the customer is concerned, you DON'T have something "production ready"
  • When you "further" asked, you removed the customers and moved the conversation into "team+manager"
  • You DO have a program of "something" developed...
  • the "Something" you have is NOT customer ready.

So the original reply is to the customer ("We don't have anything") and the later conversation is without the customer ("We do, but it's nowhere near production ready")...

So TECHNICALLY both answers are true: For the Customer, you DONT have a program. For internal use, you DO have a program.

This is something I don't think I've seen questioned in the rest of this thread: conversation A has a different audience than conversation B... that creates different answers that can be 100% true.

The same question ("Do we have a process?") can be answered in various ways depending on the audience (Internal, Customer A, Customer B, investors, etc)...

What you say internally can - and should - be handled differently than what's communicated externally. And, if you want to break this apart, this situation has many different groups - in this question alone - that should be handled different:

  • Customer
  • 1-1 clarifications (Manager: keep them to yourselves, don't include me)
  • Team
  • Team + Management
  • Inter-team
  • etc

I'm sure if you ask around, you can find MANY examples of those conversations crossing boundaries and wreaking havoc.

  • 3
    Also note that RP switched from "program" to "process" when they went private, which seems to be described in the latter part of that same message (the sanity checks/etc).
    – Izkata
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 2:22
  • 2
    @Izkata yeah, some of the wording and terms were a bit confusing (different "languages" - ie: Customer, Programmer, Manager? ESL from the poster? ESL from both parties? terms crossing boundaries - ie: Program, process, etc)... which is where the clarification on my part comes in: I'm trying to condense what I "heard" to see if it matches what was "said". The Telephone Game is a PITA.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 2:59
  • 3
    Good answer to the original problem. What users want and what users need are very different things, and sometimes it's better to just "lie" to them. As part of the team, OP is supposed to get that.
    – polku
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 9:27
  • 3
    @polku I don't think that this "Lying". It may be dancing around the issue but I don't see it as lying... The Company hasn't released (even in beta form) a "program" for this "process". Behind the scenes and under the hood, there is a "program" that is buggy, unreliable, untested, etc... but in no way shape or form "customer ready". Just because you have an internal tools/APIs/Processes... doesn't mean that the company has those tools/APIs/Processes available for customer consumption.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 13:28
  • I would also consider "wants" vs "needs" to be a different topic - if closely related. My concern, in this answer, is only the "conversation" - intended audience, included participants, etc. In any walk of life, you have to tailor your conversation based on who is there... is it an Owner, your manager, the customer, the janitor... You can talk to each group differently - and have different answers that are 100% true for each group. The conversations should be tailored to those wants and needs, if that makes sense.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 13:30

I think the issue is that the more senior developer thinks you understand what she is talking about, but from your point of view you do not understand and want some clarification.

Her reply "We already have a process etc etc" is very poorly worded and confusing, which is what you're expressing here on stackexchange. You're not challenging about the process, etc., you're just confused and want to understand, but from her point of view you're on the same page as her and challenging her suggestions.

Instead of saying: If that's the case, then we may need to create a new program for this. We can test in our Test Environment on Monday, then let "Business User" Verify before we put it into production. Please let me know your thoughts on this.

From her point of view, you're setting the tone of bypassing her seniority. This should instead be phrased like "RP, do you think we should create a new program for this?" This preserves her seniority in the conversation while ensuring you're seen as proactive. You'll still be misunderstanding her, however it will at least set the tone better that you're trying to understand her thoughts more instead of looking like you're challenging her.

A lot of developers (and people in general) think they're wording things very clearly and expect everyone to understand right away. However in reality, everything they write is vague and without context. This seems to be the case here, so you'll just have to deal with it. Try to frame things more as a question to preserve her seniority. Only if she accuses you of doing something you didn't, do you stand up for yourself. Always seek to get both of you on the same page first.

  • "A lot of developers (and people in general) think they're wording things very clearly and expect everyone to understand right away. However in reality, everything they write is vague and without context. " < This is so true, and the main problem in OPs conversation with the senior dev.
    – Ivana
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 11:54

After reading that conversation carefully, I would say that you put your foot right in it.

You got a request from a customer, and asked someone with more experience what to do. You were told that there is no automated way to do it.

Then you went in waaaaaaay over your head proposing that some software should be created to do what you want. Look, that is absolutely none of your business. If you want some software to be created, you go to your manager, explain why that software would be needed or be helpful, your manager would figure out what the cost of the software is and what the benefits are, and how high on the list of priorities.

At that point, all the alarm bells are going off in the head of the experienced developer. She knows that you have a problem, and absolutely no business sense. She knows that if you try to go ahead, you might cause major damage, and since you proved to have no business sense, that's a reasonable fear. So now she tells you: Don't touch anything before you have talked to your manager.

Then comes an even bigger faux pas: You took parts of that response and sent it to your manager. That's how you destroy relationships.

I suggest sending an email to her that you will discuss with your manager what to do with this customer, and apologise for sending the email with parts of her answer to your manager, saying that this was a mistake and you won't do it again.

Just so you realise what you have done: The problem is not that you insulted her, or that you did something that she took as an insult - she is way ahead of you in seniority and experience, you can't insult her, you can only make her laugh about you. What you did was giving her a headache because she suddenly had to cope with an inexperienced co-worker who she feared might do something really stupid.

  • 2
    "proposing that some software should be created " - I personally cannot read a "we SHOULD" from the actually used formulation "we MAY need to" (neither in plain English nor in the RFC-inspired meaning of the words) Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:43
  • 1
    @HagenvonEitzen It doesn't seem like that even when the OP proposed a timeline for the software to be created ("in our test environment on Monday")? I'm guessing that RP was worried the second she saw the word "Monday". Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 11:44

I think your initial request for clarification was generally fine (if only because it can be attributed to "miscommunications happen", and you should try to avoid that in future).

There was a whole lot wrong with your last reply though. Don't try to lighten the mood, especially not by being dismissive of her comments or telling her how to feel.

Removing all of that from your reply, you're left with something perfectly adequate and professional:

Hi RP. Thanks for clarifying. We can discuss this tomorrow to come up with a solution.

At this point, I might recommend doing nothing and making sure your future interactions are entirely professional.

You could also consider an apology:

I'm sorry about my last reply. It was a bit unprofessional.

Don't try to justify it in any way, don't say "sorry if", just leave it at that.

That response by your manager doesn't at all mean he/she was taking her side, he/she just didn't think all of that needed to be read by everyone else.


First off, I agree with the manager that the conversation starting with the clarification should have been 1:1 or maybe 1:1+Manager.

I think some of the problem here is getting more and more common, that's thinking of emails as an informal conversation. Remember when you send an email you are not conveying vocal intonation, body language, facial expressions, etc that people don't realize they use during a conversation to determine the mood of the person...text smileys don't really compensate for this. Emails should be kept formal, so they don't get misinterpreted.

I realize there is a time difference, but I think the best way to clear this up is with a phone/skype call. An in person conversation can go a lot further than an email chain which, at this point, I suspect will only make things worse.


To me it appears that you just have some issues with how you phrased certain statements and make it appear that it was their fault. My only advice is really to Avoid the quotation marks and smileys when clarifying, just be professional. Knowing your place helps a lot ("kung pano lumugar" in Filipino)

I understand that sometimes specs might not be exactly detailed enough, and you should have checked out with your supervisor or senior lead what the specs are about and how you should be tackling it.

However, since you are in a corporate world ( I assume ) you need to follow something like the concept of roles - setting your position and where you stand, and to write in a manner that shows that hey you're not pushing things, just asking for clarification - basically you need to phrase things in a both assertive yet non-insinuating way.

Another thing - don't put smileys ever unless you are like super close friends. It's OK to put it in so that people feel some warmth, but it tends to degrade the professional tone.

Also it wasn't that clear what that thing does, so you could've have done more research before sending an email asking for clarity - people in general don't have patience for minor questions asking what it's for, but would be more willing to help if you did some initial research by downloading the scripts that are probably already there just waiting to do some modification.

Good on you that you tried to clarify things, of course you could have done it one on one and not put smileys and make allegations. As part of remote work, you need to set video calls to determine what a person's take on things are clearly, and as already commented by others, some things are better one on one.

Anyway back to your questions:

  1. Did I say anything wrong?

    • No, and you just skipped reading closely what they are saying and understanding each point.
  2. What can I do at this point?

    • I don't suggest to resign, I suggest to talk to HR (if there is), or a close colleague on how to word things better
  3. How can this be avoided?

    • Thank them for their suggestions and just get down to work and just treat it as just another day at the job. Just focus on what is expected of you (especially if you are still new to the company). By the way, I'm a Filipino but it shouldn't matter what nationality you are from

Some golden rules which have worked for me in my life inspired by Dale Carnegie "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

  • Everyone needs to understand that all humans are different and need to appreciate the diversity in the workplace and value the ideas and energy everybody brings into the team.
  • Moreover, everyone like to be valued and humans doesn't like to be disliked and blamed (especially in a group)
  • You wouldn't like to talk to a person who doesn't understand you.
  • One important thing to remember and believe is that everyone is working to achieve the common Goals in the Right way. All the team members (Developers, BA, QA, PM, Manager, Business User, Product Owner, Director....) are trying their best to fulfill and exceed customer Expectation.

Did I say anything wrong?
If you consider the perspective of RP and from her Response, I can think about following issues.

  • You can make a better attempt to listen and understand the context what RP is communicating. Try to put yourself in RP shoes and think about it. She is trying to explain to a person who has less knowledge about the requirements, and you seem to be challenging her statements by quoting her in your email.
  • She has explained the issues with the code and clearly pointed that it is not advisable to have the code run in production. You can try to understand that the Program needs some work and then make your recommendation regarding the plan for deployment into Prod.

What you could have done better with first Response to RP?

  • Not to copy the Manager and the entire Team in the email. Your Manager is right that clarification should be 1:1. The reason being that you need to ensure that any confusion can be cleared among two people and not to make anyone look bad in a group.

  • Whenever possible try to talk to the person by speaking to them physically, phone, chat or email (1:1).

What you could have done better with Second Response to RP?

  • As noted in other answers too, don't try to use the word like calm down in the email. You are trying to make RP feel that she is already Upset with your response and didn't handle it well.

  • You need to empathize with her and understand why she wrote such an email. Though i think she wasn't good with her response too you can control what you write, so try to empathize with her and make her feel that you would have responded to it in the same way if you would have been in her position. If you can realize that you understand her, then it at least will make her listen to what you want to say and be more open to discussion.

What can I do at this point?

  • The first thing which you were doing correctly is appreciating that this email communication is an issue and you have started exploring other opinions and ways to improve.
  • Try to emphasize with RP and team, listen and carefully understand what they are trying to communicate.
  • Have informal 1:1 discussion with RP and talk about work or non-work things. Try to build a relationship with RP and make her understand why you did the things in that particular way
  • Seek her feedback about this issue and issues in the past and try to be flexible and come with a working solution. You both need to accommodate each other views.
  • Talk to your manager and let Manager know that you realized that this experience was a learning experience and what you learned. Additionally, seek Manager Feedback about the incident and how it can be handled gracefully.
  • Understand the team culture and how the team like to works. Every team is different, and you need to flexible to adapt yourself. Once you adjust, you need to learn how to convince your team about your ideas.

How can this be avoided?
I can relate to you as I had similar experience earlier in my workplace too. I can say it was not just one incident which triggers this kind of an email but mostly a series of events and when finally the person burns out his/her frustration in an email. Try to look and douse the fire early enough so that it doesn't result in bigger incidents. Maybe a similar communication happened in the past but RP didn't respond in such a way. Try to get feedback from people by talking to them often and most importantly if you read my rest of the post then you will find some useful hints.

I hope you build a better relationship with your team and ultimately keep contributing to your team vision.


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