You are fuming, and if you didn’t know better, you would think that your co-workers could see the smoke billowing from your ears. You’ve just finished reading an e-mail from a partner organization that eloquently lays out how you and your organization are idiots. Of course, the individual wasn’t bold enough to flat out call you an idiot, but instead utilized his or her written communication skills to manipulate the wording in such a way that anyone with half a brain could read in between the lines.  At least that’s how you read the communication, and as a result, you are ready to give this individual an electronic piece of your mind, and you don’t care who was cc’ed on the message. So you immediately press reply all and begin typing away. After an hour of research, quotations, reviewing past e-mails, policies and regulations to support your rebuttal, you do a quick Grammarly check, and you are ready to click send, but, STOP! Don’t send that e-mail!

Leaders encounter situations like this on a regular basis and technology has garnered in a new era of communications for professionals. Electronic communication is a critical component of a functioning organization and as such, leaders must learn proper electronic communication etiquette. Leaders must treat electronic communications such as e-mail, texts, and social media as they would face-to-face of phone conversations. This etiquette is especially critical when emotions are involved. Most successful leaders understand the importance of emotional intelligence and have learned to communicate with difficult people and to control their emotions when direct communication is required. However, when that controversial e-mail, post or text arrives, leaders have a hard time accessing the part of the brain that houses their emotional intelligence.

Right-click on that eloquently written rebuttal and click on “Save as Draft”. Come back at the end of the day or better yet, the next day and reread the e-mail. Don’t be surprised if you are relieved that you didn’t click the send button. Next, pick up the phone and give the individual a call, direct communication is a leader’s best friend. If a phone call or face to face isn’t possible and you must send that e-mail, take a look at Jennifer Romoli’s article, “How To Write A Work Email When You’re Really Pissed Off“.  Some tips she provides include, reading the e-mail out loud, erring on the side of formality and keeping the e-mail concise, direct, and to the point. Leaders are expected to possess exceptional oral and written communication and this extends to electronic communications. Don’t allow emotions to diminish those skills.