Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

How to Defuse an Inbox Hand Grenade

ARCHIVES
Kira-N/Shutterstock.com
This post will be short and sweet but speaks to something most leaders have to deal with – sometimes multiple times a day.

It’s that hand grenade that shows up in your inbox from someone (who usually doesn’t have all the facts), calling you out for something you did do, didn’t do or did wrong. And, of course, they CC the higher-ups just to ratchet up the pressure a bit.

It’s at that point that you have The. Urge. To. Kill.

Ignore it. Reacting to it is only going to make things worse. Your reactive response can lead to a flame war that you might regret for years to come. That urge is flowing from a primal part of your brain called the amygdala. It’s where the fight or flight response resides. Useful if you find yourself in the middle of the Amazon jungle. Not so much in the office.

Instead of throwing back your own grenade and risking further damage, defuse it with a calm and clear response.

Here’s how to do it:

Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business: Keep your response focused on the facts, not the personalities. Be civil, succinct and fact based.

Cover yourself: As cheesy as it is, if the grenade thrower CC’d the higher ups on the inbound, you need to CC them on the outbound. The loop has to be closed. If you keep it civil, succinct and fact based, you’ll come across as the adult in the room.

Take it offline: If your munitions expert insists on keeping the conversation going with the CC’s in place, take it offline. Call the other party and work things out. You’ll be doing yourself a favor (and them too, actually). The last thing you want to do is feed a public spat in view of your senior leaders.

How do you handle it when someone lobs a grenade into your inbox?

(Image via Kira-N /Shutterstock.com)

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.