Imagine if you had a culture that didn’t write negative or critical things in letters, email, or text message. When they had a problem they actually came to you and spoke face to face or if that wasn’t possible they called you. It is possible to have this type of healthy culture, but you must be the example. This vicious cycle can only be broken by you.

This past week a client was sharing an email from an employee who was distraught about another sales person. He was thinking he should take the email to the sales person being complained about and get his feedback. I was thinking he should bring the complaining sales person, along with the sales person being complained about, into his office and read the email to both of them; give the complaining person the opportunity to clarify, and then give the person being complained about the opportunity to respond. But as we say at EOS®, “entering the danger zone” requires true courage. It’s not for the faint at heart, but then neither is managing people.

A healthy culture is one where everyone is not discouraged or afraid to challenge each other. It takes strength to do it face to face or over the phone. But it is weak to put in an email, hit the send button, and then duck under your desk waiting to hear the explosion. Strong and healthy cultures are not built on weak and sickly behavior. Whenever I managed a team, it was understood by all that if you had a complaint or something negative to say then you must say it face to face, and if that couldn’t be done, then by phone.

After reading this article, you will realize that when you respond to this type of communication with a written response, you are part of the problem. The same type of self-discipline and strength required to get up off the couch to exercise and make you healthier is required to maintain a healthy culture where you don’t fall into the trap of writing or responding to written complaints or negative messages.

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you find out that a customer makes a complaint by email and your employee responds the same way instead of driving out or picking up the phone to find out how to solve the issue immediately? I know for a fact that it takes much longer to resolve an issue through the written word. And after implementing EOS for almost 4 years, I’m forming the conclusion that it’s down-right impossible.

Try introducing a ritual into your culture where people do not object, complain, or express their negative views in the written word. Click To Tweet

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