Abraham Lincoln was an avid emailer. OK, maybe not. But I think he would have been if email existed in his time.
Have you ever received an e-mail that infuriated you, pissed you off, made you hopping mad? Of course you have, everybody has – but how did you handle it?
Did you send a scathing email back? Did you retaliate? If you did, you might even have felt better about it.
For a little while, that is, until the rest of the group joins in and the battle begins. Sometimes that’s an email war and sometimes it’s behind the scenes.
However one thing is for sure – usually nobody wins these battles. They can become messy and people that shouldn’t be are pulled in making it messier.
So how would Abraham Lincoln have handled that email? Here’s how…
It was the day after the battle of Gettysburg where 50,000 Union and Confederate troops were killed, wounded or missing. Needless to say it was a bloody few days. After the battle, General Meade had the Confederate troops backed up against the river, trapped.
He let them escape. Why? Who knows but some say he just saw too much suffering in so short a time. Whatever the reason – they escaped.
Lincoln was furious, so he went into his office and typed his email – aka letter. He told Meade how he screwed up and how mad he was. He went on and on about what a horrible decision it was.
But he never sent the letter.
He realized that it wouldn’t do any good – as a matter of fact it would probably hurts things. It was found in his possession years later.
So I suggest you follow Lincoln’s methods when dealing with infuriating emails – write your reply (leave the to: line blank) and then delete it. Don’t send it. You’ll feel better writing it and it will clear you head.
And you won’t start a battle, or make things worse.
Then go and handle the situation the right way.