(612) 293-8629 toby@themightymo.com
1 min read

Last week I sent this email to an employee of mine (names have been changed, content paraphrased):

Sarah,

Earlier today I received a voicemail from Joyce saying that you are late delivering the new website feature. What’s the status of that project?

Thanks,
Toby

The response of my employee was disproportionate to my intent:

Toby,

They are lying. As you can see in the email thread, I promised them… and they…

– Sarah

She was visibly upset.

The point isn’t the content of the email. The point isn’t who is or isn’t lying. The issue here is that I failed to recognize the weight and potential damage that my word, as owner, carries in our business.

Customers call me with all sorts of weird questions and demands – sometimes they are reasonable, sometimes not. In this case, I was merely trying to get a feel for the situation before calling the customer back – my employee’s response was very defensive, and the defensiveness slowed down my fact-gathering. I don’t blame her for being defensive – I’m the owner of the company, and I need to remember that the owner’s word weighs a ton!

A better way to handle it might have been to start up a Slack conversation or voice call to get their word in first before I burst in with the facts. We are human, after all, and people respond to things differently.