Hello, MT Forum!

I have a situation whereI don't know what to do. I just found out that I included my direct in an email that was a frank assessment of that directs behavior asking about possibly penalties for that behavior. I don't know how I did it and I had no idea it happened. Obviously there is no possible worse mistake I could make. I feel bad, horribly bad. I owe her an apology and will review the apology cast before giving it.

The other issues regarding this is that the direct has printed out the email and shown it to all my directs. One of my directs who tends to involve herself in everyones drama has gone with her 3 levels up in management to express her concerns with him. The two directs requested a "team meeting" with management without me or my manager there to discuss this.

I am not upset about this meeting. I am willing to accept the feedback the agents have. My concern is that many of these agents have reported to me for 3 years. I had One on Ones with the two agents involved right after they went to management (I did not know they had gone at that point). Neither expressed any concerns with me. I have a really good relationship with many of my agents on my team. I feel there must be some trust issue here because nobody on the team gave me a heads up that I made this mistake and I have had One on Ones with the majority of them this week. I have 2 more today to do.

How do I rebuild my team's trust after this? Until this meeting next week the management has asked I not talk to the team about this. I will apologize to the agent involved just as soon as I can do it without crying like a baby. What else can I do?


thebeezer's picture

BLUF:  Something doesn't smell right with this one.

You're right that apologizing to the direct is a appropriate.  No disputes there. 

I'm not catching the reason you believe you have good relationships with your people.  These behaviors are more consistent with directs that are terrified of their boss.  There's a disconnect here that you need to dig into.

There seems to be several opportunities for feedback:

  • Your leadership also owes you feedback on your behavior.  MT's statement "unintended consequences are still consequences" says it better than I ever could.  
  • Had you given the direct feedback on the behaviors you included in the email?  Asking about what consequences there should be for behaviors is not inappropriate.  It's difficult for me to understand why your direct would react as such if the behaviors had been discussed.  Were their intended recipients of your email not in HR or your chain-in-command? 
  • The behaviors of your direct that received the email was unprofessional.  It could have been handled in ways that could have had less negative impact on the team.  I don't think it's inappropriate at all to apologize AND give corrective feedback.
  • The behaviors of your directs that were shown the email were unprofessional.  They could have handled being shown the email is ways that would have had less negative impact on the team.

Good luck with this - there's no quick fix here.  Frankly, this may turn out to be a good thing as you now have an opportunity to assess your current situation with fresh eyes. 

acao162's picture

Well, done is done, right?  First thing I would do is apologize to the direct for sending them a copy of the e-mail.  The direct should already know that they are underperforming but having a copy of the "documentation" without warning had to be a little upsetting.  I can't imagine stumbling across of list of "sins" my boss had about me.

Second thing to do is to meet with your boss.  Get your feedback and own it.  That will give you an idea on the next steps. 

Quite honestly, if I applied your problem to my own work situation, upper management would be coming to me wondering why they hadn't been informed sooner, what my coaching plan was and whether the DR was showing any improvement or if it was time to cut our losses.

The unprofessional behaviour of your directs is a whole different issue from the e-mail.  Remember that when you are handing out feedback.