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Answers For The Workplace E-Memo

Praise in Public, Reprimand in Private

According to Laura Crawshaw, principal of the Executive Insight group and a Leadership Development associate, abrasive leaders often ignore this rule. These are people who are so engrossed in their own agenda or so wrapped up in being right that they walk all over people without a care about it.

And while face-to-face meetings are the traditional way of castigating someone, one of the new ways leaders violate the praise and reprimand rule is through “reply all” E-mail.

One worker recently told me that he is responsible for communicating with a work team of nine people, so he uses E-mail updates to all nine of them. Once in a while his boss has a correction to the information, but rather than send an email directly to this worker and let him send out the correction, the boss uses “reply all.” You can imagine how the worker feels. Not supported. Looked down on. Maybe even dumb.

In his efforts to make himself look smart, the boss is doing his employees an injustice, with negative ripple-effects down the line. Therefore, even with Email – praise in public, correct in private.

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