The Flaming Email

From the Project Management in Real Life Blog
Sharing my Project Management adventures and some tips. I try to keep my articles brief and to the point. Project Management is an Art, Science, and Discipline.

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I had an experience of a flaming email years ago from a contractor Mr. PMP type. He was an arrogant you know what. That contractor sent out an email to a distribution after hours to slam me on something. I was out of the office already having dinner. I had a smartphone and was composing a response and before I could send my response out I received an email from a team member responding to that flaming email defending my position on the issue. She slammed Mr. PMP with facts that put the arrogant Mr. PMP in his place. She made it easy for me, all I had to do was thank her and concur with her email and case is closed. By the way Mr. PMP did not respond back. Silence is golden. When you gain respect from your team and have a reputation people will defend you and stand by you. It's a priceless good feeling that you are making an impact on your team.

Mr. PMP never spoke to me again and avoided me. What a cry baby he can only dish it out, but when he is proven wrong he won't admit it. We don't need Project Managers that behave this way to discredit the profession by acting arrogant and unprofessional. Mr. PMP was an older gentleman that should have known better on how to exercise people skills. 


(Note - this article was originally written by Drake Settsu and published on in April 2014)

* This incident happened a long time ago. Please use email responsibly.

Posted on: February 06, 2018 04:28 AM | Permalink

Comments (11)

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Hmm that Mr. PMP gets around.


You are fortunate that your team member's reply didn't spark an email flame war. I've generally found email to be the worst medium for resolving a conflict or misperception and will transition such conversations to a live discussion as soon as possible.



The contractor sent the email out on a Friday evening instead of a Monday morning which would have warranted a visit from me in person to have him explain to me in the face why he sent out such an inflammatory email to a distribution list.

The email backfired on him because the whole distribution seen the response defending me. I agree with you that an email war could have transpired. I was ready for emails to fly back and forth. Fortunately he backed off immediately knowing he was wrong for sending out that email.

That's why I added a comment at the end of my article " Please use email responsibly".
I don't believe in airing out heated discussions with an audience watching via email.
In person one on one is the way I would prefer to settle differences in opinions.


Thanks for sharing Drake. Having support from your team is the best ..... especially in these situations.

Completely agree with you, Drake. I had similar experience in the past. Thanks for sharing this.

Thanks Rami & Anish.

A supporting team is priceless.

Strongly agree with Kiron's comments on email wars. In such scenarios, I usually send a message to members of my team not to respond to the email - at least, not immediately. I then arrange a conversation with the sender to dispel any assumptions and to get everyone working in the same direction again.

Having said that, even if the above posted situation was an exceptional one-off scenario, I guess the key point was not that of flaming email messages, but that of earning the respect of one's team.

It is a point well taken, Drake. Thanks.

Thanks Karan. I agree with you and Kiron. Email wars need to be avoided.

The problem with that email that the contractor sent out was the use of a distribution list. The email went to management, staff, and the team members. The timing of it being sent out on Friday evening so everyone who checks email after hours will see it over the weekend.

This was an exceptional case because management was brought into the loop now with that email. To avoid management from jumping in and making matters worse would require a response to be sent out to clear the air before Monday. The team member was still in the office and beat me to the punch and sent out an email before I could send out a response.

I'm glad my post is getting some good feedback because PM's should use email responsibly. I want this post to be a wakeup call or reminder to be careful with email responses.

I wrote "Let's Free the Email Inbox" last year to practice good email etiquette.

Drake, good for you that a team member defended you!

Thanks Denise. It's a good feeling when your team stands by you.

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