Oops. You screwed up, or someone on your team did. Big time.
Recently, a fellow small business owner was telling me a story about a trusted employee of hers who made a big mistake. She prefaced this story with the fact the two of them had worked together for close to a decade, and this person had virtually never made a mistake and was an invaluable colleague. The mistake put my friend in a very difficult position with her target clients in her community. She actually thought her business might not survive.
Victims were outraged! The venom in their responses was shocking and palpable. It was cruel, unforgiving, and personal. In summary, to put it as civilly as possible, it was akin to “you’ll never work in this town again.”
The employee quickly owned up to it, offered to resign, and was as contrite as is humanly possible. My friend declined her offer to resign in light of her years of exemplary service.
Her crime? Putting the email addresses of a large number of people in the cc line instead of the bcc line in an email. It’s a wonder this employee is not in shackles and doing the perp walk on national TV.
Sure, it’s unfortunate and annoying to have your email address broadcast, but you know it’s pretty easy to find anyone’s contact info, right? Is anyone really so important that if a bunch of people (who by the way, in this case are professionals who are in the same profession and industry) have your email address the paparazzi will make your life a living hell?
This friend of mine was vilified and attacked as if she had posted naked pictures of their mothers.
We are all moving at warp speed, our fingers flying over our keyboards, trying to do more and more with less and less. It is our reality. Along the way, we will make mistakes. Most will be small and unnoticeable. And some will be big ones.
From my perspective, as long as we own them, offer to fix them, and really try to make changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again, in most cases, it should be over.
Is it the anonymity of the screen that sucks out our empathy, that we think gives us the right to attack, to vilify, to essentially not be able to understand that the one making the mistake tomorrow may well be us? And when it is, we will hope people have the ability to forgive when we have not demonstrated that capacity ourselves?
Just thinking we can all take a breath, get perspective, and think about the effect of our words and actions on others. Most of us are earnestly trying our best to make our way in a tough world. And you know what, nice matters.
Julie Bauke is a Career Strategist and President of The Bauke Group. Her business focuses on educating and motivating individuals in building the career of their dreams. She is a book author, a dynamic and highly interactive speaker, trainer and coach, and Julie has been widely quoted in national publications, been featured on numerous radio shows and is the Careers and Jobs Expert on Cincinnati’s Fox19 TV (Raycom Media) and 700WLW Radio (Clear Channel). Contact – Website – Facebook – Twitter – Books
Photo Credit – PinkBlue