In the age of digital communication, employers and managers often find themselves fielding complaints from employees over email. While this may not seem like a strange fact, for anyone born before the dawn of the internet, learning how to effectively manage these problems over a device can pose a big challenge. While you may prefer to have conversations in person, it’s just not feasible. Small business owners must be well-versed in dealing with unhappy emails. Lucky for you, there’s a simple 5-step solution that’s able to dispel hostility quickly. You can check out more of this solution in this recent article. For the purpose of this blog, I’ll outline the simple steps below.

  1. Wait

You might be able to send emails at the speed of light, but that doesn’t mean you’re required to respond to them in an equally quick manner.

  1. Analyze

When you give yourself and your employee time to think about the content, you’ll benefit from having more time to consider the complaint. Revel in this privilege. It’s one that’s not often found when an employee visits your office and springs a complaint on you! While you’re considering the content, begin to outline solutions to offer. This can also be a good time to revisit the workload, quality, and history of that employee. Is this a first time complaint? Could there be larger problems at hand?

  1. Confront

As a business leader, you have two options in this scenario. First, you could email the employee back and offer a time to meet in person to discuss the email. Or you could pick up the phone and schedule a time directly. Personally, I like the second option best. It shows your employee that you care about the situation.

When the meeting happens, take a rational approach to the meeting and lay out your talking points. You’ll want to address the concerns that were outlined in the message while bringing insight to the conversation.

  1. Listen

This very important step requires that after you deliver your message, you spend time listening to the verbal complaint. You may be tempted to skip this step after receiving the email with the problem stated, but listening again can show your willingness to hear the problem and understand what’s going on.

  1. Correct

It’s not always fun to take a management role especially when you’re asked to correct an employee’s stance. But at times this may be necessary especially when dealing with a rash employee. Keep your attitude professional and your tone calm. Kindly re-explain your position and look for ways to meet in the middle. This will help you forge the right solution for the current problem.

As a leader in today’s economy, mastering all forms of communication is an essential element of the job. Don’t let the digital world scare you away from your managing responsibilities. And keep in mind, like all forms of communication, this process perfects itself over practice.