Having been part of university management this past decade has often put me in situations where the “management” is seemingly portrayed as some kinda of “bad guy” trying to disturb the haven of academic society in the university.
In all situations, I have enjoyed support of my direct superiors whenever faced with people who, hmm, don’t quite understand the decisions made in the university.
That is, until this weekend when a direct superior posted a scathing email in the staff mailing list, questioning the motives of a selection committee that I am a member of.
Honestly, the email felt like a punch in the gut. Of course close friends told me to ignore this email, and to move on. Of course we move on, but not before sending out a reply keeping emotions in check through gritted teeth.
You know, it wasn’t the first provocative I’d ever received. But this one caught me off guard, because it came from a direct superior, who I just met the day before and said practically nothing. Instead, the person decided to ruin a weekend by sending out an email basically accusing the committee of trying to ruin the collegial atmosphere, and challenging us to come up with better rules and regulations.
I would’ve accepted this “public” scolding if I hadn’t shown the rules and regulations the previous day. I had presented the draft and received a quiet assent. And yet, the following day, came the ridiculous email. This person had crossed the fine line of governing and politicking.
99% of the time, I can ignore emails like that. This was the 1% that I couldn’t. This time, it felt different because the person who did the provoking was a direct superior.
And that my friends, shows the quality of a leader. You deal the issues when YOU face them, and not by sending a public email to the staff mailing list.