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Conflict E-mail Bizarre Behaviors Anger Assertiveness Who's In Charge? Communication

When one of the managers asked me to handle a very basic chore, I emailed back that I thought his administrative assistant should do it. She has more time, and itís really more her job than mine. She saw my email and is furious with me. I ended up doing the task, and I apologized to her several times and even brought her a gift. She is still mad at me and has refused to talk to me for the past three weeks. Do you have any suggestions?

Rather than a suggestion, here is a question back to you: do you need to have communication with her? In the first place, it does not sound like you committed a heinous corporate crime by asking her to handle a task that suited her skills better than yours. Unless your email had a nasty tone, she is grossly overreacting to this matter.

Secondly, you apologized to her, did the actual work, and came back bearing a gift. This leads to the second question: how much more must you do? At this point, you can be cordial and polite to her, but stop the groveling. You should deal directly with her manager on your projects.

And speaking of her manager, you should discuss this matter with him. He needs to let her know that her behavior is counterproductive and must stop now. If he does not or cannot get this message across to her, that raises even more questions about him and her. Either way, with the passage of time, this storm is likely to pass, too.

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