Email Etiquette Lessons from the Cleveland Browns’ Phil Savage – Dropping the F-Bomb is So Not Cool
Phil Savage, Cleveland Browns GM, Responds too Quickly
While email etiquette in business has long been an important topic to the editors of AskTheManager.com, we’ve never pontificated on the importance of responding expeditiously. We’ve posted articles and opinions about email typos, email signatures, and we even ranked the worst email etiquette mistakes of all time in a two-part series. Had we weighed in on email response speed, we would have said speed is good.
That was until we read about Phil Savage. In Savage’s case, speed kills.
As first reported by the website deadspin.com, Cleveland Browns GM Phil Savage responded quickly Monday night to an idiot fan’s relentless and constant email criticism with the not-so-friendly reply “go root for Buffalo, f*ck you.” (Editor’s note: Phil used a vowel in place of the asterisk.)
You don’t have to be a seasoned leader to know that his response easily tops our list of the worst email etiquette mistakes ever. It’s hard to beat the F-bomb when it comes to what you shouldn’t say in a business email.
The Email Etiquette “24-Hour Rule”
Firing off an angry memo or cursing someone out over the phone ten or more years ago was not a big deal – in the Internet Age, angry responses will haunt you forever. Just as we learned from Alec Baldwin’s “thoughtless little pig” rant that you shouldn’t leave nasty voicemails, we now know from Phil Savage that you shouldn’t write “f*ck you” in an email.
(Seriously, didn’t we already know that?)
Before the onset of the World Wide Web, it was common practice for enlightened leaders to withhold a response when they were irritated. In a proper display of etiquette, they practiced the 24-Hour Rule – that is, they would wait twenty-four hours before sending a nasty note or letter. The prevailing wisdom assumed (correctly) that whatever made them angry today would seem less important in twenty-four hours.
It’s been almost 72 hours since Savage’s savage reply to the thoughtless-little-pig-of-a-fan, and we’re pretty sure it all seems less important now.
May 26, 2009 @ 11:30 AM
I do believe that every action and every word spoken from your presence represents you as a whole. Sure, we all have vulgar opinions at times but there definitely is a place and time for expression and anything to the extent of expressing these thoughts on a public note is uncalled for. I highly believe that the opinion and actions of those that you personally do not respect should not phase your own actions. In Phil Savages case, he is looked at as a representative of not only his team but the state. With this high of a power, consideration of the states people should remain a focus factor when deciding how or even if to respond to a pointless comment. Do not sink to their level of ignorance just to prove a point. Do it by placing focus on your own abilities and accept it as a learning experience.
May 26, 2009 @ 12:03 AM
Jay Douglas V
E-mail response time and etiquette have become increasingly important in our technology orientated business world. The author, The Manager, states that “whatever makes you angry today will seem less important tomorrow.” This is something that my mom taught me when I was young and I would expect a NFL coach to do the same. NFL fans are going to express their opinion about every decision you make as a coach, some of them good and some of them bad. He should have held back his emotions and realized that he is a NFL coach and even though most fans think that they could coach better he should know he is a coach because he is one of the best at it.
December 30, 2008 @ 9:42 PM
Quick follow-up to the Savage Email Etiquette employed by Phil Savage… Phil, it seems, was fired by the Cleveland Browns yesterday after a miserable season.
Interestingly, the Browns posted the firing on their website… Hmm, we thought they would have sent an email.