Being a programmer, I largely run on the logical/factual side which tends to get me in trouble with my emails being read in tones not intended. One email, I even was sat down with my boss for being "condescending" when I by no means meant it that way at all. I just try to layout the information as concise as I can while being informative and cutting out the fluff. I again had my boss talk to me today about my tones used in the emails and I am wondering what I can do to avoid people reading them with the wrong tone?
The line in an email flagged as condescending:
Hi Bob, I currently don't have the luxury of time to look at the issue right now as I am trying to get a high priority project done.
My manager told me that this was taken as being condescending by the recipient. For those wondering, The following lines asked how important the issue is (which was never communicated to me until after my boss talked to me), and if needed, I can take a look at such and such time/day and then proceeded to provide some knowledge about what I knew of the subject off the top of my head.
Usually, these emails are sent out via team leads/project managers/Senior developers or someone who is aware of the political climate and is able to word things appropriately, but my company does not have these roles and it is up to us.
I probably was mostly just trying to get them to go away. I was getting a lot of pressure to get this project done in a relatively unreasonable time frame while also holding some benefits hostage based on its completion. I definitely realize that does not make my response excusable, but wanted to provide more context.
Also, it should be noted that this was not the only content of the email! The email as a whole was close to 4 paragraphs explaining my knowledge that I knew off the top of my head about the situation and the application. This line was highlighted because of the poor word choice.