Having been born with the ability to deliver a fierce written bitchslap – the likes of which is now feared on three continents – I’ve tilted at quite a few windmills of perceived wrong in my time. For whatever reason, when expectations weren’t managed correctly or attitudes need adjusted, I’d deliver a written tirade on order of an Alan Shore speech.

Though fun, I’ve learned that I needed to tone it the hell down sometimes, just in case my perception wasn’t based in reality. As a result, I created a 7-part toolkit for responsible bitchslapping.

  1. Honest Intent – Also called giving the benefit of the doubt. If this person had the best intentions before the problem occurred, would I still be writing the letter? Is my response intended to be actionable, constructive criticism or just hurtful?
  2. ClarityHave I given the clearest possible information? Are the facts represented in a way that isn’t biased? Were the questions asked, deadlines stated, and resources requested clearly enough?
  3. Fair Is my response a fair one considering the scope of the problem? Was theirs?
  4. Honest/StraightforwardHave I been as honest as possible? Have I been straightforward with my assessment?
  5. Tone/Verbiage RespectfulWas my tone respectful? If not, does it need to be or am I ok with burning this bridge?
  6. Follow-UpDid I follow up when it was appropriate? Will I commit to following up in the future? Or is this something I could do without?
  7. Own MistakesDid I honestly own my own mistakes? Did the other party own up to theirs? Did I set a plan to fix it – and actually fix it? Or is it not worth the trouble?

The toolkit can sometimes be a pain, especially when the jerks have it coming. But by taking a bit of time to figure out whether or not its worth my time to fight the battle, I can save myself the time and effort of bitchslapping unnecessarily.