“Samantha, please reinstate the afternoon tea and coffee cart for the residents, starting in November.”
Samantha [delivered with sarcastic tone and an eye roll] replies,
“Well, sure, why not. Last time we tried it, Beth in 4C took 10 tea bags. AND when I wasn’t looking, some of the staff drained the second pot of coffee so I had to make a third one.[This is where the eye roll comes in] I can’t wait to start it up again.”
Because sarcasm has no place in effective workplace communication,
you might be tempted to address the sarcasm. Or, the eye roll. Or, the clear pushback. While that would be acceptable, and likely desirable in the long term…
You have an opportunity here. To send a message about ignoring sarcasm and having no time for silly pushback.
Totally ignore the tone of voice and focus on the message, being careful to avoid passive/aggressive tone yourself, and reply:
“Great. Thanks for taking care of that. I know you feel it’s wasteful and a hassle; the day before we start it up again, let’s spend a few minutes on some ideas to avoid that this next time around. Thanks for your time.”
In that response, you’ve:
- ignored the tone, yet showed that you heard the concerns.
- kept things positive, even though Samantha wanted to inject drama.
- took advantage of an opportunity to be an ally and a problem solver (needs-meeter).
Again, it’s good to address tone of voice and enforce high standards of respectful communication. And it makes sense to do so separately from the current issue, otherwise, the waters are muddied.
Stay alert for these opportunities…