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CHAPTER 8 A Note to Emailphiles, CrackBe... > Scenario 2: The Never-Ending Workday... - Pg. 133

A NOTE TO EMAILPHILES, CRACKBERRY ADDICTS, AND TURBOTEXTERS 133 Now here's where email should never be used: to communicate bad news. And I would even add, anything that could be interpreted as bad news. First of all, for the recipient, getting a negative email feels rotten. You're missing valuable context. You can't ask questions or present your side. It shreds your productivity. When you get such an email, you don't read it and get back to work. You stew on it. Send it to your spouse. Update your resume. In the absence of im- portant cues from the sender that would make the communications productive, there's usually nothing to act on. If the manager's goal is to correct behavior or direct attention to a problem, a negative email accomplishes very little of that. One last note: Employees frequently complain about the volume of emails from their managers. It's not that they don't expect emails. It's simply that they want to get some work done in between reading so many emails. Check your sent box and see if you are emailing the same people more than three times per day. If you are, then you may be managing by email. Try to consolidate your correspondence so that your team feels less barraged. Or try an old trick: Just get up and walk down the hall. Scenario 2: The Never-Ending Workday of 24/7 Emails I regularly hear complaints that someone's manager (including the CEO) constantly emails. It's not simply the volume that's distressing; it's the lack of boundaries. The emails don't just come during the workday, but at 6 a.m. or midnight or on Sunday at 2 p.m. It creates the impression that work is never over, and that the employee must always be on the job. Employees then drop everything and rush to re- spond to keep up the pace. Here's the interesting part: Managers will often say that they email when an idea hits them, not necessarily be- cause they expect the employee to respond. However, there's a power dynamic at play. The leader sets the tone. And when the boss's emails don't respect boundaries, the inference is that there aren't any. By the way, constantly emailing can damage a manager's repu- tation. It makes him appear scattered, inefficient, one-dimensional, or sorely lacking in time management skills. We want our leaders to work hard, but we also want them to have a life. American Management Association ·