Everyday I receive about 90 emails...10 addressed to me, 20 generally addressed to a lot of people, rest copy marked to me (for information etc).
By default most of the people "Reply to all" to avoid being called less communicative or it is easier to press this button than pick the phone to clarify. Whatever be the case the quantity of communication is much more than it was some years ago. Escalations happen without giving an opportunity for the person concerned to clarify or rectify building pressures on support functions in particular. There is no doubt this positive pressure helps to increase the response time but it also creates a sense of overlap as several e savvy bosses who cannot resist to comment on every email enter the scenario mostly quite early liquidating their powers.
Let us look at types of emails that arrive in a day. Some of them are fire fighting tones, some of them are factual tones but most of them are pushing the responsibility to someone else with a cautionary clauses etc. Ownership is clearly thought to be shifted with emails but in several cases this is just a feeling. I know very good hands on people who deliver results don't respond to emails promptly but always deliver as they are glued to ground level and are there for people who matter showing full commitment and support. At the sametime there are floaters/survivors who ensure whatever be the outcome they act like consultants with their emailing skills and get credit which they don't deserve, get away from ownership when it is a debit. This is a short term paradox most organizations face as it takes time to understand that it is inaction which is covered by emails. If someone is passionate about something then he moves with hands on approach is a fact. But if someone is passionate about commenting intending to escape responsibility then he does manage this with emails but stands exposed at ground level. He can never be a people's person and he can never have a team which stands for him. He may please bosses with a pleasing "everything is possible" slogan but very soon the bitter truths stands exposed. The options the person has is to change jobs at short intervals or hopes his bosses change jobs frequently.
Emails like several other tools are fantastic tools but does not replace inability to stay glued to the operations and ground level realities. It creates temporary satisfaction in minds of people of people who get immense satisfaction of over communication and exemplify their working by prompt responses to every email. Actions matter the most and if a email is a mask for inaction's you can be sure that it will stand exposed by your own conscience sooner than later. Therefore if you choose to reply all or reply to a email in defensive think twice as it is maybe the start of a bane which you are building unconsciously.
- ▼ 2009 (34)