Jul 26, 2016

4 Annoying Email Forwarding Habits That Your Team Doesn't Appreciate

4 Annoying Email Forwarding Habits that your Team Doesn't Appreciate

If you have been leading a team for any length of time, a good part of your communication must have been through email. While most leaders are not out to aggravate their subordinates, it is common that the team becomes annoyed because of an email from the boss. It is therefore helpful to know what to avoid when forwarding emails to your team.

1. "Let's discuss"
If you forwarded an email to your team with this phrase, you probably meant to initiate a discussion about the content of the email. You will be surprised to know however, that more often than not, it comes across as passing the buck, instead. If you'd like to initiate a discussion, it would be more sensible to say, "Let's discuss this as the first item at our next team meeting. I have a few thoughts I'd like to share." This shows intent, indicates the urgency of the matter and shows your team that the content of this email means something important to you.

2. "Thoughts?"
"Thoughts?" is a very common one. In your defense, you probably did think you were being a good leader and asking for your team's opinion. But if you expect to receive replies that are worth your time, you must set a context for them. Which part of the email are you expecting them to focus on? How much information are they expected to provide? How will it make a difference to your business' current situation? All these are areas that your team has no input on. It would be smarter to say something like "I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have on what processes we can come up with, to better handle this in the future."

3. "???"
Sending "??" or "?????" along with a forwarded message, is even worse. It serves to communicate nothing but the degree of your frustration. The greater the number of question marks (or exclamatory marks in some cases), the more you team will assume you are upset with them and there is a good chance that there will be no reply forthcoming at all.

4. No comment at all
This is the worst of the lot. Yes, we know you're a busy executive, but forwarding an email without some kind of note to indicate what kind of response you expect, is just silly. It leaves your team floundering for explanations and probably wasting productive time in back-and-forth email conversations that try to discover the point of your email. If the subject is educational, or if there is a specific action that you would like taken, save everybody the time and trouble and indicate it so that there is clarity about what is expected.


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