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I am not sure where a lot of managers got the perception that they will be better managers if, and only if, they write tiny-short-incomprehensible-few words emails.
In the business world, there is what is known as email etiquette. It might not be agreed upon and shared among different companies, especially working in different cultures, but general guidelines still exist (you may want to visit this page for general guidelines).
From my humble experience; I would like to comment on the following points:
– Email is still a way of communication: which means you have to use it for this purpose. Sit down, think a bit, and write in a way that everybody would understand whatever you are saying. Do not try to be smart by sending one line, one sentence that nobody understands. Do not jump on your team emails by saying something like “do X as I and Mr. Y agreed on that matter”. What is X and what is the matter you two have been discussing? And above all, we have been sitting with Mr. Y’s team and nobody mentioned any ‘matters’ over there? And please, do not say “I am a manager, I am busy, I have to make short emails.” If you are really a manager, then you should know that a huge part of your role is to communicate, so please do it! I am not suggesting you should write a fiction novel, just make sure you put the recipients into context and make sure they understand the ‘matters’ you are referring to.
– Do not send high-school-party-invitation emails: Be a professional. When you are addressing your team, your colleagues, or your vendors, use proper language. Start with ‘Dear X’ and not with ‘whaaaattttssss up.’ I am with friendly working environments, but we should not throw right manners out of the window, especially when other teams and companies are involved. Moreover, be polite even to your subordinates. Do not send email such as “what the F!^* just happened, we will have a meeting to discuss this Sh*%”.
– It can be used for things other than fighting: some managers or team leaders like to write those tough emails, it is like a hobby for them. Forget about the business problem, where did we go wrong, how to fix it, and how to learn from it. No, the most important thing is to send that masterfully crafted fighting email. They even have a name for it in Saudi, I’ve heard this nickname for tough emails from different colleagues in different companies; they call it the ‘whipping’ email. So you could hear something like “I just whipped X with an email few seconds ago, this guy never learns.” Now on the other hand, see all those whipping emails if something goes wrong, nobody usually bothered to send a small thank you email if things go right. I remember that I was once a leader of a team from my company and some vendors as well, and we have had succeeded in accomplishing one major task. I simply sent a motivational email thanking them all and encouraging them to keep that spirit in the remaining of the project. In only five minutes, I received a call from one of my superiors asking me “Saad, what do you exactly want sending such email?”
I am sure you have a bunch of similar email stories that you might want to share with us!
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