Anupama was just about to close her laptop when Shikha, her manager hurriedly appeared and told her about an emergency client deliverable. And Anupama also knew the ‘sudden’ deliverable is nothing new but had become a habit since Shikha keeps on procrastinating the replies of her emails. And soon, she forgets to delegate it to the concerned person. This is one of the major issues which Anupama and her colleagues face every day as Shikha doesn’t follow a single email etiquette that a manager needs to know. Shikha has been blessed with competent team members who look at the company end-in-mind and whatever be the time, have been delivering most of the projects on time. So Shikha’s superiors have no clue about this mis-management.
Since our basic working relationship begins with an email, it is necessary to master the art of perfect emailing within your own team to make sure you don’t have any miscommunication. And as a manager, you wouldn’t want to be in Shikha’s position.
Do remember these simple 5 tips so that it’s a breeze working with you.
Do not start with ‘Why’ or 'What'
There are various plans and programs which need to be carried out by your team ‘as soon as possible’. If that is so important, you should schedule a meeting with the concerned person immediately after getting informed about the same. You did your job about informing the person but somehow the work hasn’t happened. However, there is absolutely no need to send the first email to the person and straight-away asking ‘Why wasn’t this taken forward?’ or 'What did you do in the project?'. Remember, this is rude. Simply put, write the context first and then ask the reason for the delay. Be polite and look at the tonality of the email.
Do not just forward emails randomly
If you are the manager, and you get emails from various other teams to deliver a project, do not randomly forward the messages to your team members. Read thoroughly the content of the email before sending it out. You need to be aware of what the team members require in order to facilitate the timely delivery of the projects. Just replying with ‘Do this asap’, or ‘take care of this’ are not the correct usage. Understand the need of your client so that when your team members take it up, they should know that in case of backlogs or difficulties, you can be of help. And that’s why you are a manager.
Don’t write long irrelevant emails
The senior management has asked your team to undertake a special project. You are the one who is responsible for informing your team members about it. And you draft an email. However, do not get carried away and write what happened in the meeting with the senior management. Write precisely what transpired, and what is expected from the team – with short paragraphs or even bullet points. Be clear about what each team member needs to do or if it is only just information you want to pass it on to.
Try and avoid ‘Gentle reminders’
There are heaps of emails which we all receive – ‘gentle reminders’. It is usually sent in the email chain of earlier discussions with the same person, and the sender just writes “Dear XXXX, Gentle reminder. Regards YYYY”. These two little words create a certain disdain emotion in the receiver that it’s almost close to saying “I will not do this.” You wouldn’t want your team-member to have this negative thought while processing your email.
Do not keep the sender ‘hanging’
There are various information that your team members look to get from you. They will send you official emails for clarification or even asking for suggestions. For some, you will have straight away answers and will be able to revert to them. But for others, it might be the case that you won’t be able to reply until say in next 7 days. You decide to keep the email aside and hoped to reply till you get the information. Rest assured, you will forget to intimate your team-member. There are several possibilities – the sender will be left wondering whether you have received the email or are you ok with the content of the email – this will make them irritated. And if you do this often, you will soon be creating miscommunication within your own team due to no communication. The easiest tip is: reply to the concerned person when you can send them the information, or ask someone else (who knows the answer) to reply copying the person in the email.
These are not exclusive ones, but there are more! But these five are the basic email etiquette which we often forget in our day to day work life. But these basics are the ones which help in building trust, confidence and also relationships between managers and the team-members.