Forums

The email podcast was great! I can really relate to the new geneartion's addiction to email and can see those that who never grew up with are much better communicators.

I'm pretty good with e-mail myself, but turning off alerts, and checking mail at set times during the day oppossed to random really helped.

Asides from hinting that they listen to the podcast, how do you let others know their email behaviour is ineffective, particularily, your boss?

Flood,

Mark's picture

Flood-

In keeping with my general approach to motivating bosses to change... just leave him or her be. You're just not going to get very far suggesting they change things. About the only way that gets some traction is to notably change your performance, through Manager Tools-driven and other behavioral changes, and have him or her come to you and ask what you're doing differently.

Let your results be your persuasive device.

Mark

Nik's picture

An old boss of mine regularly had thousands of unread emails in her inbox. As a result, she'd often miss information I sent to her, which was problematic for our working relationship, since we needed to send documentation back and forth with some frequency.

Rather than change her email habits, I spent a bit of time with her helping her set up email rules to auto-file messages that came from people who weren't in the company or weren't in her personal address book. This created a sort of slush pile of email that required less attention.

I also set up a rule to raise the priority on messages which came from her direct reports and superiors, so that she could easily pick them out of the incoming stream and respond promptly to them.

End result: She was able to handle email much more effectively, and I could be confident that my important messages would get through and be attended to promptly.

If you aren't technically inclined, you could certainly get some help from an IT type in your organization to give your boss a hand.

Flood's picture

Thanks Mark,

Before reading your reply I said to my boss 'I know you get a lot of e-mail - here's what's helped me'.

The answer I got was - 'glad it's working for you, thanks for the suggestion but I'm going to keep doing things the same'.

That's fine and I respect that.

The main problem for me is when we are in meetings, they are constantly distracted by emails and sometimes, will stop myself or my peers mid-sentence to answer emails.

I realize some things may be more important at the time but I find it to be rude and it seems as though what we're talking about is not as important.

Would you recommend the same approach to just leave it be or should myself and my peers speak up?

Flood's picture

ps. thanks for the feedback Nik.

I actually did the same for a peer - my boss is technical savvy enough to establish filters etc,

the main problem for me seems to be behavioural oppossed to technical.

Nik's picture

[quote="Flood"]The main problem for me is when we are in meetings, they are constantly distracted by emails and sometimes, will stop myself or my peers mid-sentence to answer emails.

I realize some things may be more important at the time but I find it to be rude and it seems as though what we're talking about is not as important.[/quote]

That is [i]unconscionably rude![/i] It's equivalent to taking a phone call right in the middle of a meeting!

I have no good advice on how to CHANGE this behavior, although I think it would be entirely appropriate to say, "When you answer your email in the middle of a meeting, it makes me feel as though what I'm saying isn't valuable. Furthemore, it makes our meetings take substantially longer. Is there any chance you could leave your Blackberry in the office or turn it off before we meet?"

Many companies have a policy that during meetings you leave your Blackberry on a side table and/or turn it off. Same for cell phones. I've had limited success getting people to do that during my own meetings. They can only leave 'em off for 10 minutes or so and then they "sneak" some email.

PierG's picture

In my opinion is not a problem of technology.

If it's not an email, someone could be distracted by a piece of paper, a phone call, a report to fill ....

In the same way, if you are not dealing with your inbox in a proper way, you probably are not dealing well with priorities, schedules, tasks ...

Again we fall down in the DISC model: it's more about which kind of 'bevahoiural model' you are. AND a good manger should be effective, no matter if he is a High D or a High I.

PierG

chaser's picture

I personally find that I can not multi-task, I do one thing at one time and if I try to do more than one I will do both poorly. While answering e-mails if someone comes into my office I will often ask them to wait just a few minutes, "have a seat while I finish" or schedule a time to meet. In the past I have tried to carry on a conversation while writing or reading an e-mail...it never works.

Mark's picture

NO ONE can multi-task as the term is now used.

NO ONE. It is impossible for the human brain, which only does one thing at a time. The only time when we can actually "do two things at once" is when one of them is highly repetitive and routine, like brushing one's teeth or driving one's vehicle.

What people refer to as multi-tasking is actually just time-sharing, with small slices.

And it makes you much worse, and take much longer, at both things you are doing.

Stop.

Mark

martinUK's picture

On the podcast it was mentioned that a document to help people with setting up various filters and redirects would be on the website. Is it still available.

It's not for me...
It's for my friend...
I am great at managing emails...
Honest.

nathanbeaudry's picture

It's located here: http://www.manager-tools.com/2005/09/got-email/

It's the link called: "PDF document outlining the steps"

:)