I have a remote direct who almost always lets calls go to voicemail. She usually calls back promptly, but because she's located in a different state from the rest of our small company, I think it's particularly important for her to appear responsive and easy to get in touch with. 

I've been doing O3s for about 8 weeks, so I haven't rolled out the rest of the trinity yet. But when I get further in the process, I'd like to address this with her. 

Is this a situation where feedback would work? The part that gets fuzzy to me is that it's completely fine for calls to go to voicemail sometimes--obviously, if she's in the restroom or doing something else that takes her away from her desk for a moment, I don't expect her to kill herself trying to get to the phone. It's the pattern of phone tag that's a problem. And yet coaching doesn't quite make sense either, from what I understand. 

If I was going to address this with feedback, I would imagine saying something like this: "Hey, can I give you some feedback? When you let calls go to voicemail, it makes you look less responsive, and can delay other people's work. Could you make sure to pick up the phone more often going forward? Thanks."



Kevin1's picture


I don't know all the details of the situation so I thought I'd ask a few questions and explore the topic a bit.

Is it a problem because, as her boss, you feel she is treating your calls as less important?  Is it a problem because you are in a hurry when you call her and don't like to wait?  

Have you thought about why she operates this way?  Many well organised people deliberately allow all calls to go to VM.  

  • It allows them to maintain focus on what they are working on and complete a work task
  • Avoids the waste of time of interruptions and disruptions mid task
  • Allows them to devote focused time on VM similar to processing email several times a day
  • Allows screening of unwanted and unimportant messages

For many people, this is more effective and efficient than allowing constant interruptions via VM.  

Is this a problem to anyone other than you?  If it is, then you have a case for giving her feedback about how it looks to others. Allow her to come up with the improvement.  If it is just you that has the problem, then perhaps caller recognition would allow her to pick up your calls immediately and continue to queue VM from other people, or you could give her 5 minutes warning that you will be calling her.  

Kind regards