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Is THIS the worst email response from a boss?

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Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Is THIS the worst email response from a boss?

The immediacy of modern workplace technology has lulled some employees into the false concept that all queries to their bosses should be answered instantaneously. However, when replies are rushed how can bosses ensure that their answers are truly considered?

Whilst some may hastily draft a non-committal reply to get an employee off of their back, one boss recently took to Mumsnet asking whether it was unreasonable for her to take more than a day to reply to emails because she needed “a lot of time to think”.

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Comments (5)

  • Steve Rhodes
    Steve Rhodes
    Tue, 12 Nov 2019 10:38am GMT
    "Should bosses be expected to respond to an employee's email instantly?"

    No, of course not.

    It's the job of the boss to determine the workflows; it's not the job of the employees to require an instant, or even convenient, response based on the priorities they set for themselves. To oblige a manager to respond to an email on demand is the tail wagging the dog.

    And, as the article observes, there were clearly other issues at play here.
  • James Gage
    James Gage
    Tue, 12 Nov 2019 10:08am GMT
    The advice I'd give to delegates I train in man-management skills would be to respond acknowledging the email, even if you need more time to research or prepare your more detailed answer. Even if it's to say "Thank you for your email. I need to consider all of the facts and will then come back to you with my response by the end of the week".
    24 hours is a long time for a team member to wait for an acknowledgment!
  • Nadine
    Tue, 12 Nov 2019 9:34am GMT
    I think the point here is that if it is URGENT pick the phone up. Everyone uses emails these days and then gets upset when you haven't replied. "Oh I emailed you and it was urgent!" Well pick up the phone or come to my desk if it is urgent. This lady is a senior manager and now without an assistant so I am sure has many other tasks throughout the day other than going through many emails to find the urgent ones.
    This lady is also in a senior position and has been for a number of years so she must be doing something right, whether organised or not!!
  • James
    Tue, 12 Nov 2019 9:10am GMT
    E-mails should absolutely not be responded to immediately unless they are blantantly super-urgent (which is very rare). Managers who respond immediately to everything can't be prioritising their work properly. In fact they are probably being distracted by their e-mails.
  • Michelle
    Tue, 12 Nov 2019 8:58am GMT
    I actually think she sounds more stressed than disorganised, and I suspect this is why she's taking her time. (To be honest, it's nice to hear someone say they'd like some time to consider the issues!). Also - maybe she's not used to working with a PA? Certainly I've worked with Directors who have removed the PA role altogether because they don't think they need them.

    Unfortunately, with seniority comes a necessity to turnover work more quickly & efficiently. However I think there's a happy compromise to be had here. First - as a manager, I think she can reasonably be firm about her own time (up to a point). So why not set a time every day to review all her emails & decide which ones are most important. Action the important ones (be it delegation or work she has to do herself). For the others, get her PA to send a holding email.

    I think the Mumsnet responses were a bit harsh, maybe they could have provided solutions rather than just have a go at her. Having just tried to seek out the original post, I can't find that user anywhere, so perhaps she's no longer on Mumsnet, which is a shame.
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