Email and Employee Engagement

When we discuss factors impacting employee engagement, the manager-employee relationship always makes the list. Originally published in 2008, this post from the archives addresses an often overlooked element of day to day interactions.

 iStock

iStock

Managers can be a major source of dissatisfaction for employees. One thing a manager can do is make sure you're as nice in email as you are in person (click for link). 

  • Respect the impact an email can have on an employee. When an employee sees an email from their boss, their blood pressure actually goes up (click for link), no matter what the content of the mail is. But, understandably, blood pressure went up even more when employees got angry emails from the boss, or emails from a boss they perceived to be unfair. If you get in the habit of sending little bombs throughout the day, you will create a truly deadly workplace.
  • Be consistent. People read a lot into emails because the emails are devoid of the nonverbal cues we use to judge a message delivered in person. If you usually send very cordial ones, and then send a cold one, people who depend on you will spend hours analyzing it. The more consistent you are, the more people will focus on your content and stop wasting time trying to figure out subtext.

Managers, are you ready to fire off a strongly worded email, tip the balance of power in your favor and enjoy the illusion while it lasts?  Don't. Step away from the computer. I expect more from a leader in my organization and you should too.