Thanks to e-mail, managers could probably go entire days without talking to anybody in person. That doesn’t mean they should.
Sometimes, it’s better to talk in person — or to just not say anything at all.
Here are 4 e-mail tips for managers:
- Look out for jokes — It’s up to managers to be on the lookout for potential offensive jokes and forwards sent by employees. Those e-mails may seem innocent to some, but anything potentially offensive must be stopped. For example, a subsidiary of Chevron settled a case for $2.5 million, based in part on an e-mail sent by an employee titled “25 reasons beer is better than women.”
- Don’t send secrets — There’s rarely such a thing as a secret sent over e-mail. Messages can be accidentally or intentionally forwarded to others, printed and left on the machine, etc. If something needs to stay private, say it in person.
- Avoid suspicious language — Using phrases like “Delete this e-mail,” “I probably shouldn’t be e-mailing this,” and “Should we get a lawyer?” is the easiest way to see that a judge gets to read the message.
- Cool down — It’s good advice in any situation, not just at the office: Never send an e-mail when you’re angry.