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Do your emails create accidental politics?

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

You see them, and maybe even send them, all the time: emails in which several people are addressed directly and several others cc’d. Consider the problems such “group huddle” messages can create and the chaotic thought processes that can result:

1. Confusion.

  • “Okay, should I reply now, or wait for Kyle to respond so I can see what he says and adjust to it?”
  • “Should I be the one to answer, or is it really Maura who’s the focus here?”
  • “Am I stepping on Jill’s toes if I jump in first?”
  • “It’s been 45 minutes and only two people have responded. How long should I wait before I actually go ahead with the plan?”

2. Resentment.

  • “Why am I only being cc’d? I know more about these things than Frank.”
  • “Why am I in the ‘To’ field instead of Gary? He’s the one who should be taking action on this, not me.”
  • “Oh, so Ed thinks Heather’s the expert on this now, eh? Yeah, right.”

3. Suspicion. 

  • “Interesting that Donna answered but John’s totally silent. Is he telling us he wants no part of this?”
  • “Why does Glynn think I can’t deal with this on my own? Is she telling everyone else about this problem to point a finger at me?”
  • “Wow, look at all these people Maurice is dragging into this—he must be really freaking out and angry.”

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