Top Email Pet Peeves

Allow me to vent a moment. I have mentioned one of these before, but there are some things people do with email that just annoy the fire out of me.

#2. Email, and then quickly send a follow up wondering when you will respond to the original. Look, if it’s so important to get an answer quickly, make a phone call. Just because a lot of people get email on their mobile deices does not mean they are in a place to read and answer each one immediately. I recently got an email which posed a question I was still trying to decide, and before I could come to a decision, I got another asking why I hadn’t bothered to respond to the previous one. It would be very easy to slip into a very human response, and simple say “No” to any request in that situation.

#1. Copy everyone in the address book on a message intended for one person. This happens a lot with people’s work emails. Normally they copy their boss and the other person’s boss. As though the boss has the time or concern to closely follow an email exchange that doesn’t involved them. I can tell you as a supervisor, I almost always ignore these kinds of emails that I get attached to.

I make it a habit to NEVER include extra people in an email chain unless I need those people to give input, or to let the other person know I have made my supervisor aware. I will never copy the other person’s boss because I am having a conflict. If I have trouble with a person, I will follow the biblical model of conflict resolution found in Matthew 18:15-17. My first attempt to fix an issue will not include multiple people. And many times it does not include email at all, since email can be so easily misread.

The funny thing is, it’s not just when people are complaining that this happens. Sometimes people will add five or six people to a basic email question. I have to wonder if they added them so that the extras can see that this sender actually is doing some kind of work. or maybe they thing the recipient will give the matter more attention if the sender attaches some “higher ups.” It often feels like manipulation, and that’s not what ministries should be about.

We are on the same team, working toward one unified vision. When we let the human side of email conflicts come into play, we harm the progress toward that goal.