This learning thing is hard. In February 2014, I wrote a post about Learning From My Mistakes. One of the things I talked about was using email for communication and how tricky that can be. It was a good post, honest and true. If only learning was as easy as writing a blog post!
Like you, I receive a fair bit of email. I also have a bit of an obsession about keeping my inbox clear. (On a side note, sometimes I delete too much. I’ve had to ask a colleague for a certain information email more than once – you’d think I would learn.) In any case, if I’m clearing my email later in the day and know it’s urgent to respond, I can succumb to the temptation of email. I put sensitive information that would be better shared in person or through a phone call.
This past week, I responded to several important emails that way. I tried to be ultra clear in my responses and read over the emails before I sent them. Of course, they lacked the human touch, because email can never convey that. I went to bed, satisfied that I had dealt with those issues.
But I really hadn’t. Sometime over the course of the night, my brain realized that I had gone against my commitment to better communication. I needed to pick up the phone.
So I did. And I apologized and said I would do better. Folks graciously accepted my apology and we had a good discussion about the issues. But I wish email wasn’t so seductive.