When we send an email to a person or group of people, as professionals, we trust that the recipients will accomplish the task at hand. However (and sadly), that’s not always the case.
As you’ve read in my other posts about email management, it’s far too easy to get overwhelmed when there’s an onslaught of emails coming at us. On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes things slip through the cracks – we’re human.
That’s why when you delegate something over email, it’s of the utmost importance that you take the time to ensure what you’re sending out actually gets done. It’s never enough to just send an email and hope for the best. You want to be cognizant of how long it’s been since you sent the email, and if a reasonable amount of time has passed (this will vary based on the assignment, your company, deadlines, etc) you need to follow up.
But what are things that you need to “delegate” over email?
This list is not exhaustive by any means, but includes: an assignment, a question, a document to be signed, and an invoice to be paid…basically, anything where we have assigned out the next action, but then need something back to do another action ourselves. As you can see, you’re still the one responsible.
But let’s take a look at an example to contextualize how to master our email, and track important tasks.
You’re a manager, and on Monday you’re been tasked by the CFO to get the numbers for this past quarter for a presentation on how your branch is doing. You then pass that task on to people in your sales, HR, and accounting departments so that you can get all the necessary information by this coming Thursday for the Friday presentation.
But let’s say the person in accounting is swamped. They saw your email, but they got side tracked with other tasks. Then the next day the accountant forgot all about it because of the flurry of other emails and things that needed to get done as well. Thursday comes along and the accountant says they don’t have the numbers you need because they completely forgot. Are you going to tell the CFO you didn’t finish your presentation because someone else didn’t do their job? You can…but the likelihood is that’ll come off as an excuse.
You should’ve checked in with the accounting department the next day, or at least checked in with every department the moment you got your first report. To say it’s someone else’s fault you didn’t do your job rarely ever goes well, and if you’re a manager, will likely come off as incompetence.
Instead of running the risk of looking like you’re not a professional, stay on top of your tasks, and check in with the people you’ve delegated further actions to. That doesn’t mean after an hour you should be hounding them, but it does mean that whatever needs to get done is ultimately your responsibility.
If you’re thinking this sounds great but are unsure how you can stay on top of this level of organization, or are overwhelmed by your inbox as it is, luckily I have a proven system that’ll make organizing and task management a breeze.
The ARTT™ Email Productivity Course will teach you everything you need to know about inbox management – whether you’re on Gmail, Outlook, or even Earthlink (remember Earthlink?). This complimentary 45-minute webinar will help you learn how to feel in control of your inbox, be more responsive to important collaborators, and reduce your anxiety and stress. Tame the Email Beast!
Register for your favorite date today and I look forward to having you at the program.