Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Why Promptly Responding to Messages Matters.

When it comes to effective communication, there are few things more important than responding to people. Whether between family, friends, or co-workers, answering an email or written message is a matter of common decency. Being prompt in your response is especially crucial. Timely replies reflect a certain implied measure of respect and responsibility. When you fail to reply to a message, you do more than just ignore any potential questions or concerns. A lack of response indicates an absence of reverence.

If someone sends you an email or message, then write them back in a reasonable amount of time. Even if your answer is “I don’t know,” send it anyway. At least the other party knows that you’re at least thinking about the topic at hand.

Let me be clear – missing one message occasionally can be chalked up to human error. Sometimes messages get lost in the shuffle. Emails can be mistakenly filtered into a spam folder, never to be seen. Accidents do indeed happen. What I’m referencing is an unambiguous pattern of avoidance.

When people in positions of workplace leadership fail to respond to their employees, they create a bubble around themselves. The more they ignore their subordinates, the thicker that bubble becomes. Eventually, a culture of mistrust develops, with the subordinates not believing in their leader. Channels of respect break down. Employees grow nihilistic, having little incentive to perform their jobs with a high degree of quality. The mechanism that keeps an organization operating starts to collapse. Effective leadership means listening and responding to your employees. The success of an organization begins and ends with the right people leading the way.

Can an organization survive with a wishy-washy, flakey, unresponsive leader? If it’s large enough, then absolutely. The nature of bureaucracy serves the well-being of a poorly led company because it insulates the internal faults from becoming too influential. Such a company will not thrive, though.

Here’s the takeaway from all of this. Respond in a timely fashion to the messages you receive. You’re only hurting yourself by not doing so.

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