Monday, 8 August 2016

Why am I not on that email?

A few days ago, someone from my team IM me, in despair wanting to have a chat. I agreed. We went to a meeting room, where he raised his disappointment on why he is not on the emails shared between one of the project teams. Since I myself was not on the email, I curiously asked about the email. Wanting to know what was in the email, that a person has to raise an alarm. The email was about an instruction from one engineer to another asking for certain changes in a feature he/she was working on.

I was forced to ask a question, Why do you need *that* email to be sent to you? The answer was enlightening "I should know what is happening". A mistake many new managers do. They want to know everything that is happening, even if they are not required to know. But I was not interested in knowing that.

I asked another question "What would you have done, had you got the email in first place?. The answer not surprisingly was "I wasn't required to respond on that email" I should just be "For Information" on it. The killer was the answer to next question, I asked "Say you did not get this email, what wrong would happen?" the reply surprised "Nothing, But then I am not responsible for anything goes wrong, not for that thing but any other task that relates to people or task involved in the email"

I guess this type of thing is clearly an Identity challenge, someone immediately starts thinking if he/she is not on an email, means his/her identity is in danger. It means that his or her identity or existence is questioned and the threat comes from the person, who missed you in the email. A potential conflict. It may start with "why" and may end with him/her. I responded very clearly by mentioning that lesser the emails, better I can work, lesser the meetings, productive I can be, The lesser I am needed, the better I can innovate.

If the email is not asking me any question, answering any of my question, informing or alarming me about any fact there is no point in me having the email.  Next time you get worried about why you are not in a meeting or email, please ask the questions above before you get into a position of vertigo.