Around 11 p.m. one night, you realize there’s a key step your team needs to take on a current project. So, you dash off an email to the team members while you’re thinking about it. via Your Late-Night Emails Are Hurting Your Team
Yeah. Been there. Matter o' fact I was just there this week.
Y'know. I'm excited. I got an idea. It's a great one, too. Why? 'Cause I'm excited about it, okay. What other reason. I get on the keyboard, start typing. I'm not as crisp at night as I'm during the day, so it takes me a couple of iterations to articulate my idea. Doesn't matter, foggy thinking's just an obstacle, one I have to overcome and one I need to overcome 'cause this idea's hot. HOT!
I get the wording right. Fire it off. I feel good.
Sure, I went to bed later than usual, which meant waking up a little tired and sleepy. 's okay 'cause that idea was hot. HOT.
My first email I read is from recipient. She's smart. She didn't read my email last night even though she works on the West Coast, two hours behind me. Her first comment "I'm not sure what you're talking about." Her polite reply was even more painful than if she'd said "WTF are you talking about!"
Here's more of from that article on HBR:
"If this is a common behavior for you, you’re missing the opportunity to get some distance from work — distance that’s critical to the fresh perspective you need as the leader."
Fortunately, it's not. But it has been in the past. That determination that everyone applauds when you're right for not listening to the critics is transformed into stubbornness when you're so obviously wrong. I was wrong. Yet, I convinced myself to keep pushing through to the other side, y'know 'cause once we get caught up ... blah-de-blah-blah-blah. Hand making talking signs.
Over time and pain and apologies I discovered this lesson:
"Think about the message you’d like to send. Do you intend for your staff to reply to you immediately? Or are you just sending the email because you’re thinking about it at the moment, and want to get it done before you forget?"
Um, well, last night it was, well, anyway, I was excited and yeah, you're right.
At night, walk away from the keyboard and the digital devices. Go for a walk, play with the kids, hell, play with your spouse or partner, go workout. Walk away from your work to get a perspective on your work.
Get a life so your team can have one, too.
Then bring that life and perspective back to work and share it. With smiles, not red-faced blushes that are so unnecessary and so obvious on a bald head.