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"Blanket" Emails Will Demotivate Your High Performers

Updated: May 17, 2021

You know those emails.

The ones that nag everyone about a procedure that one person doesn’t follow.

You may think it's easier to send a message out to the whole team rather than confront the person. Not only is this a waste of time, it is a big demotivator for those who are doing the right thing.

Here’s an example:

Jared is constantly late for meetings. He usually pops in on the video call five minutes late and is disruptive to the discussion. It has been happening the last month.

Here is the typical blanket email:

“Everyone please be on time to meetings. When you are late, it is disruptive to others and we like to start and end our meetings on time!”

Here’s the thing. Jared probably won’t read it and others will say “What the heck! I’m on time!”

Instead - ask Jared for a 5 minute conversation right away.

Here's how the conversation can go:

“Jared - I have noticed that you have been five minutes late to each of our weekly staff meetings over the past month. I know you’re super busy, but it’s really important for you to be on time, so we can discuss our issues quickly and get back to work.”

Jared might not realize he’s being late and apologize. Or he might get defensive.

  1. Spend a few minutes having a discussion determining the cause of this lateness.

  2. Get him to come up with ways he can be on time. Don't do this work for him. Make him own his own issue.

  3. Last, schedule another short conversation to check in with him again.

End the conversation with:

“Great - so we’ve agreed that you will wrap up your work and get to the weekly meeting five minutes early so we can always get started on time. Let’s meet again in four weeks on the 25th at 9:00am so I can give you feedback on how you’re doing. Will that work for you?”

By checking in again, it gives you the opportunity to praise him for being on time, or have another conversation to help change his behavior.

It is always better to confront the person or the few people who are not doing the things that support your values and procedures, rather than fill up inboxes and frustrate your team.

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