What Would a Good Manager Think?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

(Ugh. I was considering a blog post about the election this morning, but have decided to spare myself and my readers in favor of something positive, so here goes...)

Do make some time to mosey on over to Ask a Manager, the blog of business advice columnist Alison Green. (I was going to add, "if you haven't already heard of her," but even if you have, do this anyway.) The place is a treasure trove of everything job-related from interesting (and often amusing) anecdotes to actionable advice (often delivered with humor), and usually both at once. Green is my kind of guru, always respectful of the contexts of questioner and reader alike. This means that she both explains her reasoning and helps her readers understand whether or how to apply her advice. On top of that, she solicits (and often receives) updates on how her advice worked out.

Since I share Green's hatred of telephones, I'll excerpt part of her answer to someone's question regarding how to limit their use at work as an example:

And there are indeed phone people and email people. Some people are like us and despise the phone, and others can't imagine why we'd write an email instead of jumping on a five-minute call and dealing with whatever's at hand right there and then. They are wrong, of course, and we are right ... but they are plentiful, and it's not reasonable to think you can avoid them in your professional life.

That means that you really should not leave an outgoing message on your voicemail telling people that you don't answer phone calls. It will come across as odd, kind of rude, and a bit prima donna-ish. You can, however, have a voicemail message that suggests that people can get a faster response by emailing you. For instance: "You've reached Fitzwilliam Darcy. While you can leave a message here, I'm often able to respond more quickly by email, so feel free to email me at ___ instead. Otherwise, I'll return your call as soon as I'm able." (Keep in mind, though, that this might not be cool to do in some offices, so make sure you know your culture first.)
I don't know how I have managed to remain ignorant of this writer for so long, but I am glad I know of her now. I have already learned a few things that I am sure will help me in my career, and am pretty sure you might, too. In any event, since her blog is general-interest, I've added it to the "Very Frequently Updated" section of the blogroll, so if you can't get there today, it will be easy enough to do so later.

-- CAV

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