Your Email Might Be Preventing You From Being A Better Boss

Luckily, there's an easy solution for those who are facing the problem of unchecked emails
Your Email Might Be Preventing You From Being A Better Boss
Image credit: Shutterstock
Entrepreneur Staff
Features Writer, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific
3 min read

What makes a good boss? Employees all over the world will all have their own opinions, which makes it almost impossible to please everyone. However, there are a few steps you can take on your own that are scientifically proven to make you a better boss. According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University, checking your email less often is one of them.

The Evil Of Email

With the rapid rise of technology, email has become the main method of communication between work colleagues. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in September 2018, detailed how employees spend more than 90 minutes every day (seven-and-a-half hours every week) recovering from email interruptions. It went on to assert that these distractions have a more pronounced impact on managers.

How Managers Are Affected

To highlight the fact that these email delays affect managers more, the researchers collected surveys from a group of 48 managers across 10 consecutive workdays. The participants reported their frequency and demands of emails, their perceived progress on core job duties.

“Like most tools, email is useful but it can become disruptive and even damaging if used excessively or inappropriately,” lead author Russell Johnson explained in an official press release. “When managers are the ones trying to recover from email interruptions, they fail to meet their goals, they neglect manager-responsibilities and their subordinates don’t have the leadership behaviour they need to thrive.”

The Next Step

The researchers also found that the managers responded to the perceived unproductivity caused by the email delays by limiting their leader behaviour and turning to tactical duties instead. “We found that on days when managers reported high email demands, they report lower perceived work progress as a result, and in turn engage in fewer effective leader behaviours,” explained Johnson. Simply put, the managers were neglecting their managerial duties in favour of pursuing smaller tasks to feel more productive.

The Way Out

“When managers reduce their leader behaviour and structure behaviours, it has been shown that employees’ task performance, work satisfaction, organisational commitment, intrinsic motivation and engagement all decrease, and employees’ stress and negative emotions increase,” Johnson said. Simply ignoring your email notifications isn’t an option, so how can managers prevent their email influx from affecting the productivity of the organisation and the work rate of other employees?

The answer lies in simply setting aside specific times to check your email rather than reacting instantly every time a notification pops up. This gives control back to the manager rather than the email, keeping the number of times they have to make the laborious transition between work and email to a minimum!

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