Uncertainty about the meaning of silence. When you communicate remotely with your team, the common issues is that you don’t know what the silence means. As you build communications and trust you start predicting the meaning of silence, but before that, you need a tool to understand the silence.
✅a recipient didn’t read an email
✅deleted an email by error,
✅thinks that you asking somebody else
✅mad at you and tries to compose the answer
✅does (or plans to do) research because the question is complicated and wants to share the results afterward.
Establish regular sync ups to make sure you know the overall emotional state and the current tasks of your team. This is how you will know whether the email was deleted or just planned for the next month. Establish the practice to discuss things before you start doing something. I had a lot of cases when I have sent an email, the team had a lot of questions, filled the gaps as they could and provided the solution without asking questions. As you can imagine the outcome was not exactly what I expected. Encourage your team to ask questions. Maybe they know you have a kid and you work from home, so they don’t want to bother you for the minor questions. Explain, how and when your team should make decisions by themselves and when they need to contact you. Set rules. If your colleague scheduled your questions for the next week, she needs to know that you expect an email back with a quick “I can start it next week” note. If you didn’t get the answer, it’s ok to ask for an update. We are all humans, we can forget stuff. Don’t think that you are not respected if somebody forgot to answer your email. If you have multiple people in the TO field, make sure you set a clear expectation who should reply. If not, then everybody will think that somebody else should reply.
What other cases do you have for the email silence?