This article from the Harvard Business Review has always stuck with me…perhaps because I am so prone to allow the monkey to jump onto my back (if that is an unfamiliar phrase, please take a few minutes and read the article).
Emails have always been used to transfer “the monkey” (responsibility) onto others. Sometimes that transfer is appropriate – for instance, when coming from my supervisor or a customer. But, usually that is not appropriate. Often, we use email to make someone else responsible for the next step, even though it’s our task to carry.
Lately, I’ve noticed a new twist to this. When someone wants to request my time for a meeting, they send an email and conclude with “just let me know when you are available.” With that simple statement, it has become assumed that I will give my time…and I have been given responsibility to check my calendar and coordinate the meeting.
Granted, this is meant as an act of courtesy. The other person is offering to be flexible and make the meeting convenient for me. However, it seems like more work on my part.
What do you think? Am I being too sensitive?