Find Your Most Helpful Coworkers With One Email

Find Your Most Helpful Coworkers with One Email

If you could do everything yourself, you wouldn't have coworkers. Sometimes, you need to enlist their help, but some may turn a simple request into a long thread of emails with too many opinions. When you start a new job, or you want to figure out who can help you at a current one, you just need to ask for something via email to find out who you can actually count on.

Developer and technical manager Brandon Aaskov found a certain kind of email reveals who you can rely on and who can't:

The best way to test this at your company (if it's not already obvious, or if you're new) is to email someone directly - don't CC anyone. If it's a casual email that really doesn't require any other input, and then suddenly there are more people in your email thread with the response, you know that someone is either covering their arse or trying to prove their job's worth. In either case, it's silly and unnecessary. It's the biggest reason we all get way more work emails than we otherwise should.

If you send enough of these emails in the beginning and keep track of the helpful responses you get, you can figure out who can help you most efficiently. When coworkers come back with requests to fill out forms or start copying in managers for no good reason, you know they're covering their backsides more than they're trying to help. If you can figure out who helps and who wastes time at your organisation quickly, you'll save yourself time in the long run.

CCing to CYA [Brandon Aaskov]


    While I completely agree.. It completely undermines the entire point of WHY they are CC'd in - to make sure that things that affect them they DO have a say in.. Especially when they are above you..

    In the end of the day, when the "VP of Nothing" as in the example above comes to you and asks why X happened and Y wasn't informed, and there was some issue because of that that you could not POSSIBLY have foreseen.. It's going to come on your head, not theirs..

    In the end of the day, love it or loath it, effective communication is ALWAYS more important than what actually is or isn't done..

    If the input being provided to you is baseless/not needed/adds nothing - then that is probably something you should raise with them, or take the time to explain WHY it's baseless. You'll get on with everyone better, and the added communication will not only be appreciated, but WILL get you noticed..

    Establishing new processes with the help of superiors if it becomes an ongoing issue can help to eliminate a lot of the 'why' type questions, since the reply would always be "have you not read process XYZ?" to which they will either say "oh yes you are right!" or "err.. Ofcourse I have, I just have very important things to do over.. here.. by the process files.."

    That said - if it is something that affects nobody but you, and the person you are emailing, and it is entirely within your control with no external factors - then this approach is probably fine for that.. But in any business, such cases are extremely rare - since every decision has stakeholders, whether you are aware of them and their stake or not..

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