Be Honest: Do You Use Email to Cover Your Back?

Linda Dulye's picture

We once heard someone refer to the "cc:" field in an email message as the place where you can be "electronically passive aggressive." For many, the field is nothing more than a place to add a recipient purely as an FYI. But some use it to cover their back. Think about it: Want to show that you have the support of your boss on a thorny issue? Send a note to your colleagues -- and cc: your boss. 

It's perfect, right? Not exactly.
In the New York Times' Corner Office series, Kasper Rorsted, the chief executive of Henkel, the consumer and industrial products company based in Düsseldorf, Germany, talked about his decreasing use of email and his disregard for messages on which he's copied:
I use e-mail more and more as text messaging -- just very, very short messages. It's very efficient, but I am convinced that e-mail does not replace presence. Also, I never read cc e-mails. When I see on an e-mail "cc Kasper," I delete it. I don't read it. … [I]t's a waste of time. If they want to write to me, they can write to me. People often copy me to cover their back.
They need to deal with their business and I need to deal with my business. If it's important, they need to write it to me, but I'm not going to read a cc e-mail. I'm not advocating against e-mail, but you can get into a great argument in e-mail because people can read whatever they want into the words. It takes two minutes to pick up the phone, so I try to encourage that as much as I can
What do you think? How do you use email? Is it your primary mode of communication? 
Tell us what you think in the comments section.


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