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Beyond Leadership

119 EpisodesProduced by Mark KalinWebsite

Beyond Leadership is a podcast that connects the business world with academia and provides a platform for entrepreneurs, leaders, managers, students, and everyone willing to learn and share their best practices and life stories about leadership. Going Beyond.Founder and owner: Mark Kalin

4:04

Tip of the Week 12 - Tame Your Inbox Like an ER Doctor

Here are 5 steps to be more efficient with your e-mail communication:

1. Streamline communications and clarify roles.

A team of experts is not the same as an expert team. Having many leaders in a resuscitation room creates cacophony and makes it difficult for a team to focus and prioritize tasks. Clearly stating the title and roles of people on each email was another important step.

2. Command and request clearly.

In the resuscitation bay there is no room for vague requests. “Thin-air” statements or “asking the room” refers to requests that are not directed at an individual, such as “can somebody please get me a scalpel.” In the ED, directly asking a person by name to do a specific task provokes a faster response and is more likely to evoke vital additional information (“we’re out of scalpels!”). Similarly, when you’re sending emails during a crisis, avoid the passive voice, clearly direct requests to specific individuals and provide concrete timelines and instructions on how to report back when the action is complete, to close the loop.

3. Ask for clarification when you’re added to a thread.

In a crisis, people’s reflex is to add recipients to an email thread to assure that everyone is on the same page.

4. Build and maintain situational awareness.

The ultimate team goal during any resuscitation is to rapidly adopt a shared mental model of the situation. This assures that everyone understands each other’s roles, the patient’s status from moment to moment, and what needs to be done.

5. Foster atmosphere of open information exchange.

Communication in a crisis relies on team members feeling a sense of psychological safety - that they are free to speak openly without fear of repercussion. In the ED, we expect team members to speak up, especially to prevent a mistake such as a medication error.

How do you manage daily with your e-mails? Share with us your methods.


Romney S. M. L., Gavin N., Chang B.P., and Kessler D. O.  (2020, June). Tame Your Inbox Like an ER Doctor. Harvard Business Review.

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