Emailed Development Plan?

Category: Newsletters



This year my boss emailed me my individual development plan rather than handing it to me personally. Should I feel ‘less special’?


Dan, PA



Email has had an incredible impact on the efficiency of business. However, it can also be taken too far. All too often, I hear about managers who email messages to an employee whose office is two doors down. When I was a manager, I also succumbed to the temptation of sending an easy email rather than having an actual conversation. But it did nothing to improve my relationship with those people.


Obviously, from your question, you already feel slighted that your personal development plan arrived in such an impersonal way. I recommend that you speak to your manager and ask if there was a reason that it was emailed to you rather than delivered personally. It’s possible that it’s only a draft and your supervisor wanted you to have the original document so that changes could easily be made to it. However, ideally this should have been made clear in the email being sent.


As society changes over time, employee expectations also change. There is a whole new generation of employees entering the workforce that actually prefer email to face to face conversations. My most memorable experience was sitting next to two college students on a bus. Both were busily texting away. What I found out later was that they were texting each other even though they were sitting next to each other.


It’s a manager’s job to get to know their employees on an individual basis, including their communication preferences. A good manager will match their management style to the employee’s preferences in order to effectively grow each person. So talk to your manager and clear the air. There could be any number of reasons why your individual development plan was emailed. But, until you ask, you’ll never know for sure. And until you share your feelings, your manager cannot be expected to know your communication preferences.


Good luck!