Think of virtual communications as a great way for leader and employee to have a conversation. While nothing can, or should, replace the dynamism of the face-to-face conversation, virtual communications through email is an effective way for the leader to share his or her thoughts and to reiterate the leadership message, provide guidance and direction, and keep abreast of changing conditions by listening to feedback. Email invites response. With the exception of broadcast emails, which go to thousands, the email to a direct report typically carries with it the demand for a response. The leader needs to know, "Did you understand what I wrote?" and the leader needs to hear, "Yes, and let me offer my thoughts on this." When used in this way, email facilitates dialogue.
If both sides pay attention to what the other is saying (and keep in mind that the leader is communicating with more than one follower), you increase the capacity for trust to develop, which should always be the ultimate outcome of leadership communications.