Don't Spare the Pleasantries
A pet peeve of mine are those who are direct out of habit rather than necessity. I have to say that there is a time and a place to do that. I'm a big fan of whenever a person communicates to another, especially those unknown, never ever spare the pleasantries. It is just plain being polite. Thinking back to early writing classes, I recall statements like "trying to know your audience" or "maintaining proper tone". Being direct sets a tone that not everyone can appreciate for the way in which the communication was intended. It could be read as being aggressive, bossy, or rudeness.
Managers are usually the ones most guilty of being direct. Much of it is completely justified. They are in charge and direction at times mush be given directly. This works well denote a sense of urgency and even frustration which is highly communicative to staff what the pulse is of the situation. As a general rule, most managers know it sets an improper example to use that tactic all the time. Used all the time leaves staff with the idea that this is how a manager needs to behave to get things done.
Coworkers on the other hand need to take a softer approach to their colleagues. Inter-department cross-department communication should never spare the pleasantries to encourage collaboration. Everyone is working towards the same goal and while being direct to your coworkers will get the point across, the same tonal issues prevail here.
Not to sound cliche, but treat others as you wish to be treated. It is no different when speaking or writing. When unsure of the audience, it is better to more reserved and empathetic than overly concerned and sympathetic. When more understanding is provided, responses will be more thoughtful.