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Is Copying the Boss on Emails a Bad Behavior???

This is one of my favorite coaching topics to dissect.

If I currently coach you, and you think I’m calling you out….I am. But this comes up for nearly every single person I coach.

Whether you are the one who always cc’s the boss, you have a teammate who does, or if you are the boss on the receiving end, this is for you.

People cc the boss for many reasons. They are all highly personal. They may want recognition, they may not trust the team, they may need help.

But should you ever do it?

Regardless of the motivation, my answer is the always the same.


Who cares?

Copy whoever you want.

What DOES matter, are the expectations of the entire team.

Here’s some technical email guidelines that are always a good idea:

1. Be very clear about what you need from the email recipients. Is this an FYI for some and you need action from others? Put names to action needed and specific dates. If the boss is getting an FYI only, lead with that statement.

2. If you are the boss – do not intervene unless asked. Even if it feels like mistakes may be made. Give the email some time to circulate and allow the team to problem solve. Only jump in if it’s really, really critical. And losing a few hundred dollars or missing a soft deadline is not critical. That’s learning.

Here’s what we don’t do: