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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:

We don’t make the cc mean anything negative at all. Do not take it personally.

In fact, cc’ing can be healthy if the ‘boss’ uses it as an opportunity to stay connected to what’s going on and see how the team is working together.

cc’ing can actually build trust over time. It’s only a problem when we assume negative intent. So just don’t.

Also….consider this….your team is comprised of grown ass people. If they don’t want an email, they can handle it themselves. Don’t try to solve for other people’s actions or desires. Just let it go and just solve the problems.

As a said, this is a topic that I coach often.

When we let of this, we free our brains up to do great work. Teams build trust and performance increases.

But many people never consider this way of thinking as an option and they are always trying to fix this thing that isn’t even a problem. What a waste of time and energy.

I coach leaders at every level to be a positive influence on company culture while being wildly effective.

Email me to set up 1:1 sessions with your key leaders. Flexible 3, 6, & 12 month options are available.

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