Be Cool To Each Other: You Don’t Have To CC The Bosses

I know this has happened to you. You get an email from oh, I dunno, Bob, usually requesting you and/or your team’s status on a really important project.

Things haven’t been going optimally, and your response is truthful, stating that.

Suddenly, the reply comes back to you, and you’re horrified to see that your boss, and Bob’s boss are both CCd on the email.

It feels like being handed a microphone and being pushed out on stage. Now on top of dealing with the real issue, you’re dealing with the requirement on you to represent that situation to some really important people.

So why does Bob do this? What is he missing? What should he do instead?

I have strong opinions on this :)

Bob does this because he’s afraid of getting in trouble, or he’s angry that you’re behind on the work. This much is obvious, right?

Maybe he wants to cover his ass and make sure his boss knows you’re the one who is messing things up. But if that were the case, wouldn’t he just put his boss on the email? Maybe there is something more sinister at work here.

Since he also CCd your boss, it sounds like he might be mad and trying to get you in trouble with your boss.

Bob is missing a few things here.

Bosses don’t want to be pulled into drama.

They hired us to solve problems for them so they can avoid the drama and get bigger things done. If we CC them on every little thing that goes wrong, because we’re afraid of getting in trouble, it won’t help us much, and we’re practically screaming at our boss that we can’t do our job. More seasoned bosses recognize this in an instant.

Bob is making himself look bad in his boss’s eyes and showing that he can’t handle problems by himself. It’s not going to make Bob’s boss feel sorry for him.

Also, Bob CCd your boss too — and there is a good chance that your boss and Bob’s boss have a relationship, and they talk. Now your boss isn’t feeling great about Bob either — and to some extent, you’re in the same boat. Your boss and Bob’s boss are going to talk — and its not going to be about you being an incompetent idiot like Bob was imagining — its going to be about why their employees can’t work together and solve problems.

Now, what would be better? What should Bob have done?

I’ve always said that we should handle arguments and disagreements and annoyances privately between as few people as possible, come to an agreement or solution, then present that to the larger group — which in this case is the bosses.

Bob could have worked through everything with you, come up with a solution, helped you out — whatever — anything positive, and then presented progress and happiness to the boss, and he’d be a hero.

Instead he chose the dirty road, and it just makes him — well, dirty.

So to all of you Bobs out there — lets not play dirty. You might need a favor from us someday. At the very least, if you keep acting like this, you might need a friend someday.

Plus, you’ll just feel better if you’re cool to the people you work with. And your boss will respect you for knowing how to get the job done with the minimum amount of drama.

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