How to Respond When a Coworker Adds Your Boss to an Email

At some point, we have all had the misfortune of working with a passive-aggressive colleague. You know, the guy who ruins your project, but for some reason thinks that all the problems are someone’s fault, so much so that he tries to tell everyone and everyone who will listen, including your boss, but will not chat with you directly.

Chances are, your coworkers are already well aware that he (or she!) Is actually the problem, but the same may not apply to your boss, your boss, whom this person will try to somehow involve in any conflict. which you have. chatting like they were in elementary school. Inc made a great offer this week when that happens via email: just ask your boss if they’d like to get involved. Probably not.

The idea here is pretty simple: Usually Mr. Passive Aggressive copies your boss over email because he wants to appear to be the boss’s ally in the situation, and ultimately also your boss.

Yes, there are very good reasons for including your boss in a thread, we are not talking about them. We’re talking about e-mail loops where there is absolutely no reason for your boss to turn on, other than chatting about “wrong” actions or for your colleague to look like the hero of the project.

When you receive one of these emails, you have a choice: either continue to CC everyone, essentially proving their point, or not send CC to your boss, which if your colleague sends CC again, it looks like you’ve tried something- then hide. Neither is good.

The elusive third option is ideal: Forward an email with CC to your boss, CC to your colleague, and then ask, “Do you want to be looped about this?”

Maybe they do, but they probably don’t, and sending such an email will help your boss understand the situation. It also indicates that your coworker is to blame in the first place, and highlights the potential absurdity of your coworker trying to involve him in the situation in the first place.

Obviously, this is not the best solution for every situation, but for those that are, it is brilliant.


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