Have you ever wondered what sort of a boss you make? Are you controlling or liberal? Do you give your team enough space to breathe and exercise their mind or do you love being in control with reign in hands and tasks set for all? How is your virtual or over-the-email behavior? Prefer being marked on emails even though it makes no sense for you to be a part of the thread? If yes, you might want to introspect and rethink your leadership style. You might be stifling talent from blooming thanks to your attitude towards your colleagues and the castle of self-importance built on fragile ego you love to stay in.
For a lot of us who get marked in emails we have no business with, it’s as if we are staring into space knowing not what to do. In fact, we often feel if there’s anything we can do to actually cut the load being dumped onto us. Sometimes we also do get curious and want to know if all’s well in your team because often these emails are a sign of mistrust breeding within the team. Of course, you may say that you only want to keep us updated or give us an opportunity to barge in the conversation and contribute, but is that the only, right way of doing so? Think about it.
While the above concerns the receiving end, we got around talking with people to find out their take on the cc culture. A.R.Sundarajan, a freelancer says, “If the manager is habituated to checking emails on the go using his smartphone it is going to be nearly impossible to convince him not to; it is equally difficult if he is desk-bound and at it all the time; for such people the only pleasing/welcome deviation comes from checking emails time and again and gleefully submerge themselves under the barrage of information exchanged, to use them later for politicking and talking shop. But it is about leveraging or steering the conversation to how you feel about it when you explain about your reservations. But then an honest question, if it is official mail since it is official mail, what's the loss? Toss one at him via cc and forget it; what's the big deal?” He sure makes a valid point of avoiding drama and forgetting about it.
Naveen Malhotra, Head of Marketing and Business Development at SapieoSoft says “If it is relevant to create coordination then keeping him/her in the loop is fine. What is important is the intent and setting up right expectations on both sides.”
Now, while even if one agrees to cc and forget, a behavior which is forced onto a subordinate will yield an unfortunate response. He/she may feel less trusted by the boss resulting in anxiety and result in a growing resentment against a ‘cc culture’ which inhibits growth and keeps employees from tasting independence. Mitali Bose, Brand Manager at Work Better Training & Development admits, “I quite like working on my own. If I have to work under a supervisor who thinks they must know all or be marked even on ‘thank you’ emails then I will not think twice before addressing my growing concerns. I want to feel trusted for my potential and capabilities. I want to be heard when the water is going over my head or when I’m losing the grip from on the ground; not when I have to relay a few inconsequential documents or words on emails.”
This brings us to another facet of this cc culture that almost, always goes unnoticed, but stands highlighted in a series of studies conducted by David De Cremer, KPMG professor of management studies at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and a set of collaborators. They researched about the impact of receiving emails where colleagues mark supervisors. Now, even though bosses might be marked in good faith (who can vouch?), the receiver (according to the studies) feel less trusted. Similar result of studies conducted both in Western culture and China reveal that copying bosses don't quite promote positive work environment. “I would have to agree that cc-ing does affect the relationship with colleagues. They might even share the best equation, but once a name pops in CC, it might just turn tables and make the recopied sense a breach of trust. It sounds melodramatic, but I’ve seen this happen!”
We began posing a few direct questions and considering you have come this far in this piece, let’s just tell you that it is time to step away. Learn to recognize the effect of your behavior, insecurities, and micromanagement. You might believe you should be abreast of everything going on in your team and rightfully so, but you must also know how much and to what extent your intervention in the day-to-day work must be. You are not a superhuman who can set eyes and ears on everything, especially via emails. Take a time-out and learn to step in when you are needed. Routine tasks can happen without your intervention and if not, you should trust your team to apprise you and seek your aid. Remember that your controlling nature might affect the talent pool and you might even lose your top performers for who knows they are done with your leadership style?