I work in a functional team of 5 and we report to a manager, Anne. Anne also has about 6-7 other people who report to her doing something different but related. Our group's work is "downstream" and "dependent" on the work done by the 6-7 others.
Anne is our direct manager and deals with everything like work assignments, time off requests, performance feedback, etc.
One member of our group, Tom, seems to be Anne's "favourite" in some ways. Tom has been at the company longer but isn't necessarily more senior or has any more knowledge or ability than the rest of us. Tom often gets given the 'unusual' assignments, spends a lot of time in Anne's office, etc. I'm not sure how much of this is professional rather than personal as they have quite a "flirty" relationship and I think are friends outside of work. I have noticed some unprofessional behaviour between them a few times but decided to let it go (don't know what I could do about it actually!).
On paper Tom and the rest of us have the same job title, say Excel Sheet Analyst (not really important what it is, but it's office based work).
Nothing has been communicated to us about any changes, anything different that we should know about, etc.
Lately Tom has been acting as if he's senior to us and doing things like asking "what's the status of project P?", "when do you expect to complete that Excel sheet for Sarah?" etc. It's definitely with the demeanour of asking as a superior rather than just 'asking for information because it's a dependency for his work'. (We take on independent streams of work, so I would see an 'Excel sheet' through from start to finish for a particular project and wouldn't involve the other team members unless I was stuck on something and needed their help, which doesn't usually happen.)
The most recent development is that a framed certificate has appeared on the wall next to Tom's desk with a certificate in some kind of "team leading" or "supervision" course.
I don't know if he has taken this course through the company, or independently on his own. I did some quick googling and the course can be taken independently by anyone and doesn't need the support/endorsement of a company.
I don't know how to approach this situation, that's why I'm seeking help here :)
Explicit question then - how should I approach this situation?
Some approaches I considered, but I don't know if they are good or bad:
- do nothing particular. If Tom asks "what's the status of the excel sheet for Sarah" etc just give vague information like I would if he was just being curious, ignoring that he seems to be asking as if he's in an official capacity, like "oh, well you know how Sarah gets quite particular about the formatting so she sent it back a couple of times but I think it's nearly there finally - phew!"
- ask why he needs to know? (seems a bit hostile)
- take it to our manager (Anne) that Tom is acting as if he's our boss and can she have a word with him (but I don't think this will go well since as said above they are 'close' so she would take his side).
- take it up with HR (but I don't know what I would say)