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I work in the United States. I work in the loan servicing department at a bank. I split duties between mortgage servicing and consumer loan servicing.

There is a mortgage supervisor who is my direct supervisor and there is a consumer loan supervisor who just started about a month ago. The consumer loan supervisor is slowly learning her duties.

For a particular task that I do for consumer loan servicing, I receive an email from the accounting department. When these emails come in, the consumer loan servicing supervisor is copied on the email. It has been like this in the past.

I noticed that the new consumer loan supervisor was not being copied on an email that came in today. So I replied to the accounting department and asked if the new consumer loan supervisor could be added to the email routing list. I copied the consumer loan supervisor on this email. I thought I was being helpful in this instance in getting her added so she would know about this task. I did it to put her in the know.

She replies to my email and she copies my supervisor and the manager of the whole department. She asks me what is her role with this task and if I can show her and what are available times we can meet to go over it.

I don't understand why she copied my supervisor and the manager of the department? It just rubbed me the wrong way like what I did was somehow wrong and taking liberties I should not have and she wants everyone to know.

Am I reading this situation wrong?

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    She may have copied your boss because she thought there was a possibility that you would have to spend some time on training her in whatever she is supposed to be doing with this new information, to make sure that your boss would be OK with you spending that time on her.
    – brhans
    Mar 31, 2023 at 7:04
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    I never thought of that. That's a possibility. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. Mar 31, 2023 at 7:21
  • The prior supervisor was a back up person to the task if I or other employees were not available. That's why the prior supervisor was copied. But you make a good point. I should have asked or informed her first. I jumped the gun Mar 31, 2023 at 15:46
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    Now I see how I caused the confusion. I just did this with no explanation to her. In my mind when I was doing it I was just thinking that she she needs an FYI on this. But I didn't look at it from her perspective. I did end up replying to her email and copying my supervisor and the manager and explaining how the prior person was on the email routing list and the email was intended to give her an FYI about the task. I also said I would be happy to show her what to do. Then when I saw her the next day, I reiterated the same thing. I was good. I did not show any animosity toward her. Apr 1, 2023 at 18:40

5 Answers 5

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A general remark: if you feel challenged because your bosses get a glimpse of your work, by seeing your emails or other communication, that is on you. They are your bosses, it's their right to know what you do. Be more confident in your work.

Nothing in her reply can be read as unfriendly. She is new, she asked you what she needs to do with this new information.

You just reply as you maybe had replied had she put less people in CC: "Hello, you don't need to actively do anything, your predecessor always got these mails so they would be up to date with what I did, I thought it might be useful for you, too."

If the bosses are interested, you will make a good impression. If not, it was her fault for dragging the higher ups into this chain about grunt work.

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    Well, as I said, that feeling is a you problem. She cannot do anything about it. If you treat additional visibility to the higher ups as an attack, you will need to work on it. Only the bosses can decide whether it was okay to loop them in.
    – nvoigt
    Mar 31, 2023 at 5:52
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    Ok. I'll think on it more. Thank you for the feedback. Mar 31, 2023 at 6:05
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    That is definitely a question of culture and I disagree with this answer. Adding a recipients manager into a conversion that was not previously including them and where the manager has nothing to contribute directly around here is considered an escalation . Mar 31, 2023 at 10:18
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    What it means: The new person didn’t know about these loan messages, is grateful that she was told, showed her boss the good news and the boss is also now aware that someone will show her what she’ll have to do with these messages. All around very positive.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 31, 2023 at 15:14
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    "if you feel challenged because your bosses get a glimpse of your work, by seeing your emails or other communication, that is on you." So much this. Me, my peers and my supervisor get copied into mails for the strangest reasons. We also have, next to our own mail, a shared inbox for the entire team that's used. We copy each other into mails for varying reasons too. Because we're working on similar issues, remember the other has experience with it (or was simply asking about it), because their input is expected as well or one of us is going on leave shortly. Never as an attack.
    – Mast
    Apr 1, 2023 at 11:55
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YES, you are reading the situation wrong.

If you carbon-copied her just for her information, you should probably have said so in the note. Since you didn't, she very reasonably asked what, if anything, she needed to do to help make this happen.

She wasn't criticizing you. You are reacting inappropriately.

The appropriate response would be "Thanks for asking. There's nothing you need to do; I'm just letting you know that I'm trying to fix this."

See also Is it rude to reply to an email where I'm not being addressed but was CC'd?

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  • Ok. Thanks. You are right. I guess I did not explain to her why I was requesting she be added. But couldn't she have just asked me that one on one? What does copying my supervisor and the department manager of the department achieve for her? I took it as she thinks I'm trying to tell her what to do and I am not her manager. Mar 31, 2023 at 5:39
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    @DiligentWorker25, Do you think you can stop by her office and give her a brief and friendly explanation that you were only trying to help her ? A quick chat like that may resolve any misunderstanding and build good work relationship. Mar 31, 2023 at 5:49
  • Yes. I can do that, but to be honest I feel a bit frosty toward her now. I don't know what angle she is working. I feel like I should have just left it alone and not gotten involved. Mar 31, 2023 at 5:52
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    @DiligentWorker25 Not everybody is "working an angle" (implying malicious intent on their part) all the time. Especially not people who just started at a company and haven't gotten used to "the way it's done" yet. Maybe she never managed people before. Maybe she was used to letting her team members do their jobs in peace without being CC'ed on every little task they did.
    – arne
    Mar 31, 2023 at 9:29
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    Agree. assume positive intent for now, i.e., a new employee is trying to proactively and efficiently clarify her roles/responsibilities with a single email. If it becomes a pattern, watch your back, but be gracious regardless of that.
    – ScrappyDoo
    Mar 31, 2023 at 17:31
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I don't understand why she copied my supervisor and the manager of the department?

Two very good reasons

Firstly she is not in your direct chain so has no business contacting you or conversing without including those who are. Both her superior and yours.

Secondly because it's the finance industry where it is de rigeur to leave a paper trail and be transparent with all dealings however minor that are not your direct responsibility (even many that are).

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You are reading this wrong. She is just being polite and proactive.

She copied your boss so that your boss will know that she will be stealing some of your time to be trained by you.

It also sounds like that she was not informed that she is supposed to be a back-up on this task, and it is possible that you might need to train her how to perform consumer loan servicing so that she can actually be your backup.

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She replies to my email and she copies my supervisor and the manager of the whole department. She asks me what is her role with this task and if I can show her and what are available times we can meet to go over it.

I think the most likely reason is that she thinks that there might be something she has to do when receiving these emails from the accounting department. Maybe it's something you know about, maybe the other supervisor knows about it, or maybe the department head knows about it. It is quite plausible that you would know the answer since you are directly involved in the task and can explain it to her. But it's also possible that she needs to do something else when she gets that information and only the other supervisor or the department manager knows what that is. She could have sent three separate emails, but maybe all three of you know the answer and only one of you has to reply and let her know.

Try looking at it from her perspective. What if you received an email from her to some other department asking to add you to a distribution list that you didn't care about. Would you want to know why you had to read those emails if there really wasn't anything for you to do?

It just rubbed me the wrong way like what I did was somehow wrong and taking liberties I should not have and she wants everyone to know.

I think you did something slightly wrong, but I don't think her replies and questions should be read as if calling you out. It would have been better for you to have forwarded the email to her and explained that the old supervisor liked to be included on the distribution list and you don't know why, but assume it was just to keep tabs on what is going on. Maybe it was an oversight that she wasn't added. Maybe the old supervisor was just a micro-manager and the new supervisor doesn't need to be on the list. Asking for her to be added without asking her first is somewhat rude. It would have been easy for her to forward your email and ask to be put on the list if she wanted that to happen.

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    Now I see how I caused the confusion. I just did this with no explanation to her. In my mind when I was doing it I was just thinking that she she needs an FYI on this. But I didn't look at it from her perspective. I did end up replying to her email and copying my supervisor and the manager and explaining how the prior person was on the email routing list and the email was intended to give her an FYI about the task. I also said I would be happy to show her what to do. Then when I saw her the next day, I reiterated the same thing. I was good. I did not show any animosity toward her. Apr 1, 2023 at 18:39

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