I recently found out multiple times from fellow first line managers in my department that they had received official e-mails which I hadn't.

While I started feeling that was weird/fishy, the department director asked me about or referred to content from those e-mails when talking to me directly various times. On one such occasion I had to organize a major follow up. In all these cases, I had to read the e-mail on my colleagues' screen...

I want to give the benefit of the doubt that this was nothing harmful, especially because I otherwise have a good relationship with the director (he usually always compliments me on work) and have developed some seniority at the company over the years... but still I want to find out why this happened, whether intentional, and how I can get back on the mailing list - especially if I have to follow up on items from those e-mails!

  • 3
    Are the emails your missing all from one person or from many people? It's possible someone just forgot to update their mailing list.
    – Styphon
    Jun 11, 2014 at 6:14

3 Answers 3


The tactful way would be to see if one of your co-workers on the email can forward it to you. They could forward it with no comment or something like "It looks like you might not have seen this yet."

Once you have a copy of the email you can reply to the original recipients and start off with something like "I wasn't on the original list of recipients, is there a new list I should request to join?"

This gives the benefit of the doubt that you are looking for and doesn't point the finger at any one in particular. It could be something just as someone typo'ing your name when they were supposed to add it to the list.

If you are not able to get a forwarded copy of the mail, you can go straight to the source, and email your director, something like "Person mentioned you had asked for a reply from me in an email. I didn't get the original email, can you send me a copy so I can provide a complete reply?"


Are these emails going to a mailing list? If so, put in a request to whoever manages mailing lists in your organization to be added to the list.

Or is some human entering a bunch of email addresses and just forgetting you? If so, tell them that there's a problem. Particularly if they have configured an alias in their personal address book that goes to "everyone", they are unlikely to notice that they've omitted you.

When you find out that you need to follow up on an email that you never received, it's always reasonable to follow up with whoever sent the email to let them know that you were left out of the distribution. If the sender doesn't know that there is a problem, they can't do anything to fix it or to prevent it from happening again in the future.

  • If these e-mails are intended to go to everyone in a particular group, they absolutely should be sent to a named mailing list or alias set up for that purpose. It's that group's manager's responsibility to arrange for that to be set up. Having each individual keep track of who's in a group is a recipe for communication failures. Jun 13, 2014 at 19:20

You have to react.

  1. If the e-mails come from a mail list, contact the otganizer and have the organizer make you a member of the mail list

  2. If the e-mails you have received come from specific individuals, contact these individuals, tell them that you have been a first-line manager with the company for x years and request that they cc: you in future emails because it's not cool that you're being requested to take action on the basis of e-mails that you were never cc:'ed on.

I am fairly sure the problem is going to recur, as it takes a while for people to get into the habit of cc:'eing you, so simply request whoever is asking for your intervention to forward you all relevant emails. Hoipefully, you've inconvenienced enough people that they start cc:'eing you.

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