I've recently had a change of supervisor in my office job. Early on, he asked if I could CC him in on every email I send so he could get a feel for what gets sent to whom and how. It seemed like a reasonable request and I obliged.

However, it's now four months later and he still wants to be included. This wouldn't necessarily be an issue, except he often comes to me with questions about progress on things he's already been CC'd in on. It's frustrating to have to keep explaining things like "As I said in the email yesterday, I'm waiting on x" or "Actually, B2 is working on that task, not me." These sorts of questions are almost a daily occurrence.

Not only does it seem like CC'ing him is useless, I believe it might actually be confusing him since he has all his staff (4 of us) do the same thing. And we send quite a lot of emails. Perhaps he simply ends up with far too many emails to read and monitor.

How can I address this with him without obviously criticising his approach to work?

  • 5
    This is the wrong problem you're trying to solve. The real problem is different.
    – cst1992
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 6:52
  • This is called "keeping a paper trail". If for some reason shit hits the fan, he can search the e-mails to find exactly what happened. It's a bit uncommon practice but not exactly a bad one in any way.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 13:53

7 Answers 7


He wants your emails available but does not necessarily read all of them. Do not hold him accountable for being familiar with the content of these emails. That's all.

I do find this practice to be odd, but you do not actually have a problem right now.

  • 6
    I think the OP has the problem that they have no idea what the boss knows and doesn't know and consequently what he needs to be told about explicitely - and how, since there seems to be a lot of noise on his email channel. Patricia's solution might address that problem. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 12:29

You, and your colleagues, might suggest to him the use of two e-mail addresses:

  1. The address to send routine copies that you don't necessarily need him to read. You do not count on him knowing the contents of these e-mails.
  2. The address to send e-mails that you advise him to read. These are the e-mails you would have sent to him anyway.

That way, he can both keep a general eye on things, but also have a manageable mailbox of e-mails that contain information you think he needs to know, such as that a project is delayed waiting for x.

  • if it's gmail-based something like "[email protected]" works.
    – user42272
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 21:49

Ask him if he'd like a daily report instead. It may be that he's asking to be CC'ed on these emails for reasons other than an intention to read them.


This is reasonably common. The logic usually is to have a paper trail of all correspondence to reference if there is a need. Not to read all the actual emails or any of them for that matter until there is a reason.

Many bosses do this without even letting staff know by having an auto-forward set on the mail before it even reaches staff. Financial companies in particular find this a very useful thing to have.

  • 1
    Many bosses do this without even letting staff know by having an auto-forward set on the mail before it even reaches staff - this will depend on the country. It would be illegal in France and Germany for instance.
    – WoJ
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 10:58

He's not efficiently managing his own time or attention, but that's not your problem. Just CC and be done with it. Then feel smug (repeatedly) when he comes to you asking about something you technically informed him about ages ago.

Or perhaps bring it up with him like "are you sure you still want me to CC you in to all these emails? You must have information overload right now, would you like me to be less selective with further emails so you can reclaim your inbox?", perhaps he's overwhelmed but slightly embarrassed to admit it!


It seems you have a XY problem here. The real problem is that your boss doesn't(or cannot realistically) stay upto date on all of your work. Attacking the superficial problem(i.e. the approach of CC'ing him) is not going to solve the base problem.

Rather, leave the email approach as is, and create a report of the work to be shown on-site nonetheless. If that starts to help, you can request to have the CC'ing removed.


You shouldn't have to do this.

Well, I mean, yes, you should do what your boss tells you to. But tell this supervisor that the request is not good, and therefore he should retract the request.

The reason the request is not good is because it takes your time and effort. One professional should take the time once to have such carbon copies be made automatically (invisibly, behind the scenes), and then you won't need to do that.

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