'Ego mail': Growing number of men CC'ing bosses into emails to get ahead at work

It could be harming women's chances of promotion

The world of work is often a brutal one and some people will stop at nothing to get ahead.

But there’s a new trick that the most ruthless employees are using in a bid to impress their bosses - it’s called ‘ego mail.’

This entails sending an email that will show up one of your colleagues and copying in your manager.

Essentially, it’s flagging to your boss that someone else has done something wrong or bad.

Or, sometimes it’s the sender showing off.

According to preliminary findings from a study by a Cambridge professor, ego mail is becoming more and more common.

The research by Professor David De Cremer, of Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, concluded that employees who regularly CC their bosses into emails often do so to unsettle their co-workers.

De Cremer found that if you CC management into an email with colleagues, those colleagues get the impression you trust them less.

The researchers concluded that: “when your co-workers copy your supervisor very often, they may be doing so strategically, as they consciously know what the effect will be on you.”

And perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s most common among men - ego males, if you will.

Professor Tom Jackson of Loughborough University believes men who “have no shame” are most likely to send ego mail,” the Mail Online reports.

“Anecdotally from our research I would say that males are much more focused on doing this. Females might know how to do it but maybe stop short of actually doing it,” Jackson says.

“Males have no shame - they just go ahead and do it,” he added, whereas women are less likely to engage in such underhand tactics.

No one likes being CC’ed unnecessarily and thus receive a barrage of emails they have no need to read, so employees who send ego mail run the risk of rubbing their bosses up the wrong way.

Despite this, Jackson believes the method may be effective as managers tend to remember their pushier employees when promoting staff members.

This could be another reason women are promoted less than men, purely because they’re less prone to showing off or throwing colleagues under the bus.

What’s more, the rise of ego mail could be a sign of an unhealthy working environment, where employees feel insecure in their jobs, according to David D’Souza, of human resources organisation the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development:

“It’s very important for organisations to make their decisions based on competence, not levels of self-promotion.”

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