A reader writes:
Four of us share a gmail address at our small nonprofit. We all work remotely and meet face to face once a month. We label individual mail by name with the gmail folder system. The director encourages staff to read each other's gmail.
The rationale for this system is that as we work remotely it allows us to keep abreast of each other's business. As you may have surmised, the director is the only one who reads all emails and comments not only on pending work, but timeliness, and content of employee correspondence.
The staff would prefer individual email, but are unable to get around this impasse.
This is the one of the weirder practices I've ever heard of. Really?
Your manager is all of the following: a control freak, an ass, a snoop, and a bad manager.
And he needs to learn more appropriate ways of overseeing work so that he doesn't have to rummage around in people's email. I would bet a substantial amount of money that this isn't the only way in which he's managing poorly; you don't do something like this if you're managing effectively in other areas.
Of course, it's often very difficult to deal with an ass when he's in charge of you. I suggest that you and your coworkers talk to him as a group and tell him that the current system is inefficient for all of you and that you're going to set up individual email accounts like the rest of the world.
There are plenty of other ways for you to "stay abreast of each other's work." Set up some shared Google documents or something. You can't work effectively when someone is micromanaging every aspect of your communications with others.
Now, will he go for it? Maybe not. But your best bet is to approach him as a group and frame it as something that's impeding your effectiveness and efficiency.
Screw this guy though. I hate him, just from your seven sentences.