January – Help Your Team Voice Their Concerns

I am finding it tough to get back into the groove following the holidays. I am still fighting a bad back which keeps me working on my dining table and I can’t get to my office, which is on the lower floor of my house. I am waiting for a surgery date. So to make things easy this month, I am just repeating this short email article from Harvard Business Review. This also gives me the opportunity to suggest, once again, that you subscribe to this weekly email from Harvard Business Review. It is free. I also suggest you subscribe to the monthly publication; but at least start with the free one.

“No one wants to upset the boss. That’s why it can be difficult to get candid opinions from your employees. But you need to encourage them to speak up if you want to know about minor issues before they become big problems. If some people are uncomfortable airing concerns in large group settings, initiate more casual one-on-one conversations. You should keep an open door policy, but don’t wait for people to come to you — go out and talk to them yourself. You can get people in the habit of speaking up by routinely asking if there are any issues you should be aware of. Offer regular financial updates so people will know what’s working and what’s not. If they feel that they have a stake in the success of the organization, they’ll be more willing speak up.”

Adapted from “How to Get Your Employees to Speak Up” by Rebecca Knight.

I see this problem over and over again in my management consulting. Also, when I was a planning director and just didn’t get it. Most of us think we know more about our employees than we do. That’s why we are increasingly recommending 360-degree evaluations for managers. They can be scary, but if you want to improve, this can help.

Best wishes for 2015,

the Management Doctor