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Top 7 Tips for Talking With Your Team

By Kate Marsden

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Many business leaders think they know what their staff really think and feel about their business. But are you really sure you do? It can be really frustrating that even when you ask the question, often the answers you get are “screened” in some way. Use our tips to make sure you really connect to what your staff think.

  1. Talk directly - Don’t fall into the trap of asking your managers and expecting to hear the absolute honest truth. Sometimes you need to hear first-hand the passion, pain and perceptions of front line staff – and you will only get this if you are the one asking them the questions.

  2. Talk to them on their turf - If you ask a junior member of staff to come to your big office and give you their views, the chances are you will get a fraction of the truth. After all would you open up if you were nervous, uncomfortable and even slightly in awe. Better to approach people in their normal working environment and use that to spark some questions.

  3. Encourage creativity - If you want to hear the best ideas about your business, give an incentive to get them heard. Make sure you reward creativity and thinking differently, not just whether an idea will work or not. What you want is the culture that allows ideas and challenge – in that culture not every idea will be successful, but at least they are being raised.

  4. Open up yourself - If people think you think everything in the garden is rosy, that’s probably what they will tell you – even if it’s not true. Let people know that you think some things need to change and give examples – that way they are more likely to open up too. Or give your opinion first – “I think this is a problem because..... What do you think?”

  5. Use groups – and the difficult people - Every business has those people who say the things that everyone else is thinking. They are often kept away from senior people in case they say the wrong thing and get the manager into trouble. But if you really want to understand the troops they will at least be honest. Put them in a group of people and you will suddenly find that everyone else is prepared to speak out too.

  6. Never criticise - Never criticise someone’s opinion or view – either directly or to their manager later. By all means give them a different context or explain things – but they are still entitled to their opinion based on the information they have.

  7. Do it regularly - The feel of a business can change rapidly – within a few weeks external factors, a misunderstood decision or a change in the business can have a big impact. Talk to your staff on a regular basis so you know always what they are thinking and can adjust quickly if you need to.

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Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Kate_Marsden

Article Submitted On: April 10, 2012