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Need candid answers? Try small forums

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

When you’re looking for honest answers about the goings-on in your workplace, one winning strategy is to pose questions to employees gathered in small groups.

Not only will the group setting create an open forum for discussion, but the relative anonymity of a group response frees people to raise issues.

Lee Cockerell, former executive vice president of the Walt Disney World resort, asked questions in small groups during his first month on the job to learn about the different departments and find his footing. He wanted to discover ways to help employees do their jobs better, and after he received suggestions, he took action.

“Because the managers saw me respond quickly to everyone’s request, they knew I didn’t play favorites,” Cockerell says, “and they kept on letting me know what they needed to get their jobs done.”

Be sure to keep your group sizes small—10 to 12 people—so that everyone has a chance to voice an opinion. And remember to follow through on requests, so you don’t appear to be wasting employees’ time.

— Adapted from Creating Magic, Lee Cockerell, Doubleday.

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