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"Leaders need to recognise it is impossible to keep a lid on employee opinion. To avoid embarrassing public challenges, companies need to create trust and transparency." 


Should companies rebuke employees for public criticism?

Jonathon Hogg
Financial Times
22 September 2010


Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary recently said he would lobby aviation authorities for permission to use only one pilot a flight. In response, one of the company’s pilots proposed in a letter to the Financial Times that Ryanair replace its CEO with a ‘probationary cabin crew member’ to save money. The company took the public needling in its stride, but should it have responded more forcefully?


The consultant: Jonathon Hogg

E-mail, text, Twitter and the internet make it tempting, and easy, to express an opinion, pass judgment and critique your employer in public. Everyone will have felt the urge to have their say when the boss has done something silly. Leaders need to recognise it is impossible – and undesirable – to keep a lid on employee opinion.

To avoid painful and embarrassing public challenges such as this, companies need to create trust and transparency inside their businesses. Leaders should share their thoughts with staff, solicit intelligent questions, encourage debate and dialogue and, hardest of all, learn to tolerate dissent. That will go some way towards reducing the temptation of using the letters page to tell the boss what you think.

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