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Working It

What can I do when my employees are afraid to speak up?

Season 2, Ep. 57

US aircraft maker Boeing has faced major scrutiny over its safety standards in recent years, after accidents – some catastrophic – involving its jets. But even after fatal incidents, and the recent mid-flight blowout of a door panel on one of its planes, its employees are reluctant to speak out about safety issues, according to a report released in February by the Federal Aviation Administration. How can managers and leaders better encourage employees to speak up when they notice a problem? What can they do to make sure those who raise issues will be lauded, not criticised? And is it really worth employees’ while to take the risk of dissenting? Isabel Berwick speaks to FT contributing editor and executive coach Michael Skapinker, as well as Margaret Heffernan, a former chief executive of various companies and author of books including Wilful Blindness, about why people are reluctant to raise concerns, even when they know they should.


Want more? Free links:

The perils of speaking up at work too often deter staff from voicing concerns

US aviation regulator launches formal probe into Boeing’s mid-air blowout

The whistleblowing lessons from the CBI scandal

Japan needs stronger whistleblower protections


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Presented by Isabel Berwick, produced by Mischa Frankl-Duval, mixed by Simon Panayi. The executive producer is Manuela Saragosa. Cheryl Brumley is the FT’s head of audio.


Read a transcript of this episode on FT.com

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