206 brilliant manager
is key to checking the veracity of the complainant’s
allegations. In asking speciﬁc questions, you need to avoid
going into such detail that you might appear to be a voyeur.
You need to assure the complainant that your organisation
takes such complaints very seriously indeed and that you will
immediately seek advice from your personnel department,
and that you will read up on the company procedures to
ensure that the complaint is dealt with properly.
Ask the complainant if they want you to do anything
immediately: you need to check that they are able to cope
with the current situation for a few more days as you set the
wheels in motion.
I would suggest that you beware the following.
While expressing sympathy for the complainant’s distress
you must not give any indication that you accept that the
complaint is justiﬁed. You must remember that you owe it
to ‘B’ to accept that they are innocent until proved guilty (I
am talking in moral terms here rather than in purely legal
Do not show any signs of hostility.
Do not try to talk the complainant out of making their
complaint; neither must you be seen to be encouraging
them to make a formal complaint.
Try to avoid promising to do anything speciﬁc until you
have had the opportunity to talk to your personnel
Avoid all physical contact or anything that might in any way
be misinterpreted as inappropriate behaviour.
Unsurprisingly, the next step is to read the company procedures
and then alert your personnel staff and seek their advice. Let me
make it quite clear, you must do precisely what they say: any-
thing else leaves you personally exposed.
M11_PEEL3231_03_SE_C11.indd 206 20/09/2010 14:44