White Paper
Basic Guidelines for Handling Complaints

Basic Guidelines for Handling Complaints

Handling complaints is a part of every administrator’s job, yet few are fully prepared to meet the challenge with calm authority and consistent approach. Learn how to handle complaints effectively.

As an administrator, how effectively do you handle complaints? 

Do you know when to simply lend an ear and when to move into problem-solving mode? 

Do you know when to grant a request for confidentiality and when to get others involved? 

What do you do when you are threatened with a lawsuit?

Handling complaints is a challenging skill, but it is one that can be learned. 

The most successful administrators:

  • Understand their own conflict style
  • Have practiced the words they will use in a difficult situation to help set the tone and handle the emotion. 
  • They understand their role as protectors of the institution, and they know how to discharge their duties with minimal wear on their own psyches.

This Magna White Paper, Basic Guidelines for Handling Complaints, by well known columnist and academic administrator C. K. (Tina) Gunsalus, explains what administrators can do to handle complaints effectively.

In this exclusive Magna White Paper, you will learn:

  • The basic principles you can use to handle complaints
  • How to identify and use your own conflict-management style
  • How to set the tone when handling a conflict
  • How to know and protect your own hot buttons
  • The steps to follow when confronted with a complaint
  • How to set boundaries
  • How to choose your words carefully and intentionally
  • Ten guidelines for handling complaints to keep you focused on your role as the administrator while serving the institution and the complainant
  • How to interpret what the complainant is saying to you
  • How to create documentation that will protect you and the institution later
  • How changing “but” to “and” in many sentences will help defuse tension
  • How to use the “Four Rs” approach to handling complaints
  • How to recognize challenges to your neutrality and authority and respond effectively

This report includes a number of case studies to take you through the complaint-handling process and sample language you can adapt and use so you are ready to respond.  It also includes practice exercises to help you hone your complaint-handling skills.

This white paper is written for anyone involved with handling complaints at the administrative level, including:

  • Presidents
  • Provosts and vice presidents
  • Academic deans
  • Department chairs
  • Student affairs professionals

This report will help you develop your conflict management skills to better handle complaints while protecting the interests of the institution and your own peace of mind.

Handling complaints is a part of every administrator’s job, yet few are fully prepared to meet the challenge with calm authority and consistent approach.  Basic Guidelines for Handling Complaints will show you how. 

Product Code: OD10AA  OW10AA

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