Skip to main content

When inappropriate behaviour loses you key people

Return to Blog

Oliver Dowden’s resignation is a headline reminder that when inappropriate behaviour isn’t tackled effectively the fallout can be far reaching.

It is shocking and wholly unacceptable that it was sexual misconduct that triggered the recent byelections and highlights what happens if senior leaders in an organisation are not willing or able to reflect on their own behaviour and self regulate; victims suffer, witnesses and the wider circle the person interacts with are impacted – and previously loyal people such as Dowden feel so compromised, they resign.

It is hard to move in the business world without tripping over corporate declarations that “people are our most important asset” and Value statements such as “we act with integrity”

Yet inappropriate behaviour – often at very senior levels – is rife.

We worked with an organisation recently who had had an incident at their “Spring party” – a senior manager’s behaviour had crossed the line with a more junior team member. It was handled well through all the right processes internally – and could have been left there.

But the MD realised that understanding the impact we all have on each other was something that everyone needed to be more aware of…. including the Directors.

We worked with groups across the company to help bring clarity to what is Ok and what isn’t – especially in the context of “work social settings” where lines can be easily blurred by alcohol and an encouragement to socialise. Helping everyone understand that we all have a responsibility to think about our own behaviour and how it impacts others was key. And to build confidence to say something when another’s behaviour makes you or others feel uncomfortable.

If the MD had not led this approach, the Spring party incident would have been dealt with and filed away. But many in the team who were aware of it could have been left feeling shaken, uncertain about future behaviour and uneasy about various relationships. And this inevitably then affects motivation, communication and retention

The work was carefully positioned so it didn’t overtly link to the incident, but it allowed everyone to have a voice in shaping the workplace culture. And sent such a powerful message that our behaviour and how we all interact with each other should be at the core of any business.

To find out more about how we can help you prevent inappropriate behaviour at every level in an organisation contact us for a confidential discussion on 01903 732 782, email us at or contact us.

And to see how we have worked with other organisations to put appropriate respectful behaviour at the heart of their culture see our case studies.