Angry men like Jeremy Clarkson are no longer welcome in today’s workplace, or so it appears. As Amelia McGuinness observes, “no matter how much the public loves you, the myth of the brilliant, troubled artist or the hot-blooded yet dedicated CEO isn’t selling anymore.”
The recent fracas involving the former Top Gear host, during which he allegedly punched a producer in the face over not getting his steak and chips, is a recent incident “where people in powerful positions have allowed their emotions to overcome them.”
A producer was allegedly attacked after Clarkson, who had allegedly been drinking, arrived late to dinner after a day’s filming to be told he couldn’t have the steak and chips meal he was expecting. He erupted after being offered a cold meat or cheese platter instead.
On Wednesday, the BBC said it would not renew the high earning presenter’s contract. Police are also looking into the matter.
BBC Chairman Lord Hall of Birkenhead said that “a line had been crossed” when Clarkson allegedly abused the producer verbally for 20 minutes and threatened to have him sacked before launching the 30-second long physical assault.
Clarkson is not the first to be publicly condemned for this type of behaviour. Just last week, a leading mining service company managing director was forced to resign after an aggressive outburst.
The managing director was praised for his confrontational style to begin with, as a way of forcing internal cultural change, but stories of his behaviour began to emerge publicly, affecting the image of the company.
The behaviour of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd swearing and banging the table in frustration is another case in point. He was eventually overthrown by his colleagues and, upon his return to the Prime Ministership, voted out by the Australian people.
As McGuinness observes, “anger was once seen as an advantage to people in the workplace, where someone with a hot fuse was portrayed as passionate, or motivated about their work.”
“Aside from the fact that anger is bad for your health, as demonstrated recently in a European Heart Journal study by the Harvard School of Public Health that showed how angry episodes can lead to heart attacks and strokes, being the angry guy is unproductive and uncommunicative.
Bullying behaviour can cost a company dearly in terms of time, money and reputation, with civil and sometimes criminal penalties applying.
iHR believes it essential to build a culture that prevents bullying, as well as having machinery in place to deal with it promptly if and when it arises. An EEO, bullying and harassment Contact Officer is an essential part of this machinery. iHR offers Contact Officer Training where participants will recognise the importance of the Contact Officer role and develop an understanding of the role’s responsibilities, particularly when dealing with allegations of bullying and discrimination.