Small firms warned not to adopt the David Brent style of management

Staff anger at incompetence could lead to surge in legal cases. Fact.

UK managers have been warned to steer clear of David Brent-style incompetence or risk a flood of employment tribunals instigated by angry and frustrated staff.

Employment law specialists have identified Brent, played by Ricky Gervais in the hit BBC2 comedy The Office, as a prime example of why managers should be properly trained to ensure workers do not take them to court due to problems caused by their incompetence.

Russell Brown, employment law specialist at Glaisyers, said that in many cases The Office really is art imitating life.

“It’s the perfect parody of a manager who has read one too many textbooks on management technique and has no idea how to apply it in the workplace.

“Sweeping changes in employment legislation make it even more likely that the real life David Brents are caught out and personnel departments are looking more closely than ever at the behaviour of their managers.

“There are many recent surveys highlighting the need for the UK to do much better in developing managers and underline it as the UK’s number one skills issue.

“A good example is the spiralling problem of employee stress which is arguably all down to basic failures in management,” he said.

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As reported by, stress is costing British businesses a massive £1.24 billion a year through time taken off by staff.

Employers have been previously warned that they are not doing enough to combat workplace angst and are leaving themselves vulnerable to compensation claims by unhappy employees.

New research by the University of Central Lancashire found that many UK workplaces are simmering hotbeds of resentment and anger, with incompetent managers and untrustworthy colleagues the main causes of unrest.

Rudeness, stealing and arrogance were also cited as main reasons for employee anger, which the report claims is affecting productivity and leading to resignations or time taken off through stress.


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