The Apprentice Week 4 – Effective and ineffective leadership

So, this week one of the girls was finally fired from The Apprentice. We say goodbye to Felicity, but as usual there is a lot that would-be leaders can learn.

Interestingly, both PMs were appointed by Lord Sugar this week. Zoe was given the job of leading team Venture, and Felicity led team Logic. The choice of Zoe was particularly interesting as she survived the Boardroom last week with a plea to be given a chance to lead. Lord Sugar was happy to oblige.

There was also some movement of individuals between the teams. So, new dynamics and new challenges.

In the end, the success of this task came down to how effective each PM was as a leader. I am a big fan of the Action Centred Leadership model of leadership originated by John Adair (see earlier posts) which says success needs the Leader to get the balance right between the needs of the Task, the Team and the Individual. In this challenge, Zoe did better than Felicity.

In terms of Task, both teams were clear about what would win – selling beauty treatments rather than products – but one leader, Zoe, was far better at keeping her team focused on the strategy that had been agreed. Felicity got embroiled in the detail of the Task, when she would have been better looking in fom the outside. She displayed a lack of urgency when things were clearly going wrong, and abdicated rather than delegated to team members.  Her team, Logic, did not get the products they wanted as they showed less enthusiasm than Venture. They also chose a poor location in the shopping centre, with the treament room 3 floors away from the selling area. In the end they made a financial loss on the task,  and so lost the challenge.

Felicity also hid behind the Team. On the surface she had a very happy ship; supportive and together; until they lost the task, when it was everyone for themselves. In truth, Felicity probably put too much effort into being democratic. She came across as indecisive and unsure. This was most apparent when she couldn’t even decide who to bring into the Boardroom with her. However, perhaps her biggest mistake was to believe that somehow the team would support her in the Boardroom. Felicity chose to take no boys into the boardroom, despite the fact that they were already damaged from previous visits. This was another tactical error.

However, it is in misjudging individuals that ultimately Felicity came a cropper.   She took Natasha and Ellie into the Boardroom ( after much dithering) and saw them gang up on her. She looked completely lost, and couldn’t bring herself to fight her corner. The failure of leadership was seized upon by Lord Sugar and she was fired.

It is interesting that in an interview after the programme, Felicity did not seem to be bothered about losing. Perhaps this lack of drive or urgency was also crucial to her downfall?

Other highlights this week were Natasha’s sales pitch where she lied to a customer about her product, and Susan setting herself up as a  “skincare expert” and failing dismally. Had her team lost, surely she would have gone?

Jim’s  halo slipped just a bit this week, but no other candidate has emerged as better than him, so he is still my favourite to win.

I also find it amazing how certain people are almost completely absent or anonymous is each episode. Is this editing or a true reflection of their contribution?

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