The Apprentice Ep 4 A Tale of Two Styles

Street logo sign of Brick Lane in English and ...
Street logo sign of Brick Lane in English and Bengali, in London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Brick Lane

The Apprentice was right up my street this week. Not only did it combine my love of interiors and up-cycling it also showcased the old cinema in my locale, leafy Chiswick, a place I often visit for browsing and furniture design inspiration.

I also especially liked the episode because the right person got fired. Indeed, Karen Brady noted Jane’s ‘aggressive sales tactics’ on the trendy people in Brick Lane. In fact my first post this series  noted the girls’ team displaying a bullying selling style, which had to be assertively fought off by a Primrose Hill retailer reinforced by short shrift from her husband. Lord Sugar highlighted that Jane had to go because she hadn’t demonstrated good business acumen to him despite looking amazing on paper. All style and no substance I guess.

Another thing I liked about the apprentice this week was what Lord Sugar said was his underlying rationale for firing Jane and not Gabrielle or the other one. He said he felt that Gabrielle could be being singled out and I think that showed his good leadership, by doing the right thing and attending to the inevitable deeper side of group processes see older post. For me, Lord Sugar’s refusing to collude with the dark side of groupthink and being mindful of what is not being said in the mayhem of finger-pointing and blame gaming is demonstrating great instinct and leadership skills.  The nurturing mindful business person is what current leadership and management researchers say is important that we see more of. Well done BBC and Lord Sugar for showcasing and role modelling of that skill.

I’m encouraged as the episode this week makes me believe we are moving away from the ‘bad man businessman’ stereotype in TV programming. The bad man rhetoric has been dominant in our popular culture and research shows it deters creative people, innovators and other sensitive souls from being involved with the business world. Viewers that noted Lord Sugar’s demonstration of a caring entrepreneurial style might feel encouraged to be more proactively involved in business. Indeed Gabrielle’s creative tendencies and feminine business style might be what others have most affinity with. It is opposite to what we saw this week in the desperate bullying behaviors that was seen in the style of this week’s looser.