The Apprentice E5: Are bad managers are preferred over good leaders?


…“That’s bad management”…

said Lord Sugar somewhat accusingly to Ricky Martin. But he wasnt ticking off the scintillating Latino singer in the picture below.

Español: Ricky Martin
Español: Ricky Martin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Instead the former government Tzar for Enterprise was criticising a candidate’s decision to haul Duane and Laura back into the boardroom to fend for their potentially fired selves. …”Then why did you keep Ricky Martin and get rid of Duane then Lord Sugar?”… Was my response to his move? And I was not alone in my disdain for Lord Sugar’s decision this week.

In fact, Personnel links to Nic Hammerling’s blog post on the strange events occurring in this week’s episode. Nic is the Head of Diversity at the globally respected Pearn Kandola consulting firm . She knows a thing or two about the psychology of management behaviour and offers that Lord Alan’s odd decision to fire Duane epitomizes the bad decision-making theme that dominated the show this week.

According to Nic, Duane was one of the few candidates showing real potential and that his ‘egocentricity and single-mindedness’ is a trait seen with the more successful leaders. I would also say Duane showed more internal locus of control than any others in the show. Sadly his other team mates read that wrongly and, I guess because they don’t have that level of insight or they put  a negative spin on Duane’s  aspirations as task leader, sought to sabotage his efforts and sulk while pretending to put a brave face on things.

In agreement with Nic of Pearn Kandola, I believe it is Ricky who should be criticised for not being present in the role of project manager. His lazy delegating of tasks without following up or evaluating team performance in the process is what we saw instead. Ricky might have hung the others out to dry in providing very little task or moral support.

Ricky seemed to use the project manager role as a platform to showcase his pitching talents, do doubt finely honed by his performance driven wresting hobby. I was surprised to see the feedback from Ricky’s pitching skills were strong enough to impress Karen and Nick so much so that they twisted Lord Allan’s arm and made him change his mind about who got fired (2nd time I’ve heard Karen or Nick being blamed for his decisions this series).

My contention is that if the program is about finding a good pitcher, then makers need to change the name to Dragons Den. But I fear viewers  have already grown tired of seeing the bad decision-making in that program’s format too.

Why do you think Lord Sugar is delegating his decision-making to Karen or Nick? What kind of results might we expect from this style of leadership in the long run?

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