The Apprentice 2011

In�last week�s analysis of The Apprentice (week 8), I highlighted three people and promised a short blog on each.

In the second of these, I want to look at Tom Pellereau�s inability to seize the leadership of a task that Lord Sugar had chosen him to lead, and consider the question:

What makes a leader?

Tom Pellereau

Tom Pellereau is not just smart – he’s very smart. �I’d want him on my team and, indeed, of all of the candidates, I’d pick him first and that would be my advice to the two finalists, if he is not one of them: if you get first pick, chose Tom first and then listen to his analysis of the task, and act on it. �Tom has an exceptional record of spotting the right question to ask or the right thing to do. �Often, he has been shouted down despite articulating not just the right idea, but an idea that could have changed the outcome in his team’s favour.

Tom Pellereau

Tom Pellereau - click image for Tom's LinkedIn page

Tom Pellereau is not just smart – he’s very smart. �I’d want him on my team and, indeed, of all of the candidates, I’d pick him first. �That would be my advice to the two finalists, if he is not one of them: if you get first pick, chose Tom �and then listen to his analysis of the task, and act on it. �Tom has an exceptional record of spotting the right question to ask or the right thing to do. �Often, he has been shouted down despite articulating not just the right idea, but an idea that could have changed the outcome in his team’s favour.

I would want Tom as an equity partner, sharing the running of my business: but will Lord Sugar? �He does not want a partner to share the running, he needs someone to take control, day-to-day. �Remember his comments about not wanting sleeping partners? �In this case, Tom looks high risk – can he lead a business with minimal input from Lord Sugar? �Can he assert himself when his instincts tell him he is right, and can he compel people to do what must be done? �Like researching a prospect before pitching to them – Melody simply ignored his absolutely correct request?

Leadership and Power

So called “natural” leaders can lead through force of their personality and character. �They have compelling personality – sometimes called charisma – that draws people in and seduces them into wanting to follow. �When this personal power is backed by deep integrity, intellectual substance, powerful ideals and fierce determination, you have a recipe for a great leader. �Pick your favourite example from Nelson or Alexander to Mandela or Kennedy. �I note that�Aung San Suu Kyi is to give the 2011 Reith Lectures.

By the way, Jim clearly does have this kind of charisma. �When
Lord Sugar gave him his reprieve, I think he was asking:
“do you
have�deep integrity, intellectual substance, powerful ideals and
fierce determination?” �We’ll see.

Other leaders need to learn leadership and this is where Tom is. �In his own businesses (Stylfile and Biomimetics), he clearly can assert himself and get results, so what is the difference. �I think there are two differences between Tom’s “real life” world and The Apprentice’s artificial world:

  1. Team members are not there to be led, they are there to win. �Melody is an extreme example, but you can only lead followers and if I determine absolutely that I will not follow, then only coercive, authoritarian leadership can drag me, kicking and screaming, behind you. �Tom is, happily, not that dictator-guy, so Melody rebelled and Tom lost.
  2. Tom has no “legitimate power” on The Apprentice. �That is, despite Lord Sugar choosing him to lead, he had no status above his team mates to bolster his confidence or give him sanctions to hand out.

The Will to Lead: The Conclusion about Tom

Nice guys struggle to seize power – they are too nice. �But Tom must show Lord Sugar he can assert himself, trust his good judgement and drive it home, and lead people. �I believe he can learn to do this; the open question is whether he can do so in the remaining weeks. If he can; he can win.

Brilliant Project Leader by Mike ClaytonMore on leadership in my�forthcoming book,
Brilliant Project Leader, to be published in
December by Pearson Education.

 

 

More Apprentice

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: