Leadership Lessons From Celebrity Apprentice


I don’t know if any of you watch any of the Apprentice series with Donald Trump. The last season was the Celebrity Apprentice (you can watch for free on Hulu.com). There are so many lessons to be learned. In fact, I would even recommend watching at a staff meeting and have an open discussion on management, leadership, objectives and moral builders. Lessons I learned from Celebrity Apprentice this season.

1.) I cannot believe how much Donald Trump pimps himself. He is always the best, his ‘products’ are always the best and he never misses an opportunity to Promote him (the brand) and his products. I also cannot believe how much he sucked up to the celebrities, but since at the time he was going to run for president, I guess you have to suck up to people with money, fill the war chests! What I learned, you should promote yourself as much as possible in a humble way, constantly telling everybody how great you are is annoying and a real turn-off.

2.) The Tasks- I think I am most impressed with the task outline. The objectives are very straight forward and the criteria is laid out. Each team appoints a leader who is supposed to make sure that everyone can do their job.

  • What the Objective is
  • Time frame to fins
  • How they are judged
  • Gives the tools and lets them go at it.

What I learned- you don ‘t need a 20 page printout of what to do. Here is the objective and these are the results needed. Watch time-lines and working as a cohesive group sparks creativity and results

3.) Delegation- It is interesting to watch and criticize how each of the team leaders delegates. Many lessons to be learned. You can certainly learn what to do or what not to do to be a good team leader. NeNe blows up at Star Jones, disappears to get her act together,  comes back in the room and acts like it’s business as usual. The teammates are looking at her like she is from Mars. Lesson re-learned; Lead by example

4.) Handling Stress and Conflict- The calmest people seem to win, which tells me the more unemotional in times of stress the person is, the better job they will do. I think Meatloaf lost due to his propensity to cry. The last 2 were Marlee Matlin and John Rich (winner) Both were amazingly calm in very tense moments. Lesson learned: Have your break-downs in private.

5.) Never Prejudge- When I saw Lil John in dreads, rap clothes, gold teeth and sunglasses- I thought Right! Lil John, probably impressed me the most of all the celebrities, he was creative, intuitively knowing what the trends were, what people wanted to hear and took risks. He was calm, funny, humble and very smart. I really liked the fact that both he and John Rich were doing an ad campaign for a high end Trump Hotel (another plug for Trump) both freely admitted they didn’t stay in those types of hotels and had no idea on how to market a rich hotel. (They won the task) Lesson learned: Learn about the product even if it is out of your comfort zone (it’s not about you) take a few risks.

6.) Different people together create better- Take the men: John Rich (country music star) Lil John (Rapper) Gary Busey (brain-damaged actor) David Cassidy (child star) Mark McGrath (singer) Meatloaf, worked incredibly well together until Gary Busey went out on a wild tangent and Meatloaf ranted at him. Lesson learned: When pulling together a team, use the assets of everyone.

7.) La’Toya gets fired- I would have to say most probably because she was nice and fairly quiet, unwilling to trash her teammates. Later she sets an appointment with the Donald to have a private discussion as to why she was fired. She wanted clarification (Donald re-hired her)

What I don’t like, yet have learned from:

1.) The Firing Process- I don’t think he fired the right people. For instance NeNe Leakes has a major breakdown to Star Jones in front of a customer- she should have been fired. She was the biggest whiner and complainer, yet LaToya Jackson gets fired for basically being nice and quiet. Lesson learned: Just because you are quiet, doesn’t mean you cannot be a valuable part of a team. Screaming, yelling, mouthing off is bad business.

2.) Donald Trump is an instigator; He and the show thrive on instigating team members to fight each other. Lesson learned- Instigators should go away, they are damaging to communication and  moral.

3.) While it might make good TV, the back-stabbing is deplorable. Back-stabbers lower morale, hinder productivity and lead to high staff turnover.

They might have done this but after every task and a discussion in a staff meeting, a recap;

  • What went right
  • What went wrong
  • How Could we improve



Aspire MidPage June 19