The Apprentice Episode 8

Published on 28 November 2014 at 10:42 am #businessnetworking #businessskillscourses #communicationskills #leadershipdevelopment #leadershipskills #negotiationskills #softskillstraining

Well, James finally got the sack. I can see why Lord Sugar likes him, but his inability to listen, his tendency to steamroller his team-mates and his ego simply got in the way.

Take a look at the article on Impact Factory's Facebook Page ( on 10 Common Leadership Mistakes by John Brandon.

James made at least 8 of them!

Clearly James's worst 'sin' is one of immaturity. He is so intent on his goal that he doesn't yet realise how to take others along with him.

The problem we often see when we go into organisations is that people far older and supposedly more mature make the same kind of mistakes in the guise of being an effective leader: ignoring other people's contributions; discouraging debate, riding roughshod over opposing ideas, going like the clappers with blinders on.

I certainly hope that James - who is very bright indeed - will truly learn from his mistakes and not become the all too common leader who intimidates his way to the top. Fear may get results, but it's a pretty poor way of covering your inadequacies.

We are great advocates of Leading with Kindness by William Baker and Michael O'Malley, which posits that callousness can be replaced with a gentler kind of Leadership. And by gentler they don't mean namby-pamby, wishy-washy; they mean generosity, fairness, motivation, integrity and openness. They also mean vulnerability.

Being vulnerable and allowing others to see that in you creates common ground, empathy and the basis for far deeper and more genuine relationships.

For us Leadership is also about the ability to see what's going on around you and being able to adjust and adapt your behaviour to what is happening rather than trying to make what is happening fit into what you want.

I have talked about listening before and I know I will talk about it again: a great leader listens, takes in what people are saying, hears the subtexts - what's underneath what people are saying and then acts.

Talking over others, cramming your point of view down people's throats may get immediate results, but won't get you loyalty and commitment. By listening and hearing, you allow others to express themselves and you will have good useful information.

No leader acts (or should act) on everything others want; through listening and considering the thoughts and feelings of others, they do, however, create a climate of honesty that pays back dividends.

Finally, for now, lets look at being too speedy - in James's case, another trait was his barging around, not stopping for breath…rushing, rushing.

If you can slow yourself down, take a breath, look around and get off the fast track for a moment, you have a far greater chance of deploying those Leadership skills of generosity, fairness, openness and caring for others - the true qualities of a great leader.

Check out Impact Factory's range of Leadership and Communication Skills Training.

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory