Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ethical Leadership Highlighted on The Apprentice

On week 9 of “The Apprentice”, after two previous weeks where lying had come up as an unacceptable factor amongst the contestants, one contestant was fired at the beginning of the show for cheating.

On week 7, Mahsa was fired after initially breaking her team’s trust by discussing their financial winnings with the other team prior to the board room. She later denied this interaction to Mr. Trump and was fired because of it. Not only was she going into the board room with an unfair advantage, but she then lied about it.

The following week, speculation came up regarding Stephanie’s involvement on a task. She denied certain actions, and it was unclear if she just truly didn’t realize she was lying or if in fact it was a calculated move. Either way, she has been spared thus far as it could not be proven.

On week 9, Anand, who during week 7 had been project manager, was caught sending texts to friends in New York asking them to come take a pedi-cab ride from their team. He asked that they pretend not to know Anand and give the men an advantage. The men ultimately won that task, even though Anand asserts none of his friends came by. This was a direct violation of the rules of the show, but was it actually unethical? When he was confronted by Mr. Trump on episode 9, he initially denied it until Mr. Trump read aloud the said text message.

After two weeks of being in ethical case competitions, and hearing about ethical leadership in the classroom, it is interesting to see what people do. It is also refreshing to see that one of the most powerful businessmen in the world holds a very hard line against certain blatant unethical acts. This season has been about candidates who come from unemployment, underemployment or diverted career paths. These people are more desperate then seasons past and probably, therefore, have more to lose. It’s important that they remain ethical, even though this season seems to be the least ethical thus far.

In lieu of these unethical acts coming forward, the candidate I suspect might actually win this thing is Clint. He not only has been the most forthright about ethical behavior and honest accountability, but he seems the most disturbed by his teammate’s behaviors. He has held himself heads above the competition if only in his ethical stance and Mr. Trump seems to be noticing. What is also extremely surprising is that he has the most buttoned-down attire and least “classic” background and yet seems to be succeeding in spades. His ethical behavior might have a lot to do with this. I will let you know if ethical leadership continues to be rewarded going forward into these final episodes. Thus far, it has been an interesting case study just to observe. It also seems to encourage me that ethics has a place amongst the highest echelons of business acumen. Graziadio’s stance on ethics has a real influence, and Mr. Trump said, this type of behavior is what is killing Wall Street and what we need to move away from. Let’s hope the rest of the industries think so too.

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