Ten Lessons in Leadership from Reality TV

Last night I sat with my family watching The Amazing Race. As we watched the twins self destruct and face elimination, both my husband and I were amazed at how little responsibility the players took for their actions.  They chose to blame others for their failure rather than accepting the fact that their decision making had led them to last place.  This was a teachable moment for our children as we had a family discussion around owning your own behaviour.

I have always been fascinated by human behaviour and perhaps that is why I secretly (or not so secretly now) admit that I love reality TV.  The lesson from last night’s Amazing Race episode prompted me to think about others lessons I have learned from reality TV shows.  Perhaps as my own way to vindicate my less than cerebral entertainment selections, I have created my Top Ten Lessons in Leadership from Reality TV.  Enjoy!

Leadership Lesson #10 from the Amazing Race… Take Responsibility

Life is an amazing race full of adventure.  Celebrate where life takes you but take responsibility for your actions and recognize that where you are today is a reflection of your choices. Don’t blame others for where you end up.

Leadership Lesson #9 from Big Brother… Expand Your Horizons

Get out of the house.  We all act a little stir crazy when we stay in the same environment for too long.  Expand your horizons, network, connect with others beyond the walls that confine you.  (as a disclaimer I will add that I actually don’t watch this one)

Leadership Lesson #8 from World’s Deadliest Catch… Take Risks

Take calculated risks.  Don’t be afraid to try something new. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn.  However I don’t suggest you throw yourself into the middle of the ocean unless you know what you are doing!

Leadership Lesson #7 from Survivor…  Take Care of Yourself

Have a good breakfast.  Exercise. Get enough sleep.   Maslow was right.  Our needs must be met in hierarchical order.  Our basic needs must be met first before we can learn or help others learn.

Leadership Lesson #6 from The Apprentice… Relationships Matter

Build strong relationships.  If your team had the ability to fire you, would they?  Be true to your work, true to your word and care about the people around you.  Work as a team and celebrate what you accomplish together.

Leadership Lesson #5.5 (oops I had an extra one) from Secret Princes…  Embrace Good Luck

Think positive.  Sometimes something small flourishes into something beautiful and takes on a life of its own.  Dream big and believe in magic.

Leadership Lesson #5 from The Voice…  Be Curious

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Make good decisions based on evidence. Dig a little deeper to find out what people are about.

Leadership Lesson #4 from America’s Got Talent….  Recognize Strengths

Every one of us prefers to spend time at things we are good at.  Use a strength based approach to recognize the unique gift in everyone and build on these strengths. 

Leadership Lesson #3 from Extreme Makeover Home Edition… Build Community

Share stories. Reach out to one another.  Create communities that support one another. Believe in the genuine desire of others to make a positive difference.

Leadership Lesson #2 from Dancing With the Stars…. Model the Way

Share your talents.  Teach others.  Get creative and have fun!

Leadership Lesson #1 from The Bachelor… Live a Life Full of Love

This really is our greatest purpose.  Love your family, friends and your work.  Put your heart into what you do.  Accept the final rose.

Note:  Honey Boo Boo – as hard as i tried I cannot add this to the list.  the only lesson I can take from this show is that sometimes we really need to turn the TV off!

3 thoughts on “Ten Lessons in Leadership from Reality TV

  1. Love the topic. Just to clarify though… the twins did not come in last place. The twins are Natale and Nadiya – I believe they came in 5th. From what I’ve seen of their behaviour, they seem unlikely to not take responsibility for their actions. I think you may have thought that the 2 blonde girls who came in last were twins. They are Caitlin and Brittany and they are not related to each other. I do love the twins though. They have an exuberance for life and respect for all that would surely be a leadership lesson.

  2. Love the way you connected this. I also think that that reality tv also promotes a lot of negative behaviour (Bullying, intimidation, embarassment). Lessons everywhere!

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