P.C.Pop with Pablo

Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Probst’

Survivor Leadership: 4 Powerful Lessons from Reality TV

In CBS, College Students, diversity, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Interaction Process Analysis, Komives, Leader, Leadership, life, Malavenda, Nance Lucas, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Robert Bales, self-fulfilling prophecy, Survivor, Survivor Cook Island, survivor women, Timothy McMahon, TV, TV shows on May 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm

The Complete Guide



The Complete Guide to Survivor Leadership contains 4 Powerful Lessons.  Studying LEADERSHIP by watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor will give you powerful insights into how leadership develops in teams AKA tribes. I have taught leadership for close to 25 years.  I have used various techniques to make learning leadership meaningful and topical.  As long as Survivor has been on the air, I have been using the reality TV show to emphasis and highlight the various aspects of several leadership models, practices, and theories.  From the first episode through the live Finale show, Leadership is present, can be observed, predicted and studied. The 4 Survivor Leadership Lessons are as follows:


Survivor Leadership


Lesson 1 — The Leadership Primer


This PC Pop blog post is the quintessential Survivor Leadership primer. In this post you will learn about the basic LEADERSHIP models that give the framework for being able to study leadership and how leadership emerges among tribe members. Using Leadership models and theories that emphasize relationships as much as task completion, you begin to understand how Leadership develops among tribe members.  If you love studying leadership you will love finding out how LEADERSHIP is an integral part of the group dynamics on Survivor.  If you read this before watching Survivor, you will begin to see the relationships and interactions on Survivor in a much different way. It makes watching Survivor a much more exciting experience. READ more…


Lesson 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy


This PC Pop blog post discusses a concept called “self-fulfilling prophecy.” In order to study LEADERSHIP among the castaways on Survivor you must examine some of the variables that will impact the group dynamics.  In this post we look at how casting affects the group development and the tone of the tribe communities. Read this post and learn about how casting can reinforce negative stereotypes and complicate the natural development of teams.  If you are interested in how important diversity and inclusion are in Leadership, you will find this post very interesting. READ more…


Lesson 3 — Family First


This PC Pop blog post focuses on what the members of the tribe must be concerned about if they wish to be a LEADER. The tribes within Survivor resemble in many ways a “family.”  This post explores the concept of LEADERS first know who they are before they may be effective.  Leaders must first must know them-SELVES, then their FAMILY, then OTHERS. Once you become self aware of your own talents and issues, have the love, support and coaching from your family — you then impact your community and change the world. LEADERSHIP is about community and family; and this blog post explores that within Survivor.  As you will see sometimes it works and (like this season) sometimes it doesn’t.  You will enjoy the analysis of the men’s tribe; and it will give you more to think about the next time you tune into Survivor. READ more…


Lesson 4 — Serving Your Community


This PC Pop blog post focuses on the importance of Leaders developing a sense of Community. In order to understand others, you must first understand yourself.  You cannot lead a team or tribe unless you understand others enough to include and empower them.  Once they are empowered they must be coached, challenged, and encouraged. In Survivor, your immediate tribe is your core community (small c) or family.  The entire group of castaways regardless of their tribe affiliation and their alliances is the Community (Big C).  Unfortunately, the castaways become so focused on Leading their tribe and playing the game they fail to become great Community Leaders. To examine this further we must look at various LEADERSHIP models particularly Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership. This season there are some clear examples of castaways completely disregarding their community — and getting eliminated. READ more…


Survivor: One Worldthe twenty-fourth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series, premiered on February 15, 2012. I triple love Survivor for many reasons — but mostly because of the LEADERSHIP lessons learned by observing the group development, teamwork and relationships among the castaways. As a self-proclaimed, cultural anthropologist with a specialization in Pop culture — Survivor gives me great joy.  Tune in and let me know what you think.  If you already planned on watching, I hope these four Survivor Leadership blog posts give you something more to observe and reflect upon.  I hope I’ve convinced you it may be worth tuning into Survivor in future. You might find some value in studying Survivor — some value in studying Pop Culture — some value in studying Reality TV.


To understand more about Survivor Leadership, please read each of the PC Pop blog posts 1, 2, 3, 4. Please check back here often because this list will be updated regularly.


CBS Survivor episodes and videos can be viewed online.


Survivor Leadership, Chapter 4 — Serving Your Community

In CBS, College Students, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Komives, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership, Survivor, survivor women, Timothy McMahon, TV, TV shows, Uncategorized on March 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Karma


Before reading this PC Pop blog post, you may want to first read the other posts about Survivor and Leadership: Survivor Leadership, Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer; Chapter 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy; and Chapter 3 — Family First.


As an instructor of LEADERSHIP for college students, I use many techniques to demonstrate and teach aspects of leadership — including watching Survivor.  Generally though we only watch the first four to five episodes as a class because at some point the “game” becomes more and more autocratic and Machiavellian — and mean spirited. Ultimately the Survivor premise — of voting everyone off until there is only one Survivor — is the antithesis of the best practices of LEADERSHIP. But during those first four episodes you can really see LEADERSHIP emerge among the members of the tribes; what I refer to as Survivor Leadership. After 4 to 5 episodes into the season, it is important to focus on the importance of Community LEADERSHIP.

Robert Greenleaf

Robert K. Greenleaf

In order to understand others, you must first understand yourself.  You cannot lead a team or tribe unless you understand others enough to include and empower them.  Once they are empowered they must be coached, challenged, and encouraged. In Survivor, your immediate tribe is your core community (small c) or family.  The entire group of castaways regardless of their tribe affiliation and their alliances is the Community (Big C).  Unfortunately, the castaways become so focused on Leading their tribe and playing the game that they fail to become great Community Leaders. To examine this further we must look at various LEADERSHIP models particularly Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership.

Colton has lost sight of one important aspect of leadership — all of your actions should be to benefit the common good.  This is best articulated in the definition from The Relational Leadership Model which states: Leadership is a relational process of people together attempting to accomplish change or make a difference to benefit the common good (Komives, 2007).  At this point in my class, I would tell the students “this is where we lose Hitler.”  Hitler may have been effective in mobilizing lots of people to do his bidding but nothing he was doing was for the “common good”; therefore, he was not a leader.

Christina

Christina

Alicia

Alicia

This past Wednesday CBS aired the sixth episode of Survivor: One World and the castaways have been together now for 14 days. It is at this point in the competition that I fantasize about how different it would be if the castaways had some insight into leadership. As I watched the episode unfold — it reminded me of the potential we all have to have a tremendous impact on our Community.  During this episode, the villian Colton had found an ally — Alicia. Colton and Alicia turned on their tribe-mate, Christina and became classic bullies.  Colton has no legitimate right to authority or power in his tribe or the entire community but others are for a variety of reasons allowing him to not only lead but to also be a coercive, manipulative meanie.

Colton Cumbie

Colton

Colton’s action were not for the common good of his tribe let alone the entire community of castaways in this camp.  If you define great leadership as actions or changes to benefit the common good it allows you to explore values, service, humility, civic engagement, empowerment, inclusiveness, diversity and community.   Colton’s behavior or style also does not resemble that of a Servant Leader — where you serve others first, selflessly, and lead next (Greenleaf, 2002). Colton is a prime example of a meanie who thinks he is a leader.  So regardless of what Colton and his allies think, he is not a LEADER.

In the competition of Survivor focusing on the needs of others, being selfless and promoting and developing others is a risky strategy. But I would argue ignoring the needs of the Community is short sighted and will eventually be your undoing. If you know anything about Survivor you know  eventually the tribes merge into one tribe.  If you acknowledge the collection of all tribes (families or neighborhoods) to be a part of a larger Community — the merge is pivotal in one’s success as a Leader.  If you are NOT focused on the holistic aspects of your entire Community until the merge — it is too late to have a positive impact.  What a different sociological “experiment” in human behavior Survivor would be if each castaway employed the principles of Servant Leadership — listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, and commitment to the growth of others and building community (Greenleaf, 2002).

Similar to the world and communities in which we lead, Servant Leadership is such an inspirational, aspirational and attractive theory — but can it really be implemented?  As Leaders we often see things from a selfish, self promoting lens — focusing on material things and the next promotion. Like Survivor there is an ultimate prize at the end of the competition.  Logically we can see, even if we don’t believe in Karma, that there are great benefits to ignoring those selfish urges and focusing on the needs of others, serving first/leading next, and working hard to develop the skills of others, empowering them to become more engaged and better servants and leaders themselves.  This philosophy is virtuous but risky and threatening.  You must take the leap of faith. In Survivor you build alliances to get you farther in the competition until eventually you will have to turn on your allies and attempt to promote yourself — to the supreme role of Sole Survivor.  Is it possible the Survivor  is more similar to the corporate American ladder than we would want to admit?

Sabrina

Sabrina

There is some encouragement in this season of Survivor though. Sabrina has been a great example of a leader with the ability of Encouraging the Heart (Kouzes & Posner, 2008).  One of the five elements of The Leadership Challenge is a concept called Encouraging the Heart.  Encouraging the Heart is such a powerful concept the authors dedicated an entire text to the subject — Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others (Kouzes & Posner, 2003).  As a leader I am comfortable Challenging the Process and Inspiring a Share Vision, two of the other elements of The Leadership Challenge, but I have struggled with Encouraging the Heart (Kouzes & Posner, 2008).  I have had to be very intentional about sending thank you notes, celebrating small victories, and sounding sincere in my praise of others’ work.  When I assemble a team, I always try to recruit a leader who is strong with Encouraging the Heart to complement my strengths.  Sabrina has consistently been the one castaway on Survivor this season that has been genuinely concerned about the feelings of others.  Sabrina has been a strong competitor but this week her tribe, Salani, was required to have one member sit out the reward challenge. Sabriana sat out of the challenge but was completely engaged.  She cheered on her tribe-mates with words of encouragement and great sideline coaching.  Her role in this reward challenge made the difference and they won — a luxury prize with ice cream sundaes with all the fixings.  Another example of hope this season is how Christina dealt with being bullied by Colton, Alicia and others in her own tribe.  Christina stayed focused, did not retaliate with hateful words, and did not hold a grudge when Colton needed comforting.  When Colton started to experience extreme pain, Christina was the only tribe-mate who went to Colton’s aid and helped him find comfort.

Message to Mark Burnett, Executive Producer of Survivor — consider a new reality TV show concept, Survivor Leadership. The concept would be very similar to Survivor with one major difference.  The difference is each castaway has been trained in LEADERSHIP.  Each castaway would be required to complete the curriculum of a special Survivor Leadership Academy.  The syllabus would focus on the history and development of Leadership theories, practices and models.  It would focus on self-awareness, inclusiveness, group dynamics, teamwork, ethics, communication, community, and service.  How wonderful to see how the members of each of the tribes would develop if their collective focus was on the needs of the entire Community; and they focus on service first and leading next (Greenleaf, 2002).  They would work together to build a shelter, start and maintain a fire, find drinkable water, hunt for and cook food as a family, and make sure everyone felt valued, challenged, healthy, appreciated, and heard.  It would not only be a better “experiment” but a better example for aspiring and emerging leaders.

Immunity IdolNow back to Karma.  I mentioned Colton was feeling some pain toward the end of the episode.  Well although I predict Colton’s strategy would have backfired on him eventually — his appendix ended his game sooner.  Colton was diagnosed with an acute appendicitis and was ordered to leave the game. It is hard to ignore that Colton was the architect of his own fate.  (Note that it was later disclosed that Colton actually suffered from a severe bacterial infection in his stomach and intestines.) Colton did not disappoint and was evil until the bitter end.  Given the option by Jeff Probst to give his immunity idol to another castaway before he was carted away on a stretcher, Colton decided to keep it as a souvenir.  Another brilliantly selfish move.

Let’s hope that Survivor: One World Post-Colton is as exciting and a bit more compassionate.


References:


For more suggestions on must-read LEADERSHIP books, check out this PCPop blog post:


For more on Survivor Leadership, check out these PCPop blog posts:





Survivor Leadership, Chapter 2 — Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

In body image, CBS, diversity, homophobia, Leadership, Malavenda, Mob Wives, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, self-fulfilling prophecy, sexism, Survivor, Survivor Cook Island, survivor women, TV shows, Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 at 7:36 am



Before reading this PC Pop blog post, you may want to first read the first post about Survivor and Leadership: Survivor Leadership, Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer


Survivor: One World premiered on February 15, 2012 with a big programming announcement – a game twist.  The latest and 24th session of Survivor would have single sex tribes sharing the same camp site. Immediately the reality TV bloggers around the world began commenting on the differences between women and men.  After only two episodes, Survivor: One World has many examples of Jeff Probsthow women and men behave when used in this (cruel) experiment of human nature.  Jeff Probst told the women at tribal council, ” “You’re off to one of the worst starts ever in this game because of the absolute and total dysfunction within this group. It’s almost like I’m talking to sixth-graders.”

As you know from my blog “Survivor Leadership” this is a grand experiment bound to teach you many lessons about LEADERSHIP. B-U-T…Don’t kid yourself that you will learn anything about the difference between the sexes, or among the genders. As spectators and fans we convince ourselves that the selection process for reality TV show cast members is similar to a job interview.  You could not be more wrong.  In a job interview, the employer is (most of the time) attempting to vet the candidates to determine who would be the most experienced, best fit, and have the greatest chance of succeeding.  Smart employers even try to balance out their existing team by looking at diversity and including individuals with different experiences and backgrounds.  This includes a balance of view points, leadership styles, behavior types and yes, gender balance.  Many employers today are attempting to give individuals a chance who historically would not have had opportunities — debunking stereo-types and breaking glass ceilings. This is NOT how the “employers” hire the contestants on Survivor or any other reality show.

The producers and casting are first and foremost trying to get you to tune in and stay tuned in. A quick study of TV shows with high ratings will prove that train wrecks sell tickets. (By the way — young, skinny, shirtless models sell too.) As a producer you can create an Rupert and Pabloenvironment on the set of a reality TV show that not only encourages train wrecks but they also become down right inevitable. And we fall for it – slowing down traffic to rubber neck to see the blood and gore.  We are attracted to accidents, and we also want to be the first to tweet about it.  We love when we are a part of a story that is trending. Beyond casting only those who reinforce negative stereotypes, they do unnatural things like separate genders, separate tribes by age, include former Survivor cast members like Boston Rob or Rupert or Jerry Manthey, create redemption island, put scorned cast members on the jury, have tribes share a camp without giving them equal resources, and force individuals to give their Immunity Idol to someone from the other tribe.  Yes, they even, during the season Survivor Cook Islandsof Survivor: Cook Islandsdivided the contestants into four tribes by ethnicity: African-AmericanAsian AmericanHispanic American, and White American. All of these tactics are designed to create that proverbial train wreck. Add dysfunctional cast members and the behavior will look familiar — a self-fulfilling prophecy — giving you a reason to reinforce your (false) beliefs even if they are

biased or bigoted or sexist or homophobic or racist or ageist — not to mention the issues with body image. Even Jeff Probst’s reaction to the women in tribal council reinforces these beliefs.

Survivor One World - Women's Tribe

So, when you find yourself at the water-cooler or blogging or tweeting about Survivor, please refrain from commenting on how this grand experiment teaches us anything about the differences in the sexes or races or the young and older.  Because it DOESN’T.  Quite contrary, reality shows are giving you what you want presumably based on ratings — an exaggerated look at the most vile and negative stereotypes that we have been taught about each other.  Don’t fall for it.  Crusade against it, if you wish.  By all means, enjoy it as a guilty pleasure.  But be smart enough to know that stereotypes, especially negative ones, rarely have any value in an advanced society like ours.

Now — I have to scoot. The Mob Wives marathon is about to start.



Read more about studying Leadership while watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor, in the PCPop blog posts:





Survivor Leadership — Chapter 1 — The Leadership Primer

In CBS, Exploring Leadership, Group Dynamics, Interaction Process Analysis, Komives, Leader, Leadership, Malavenda, Nance Lucas, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Reality TV, Robert Bales, Survivor, Timothy McMahon, TV shows, Uncategorized on February 14, 2012 at 12:06 am




Survivor: One Worldthe twenty-fourth season of the American CBS competitive reality television series, premiered on February 15, 2012. I triple love Survivor for many reasons — one of which may surprise you.  I consider myself a cultural anthropologist with a specialization in Pop culture — so, I force myself to watch as much cable TV and reality TV as possible.  Whether it is another Kardashian or some Wives spin off (including the Mob variety) or another show based in or featuring the colorful residents of the Garden State, I am there. What might surprise you is my assertion that Survivor teaches LEADERSHIP.  Yes, Leadership can be observed and studied by watching Survivor.  On Survivor, Leadership can be seen in a spontaneous and creative manner reinforcing leadership practices, theories and models both contemporary and historic. When I think of Survivor, I think of LEADERSHIP.

Survivor is an exciting experiment because it would not be allowed in most research settings. The basic premise of Survivor would never be approved by IRB. An institutional review board (IRB), also known as an independent ethics committee (IEC) or ethical review board (ERB), is a small group of experts that is formally designated to approve, monitor, and review bio-medical and behavioral research involving humans. On all levels Survivor would be considered high risk, cruel and unusual; and would never be approved by IRB. Part of the attraction of watching Survivor for me is that in most regulated research environments, this type of experiment on humans would be forbidden.  But because it is reality TV — anything goes — and scientists around the globe are jealous and observing — attracted and lured by the Forbidden Fruit. (At least I am.)

The stage is set for the grand experiment for the 24th time.  The producers have assembled 18 “contestants” — 9 women and 9 men.  This group of strangers is stranded on a deserted island or in the middle of the wilderness and forced to work together on tasks and challenges.  If you have watched Survivor you know there are three “tasks” that must be completed almost immediately after these strangers are assigned to their tribes.  Even if you haven’t seen Survivor but you’ve gone camping or played the teambuilding exercise “Earthquake,” you know there are a few survival techniques you can employ.  As you might know, the Earthquake exercise is used to demonstrate the importance of working in a team and the benefits of group decision-making.  The exercise involves ranking of options for surviving an immense earthquake.  Most groups immediately light the candles to illuminate the room and see what they’re doing.  Unfortunately, they end up losing because they blow themselves to smithereens by lighting the candles without first turning off all of the utilities. Ooops.

Robert Freed Bales, considered by many to be the guru of group dynamics and understanding the importance of the role of each team member, made many interesting observations that are directly relevant to Survivor. Bales observed that if you give a specific task to a group of strangers something happens.  Behavior is predictable and patterned and leadership emerges.  With Survivor there are three tasks that need to be completed immediately.

Today Survivors contestants have already watched all of the previous seasons on DVD; so, they know exactly what needs to be done before sundown. Can you guess? Is it “find food”? Nope, you don’t need food to survive but you do need water.  Clean water? Yes, but it also must be drinkable (salt water is clean but not drinkable). To be specific you need clean, drinkable water.


The first three tasks that must be completed by the new tribes before sundown on their first day are as follows:

  1. find clean, potable WATER
  2. build a FIRE
  3. build a SHELTER

Task #1 – find clean, potable (drinkable) water.

Task #2 — build a fire. Fire is important in so many ways.  Fire keeps you warm.  Fire cooks and sterilizes water and tools. Fire keeps away insects and critters and “lions and tigers and bears.” Nuff said.

Task #3 — build a shelter.  One could argue that a shelter is not essential to survival but I would disagree. Shelter gives the tribe a home and a place to “become” a tribe.  Like the town square gives a city a unifying place for the community — so does a shelter.  Also, nothing beats a good night’s sleep.  Tribe morale can be destroyed if the members are not getting a good night’s sleep.  You can’t sleep easily in the rain or with heavy winds. You can’t sleep well on the ground which can chill you to the bone and brings you too close to amphibians, insects and reptiles.  A good shelter can really have a positive overall impact on the entire tribe.


As the tribe members set out to complete these tasks, LEADERSHIP emerges.  Each team member takes on a role based on their actions.  Most actions are positive and help the group achieve its tasks or goals but others are negative.  According to Bales the team member who is the leader is often the member who is talking the most.  This is not because this person is the smartest or has the best ideas.  It is mostly because this person has all of the information from the entire group.  Because this individual is talking the most, other team members are sharing information with this person.  This person has the privilege of holding lots of information and is in the best position to ask questions and offer direction.  These are called “Task Oriented” leadership actions.  Successful leaders though also exhibit “Socio-Emotional” leadership actions.  These actions help to promote harmony within the group and among team members. Harmony is achieved when team members are praised, coached, valued, listened to and empowered. Over time trust is built within the group and the team members begin to perform on extraordinary levels.  A true leader makes sure that tasks are being completed and there is harmony in the team.  Both, not one or the other, are essential.

A leader today is defined as a person who can influence others to be more effective in working to achieve their mutual goals and maintain effective working relationships among members (Komives, 2007).  In this definition offered in Exploring Leadership (Komives, 2007), again there are two elements that define great leaders.  These two things are achieving mutual goals AND maintaining effective working relationships. Both, not one or the other. TASKS and RELATIONSHIPS are both essential in LEADERSHIP.

Soon the 24th season of Survivor begins.  As soon as the tribes get to their camp they will begin the tasks of finding water, building a fire and identifying a location for and building their shelter.  There are always one or two tribe members who take charge with building the shelter.  They identify a location typically near a natural barrier or wall, gather materials for building the floor, walls and roof of the shelter and start delegating tasks and barking orders.  Progress in building the shelter goes well until this self appointed “project manager” notices that not all of the tribe members are contributing.  Commitment to the task of building the shelter is uneven and the workload is not shared equally.  Inevitably there is a group of tribe members who can be seen in the distance chatting it up, laughing, enjoying each other while leisurely wading in the beautiful ocean water on the shore of the majestic beach on which they are all stranded.  The workers pause, wipe the sweat from their brow, feel the oncoming aches and pains of using muscles they haven’t used in months and roll their eyes at these “slackers.”  The resentment and tension begins to develop and rise within this newly defined tribe.

Fast-forward to Tribal Council and you shouldn’t be surprised that the self appointed “project manager” or one of the other hard-working tribe members is voted off FIRST.  Rarely does one of the “slacker” tribe members get voted off.  It is completely logical, right? Vote off the person who worked the hardest and contributed the most to building the shelter, gathering wood, fishing, finding water and food, etc.  Reflecting on our definition of Leadership and Bales’ theory, you know that you must do BOTH — TASK and RELATIONSHIP.  And early in the forming of a team, one would argue that RELATIONSHIP building is more important than TASK achievement.  The hard-working tribe members were certainly TASK oriented but they were not practicing any Socio-emotional Leadership actions.  The tribe members who were chatting it up on the beach were practicing Socio-emotional Leadership actions and “maintain(ing) effective working relationships among members.”  In other words — an icebreaker. In Survivor jargon, it is called building strong alliances.


The tribe members on the beach could not believe that the others could possibly start working together, building a shelter, without first “breaking the ice.”  These tribe members are not “slackers.” Quite contrary, they are working hard on socio-emotional or relationship building actions.

  • Where are you from?
  • How many brothers and sisters do you have?
  • Are you first-born?
  • Do you speak more than one language?
  • Do you prefer country living or city dwelling?
  • What do you read?
  • What music do you listen to?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Do you squeeze your toothpaste tube from the bottom or from the middle?
  • What is your career or work?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Toilet paper roll — do you prefer over or under?
  • What are your life’s passions?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?

These tribe members begin to form bonds and alliances based on things they have in common or things they do or do not agree on.  Most importantly, they are building relationships and beginning to care for and trust each other. Regardless of your work ethic, once you begin to know someone and respect them, you will support them, you won’t betray them, and you won’t “vote them off the island.” The one we are most willing to vote off is the one we don’t know much about.  If tribe members ONLY practice TASK oriented actions, they might as well be robots or pieces of machinery — easily voted off with no regrets and no feelings of remorse.The most interesting part of Bales’ observations is that TASK  and SOCIO-emotional are practiced unequally by members of the team; tension will develop between those high on TASK and those low on TASK; great leaders practice both TASK and SOCIO-emotional actions equally; and eventually, team members begin to collectively synchronize their TASK and SOCIO-emotional actions.

Leadership is about having a positive impact and getting things done with a cohesive, talented, supportive team, who is sufficiently challenged and empowered, bring out the best in each other, learn from the experience, and enjoy every minute.  This is why I love SURVIVOR!


(Plus — I met my favorite Survivor, Rupert Boneham, in the pits at the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a few months later I met him again at Panera Bread.)


Now that you have the basics, brush up on your leadership models, definitions and theories and get ready to watch it happen among the new tribe members on Survivor: One World.  It is like watching rats in the lab only they’re real people (well, sort of).  Watch the experiment unfold and see if you can predict who the LEADER is.  Is it the the person who took the time to develop relationships AND contribute to the tribe goals and tasks?  Is the leader the member who talks the most?  Are tribe members afraid to be perceived as the leader or do members come in entitled and assertive? Do the leadership roles change?  Do you see leadership skills that you admire?

Mostly I love that it is completely unpredictably, predictable.  We have no idea what is going to unfold within these Survivor tribes but the leadership that emerges is often patterned and predictable. If you are an emerging leader or a scholar of leadership practices and theories, you won’t know what you will see week after week on Survivor — which is fun and exciting.  We all experience it together.  Understanding Bales and other contemporary, relational and reciprocal leadership models, you too can see LEADERSHIP emerge among the tribe members on Survivor — at least for the first four to six episodes each season.  For someone like me who has been teaching Leadership for close to a quarter of a century, some semesters the most exciting part of teaching is the unpredictability and absurdity of Survivor.  Experiencing it with the students as it is happening.

PLEASE NOTE: Of course as the show progresses and the “game” starts to kick in — Survivor’s basic premise of voting off everyone until there is no team, no tribe, and just one sole survivor is the absolute antithesis of the LEADERSHIP model I hope you aspire to following.

Tune in and let me know what you think.  If you already planned on watching, I hope I gave you something more to observe and reflect on.  If you weren’t planning on tuning in this season, I hope I’ve convinced you it may be worth it. Gather a group of “students”; review the basics of Bales’ Interaction Process Analysis, Fielder’s Contingency Model and Least Preferred Co-worker Scale, Komives’ Relational Leadership Model, and any other Leadership model you like; study the Survivor website taking special note of the biographies of the tribe members, watch Survivor with a set of questions and behaviors and actions to look for and observe; and meet after Survivor airs and discuss.  You are now a professor of Leadership. You will be pleasantly surprised how much Leadership you are able to observe and discuss.  You and the students will be excited to learn together. You might even have found some value in studying Survivor — some value in studying Pop Culture — some value in studying Reality TV. Oh my.


Read more about studying Leadership while watching the CBS reality TV show, Survivor, in the PCPop blog posts:





References:



CBS Survivor: One World airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. starting February 15, 2012; and can be viewed online.