Leadership & Reality Television

Project Runway is one of those shows that my family likes to watch together each week. We trade off on the hosting gig, sometimes cooking elaborate meals and other times ordering Chinese. We’re captivated by the innovation and creativity (or lack thereof) and we enjoy critiquing the final looks as if we’re all fashion leaders ourselves. project-runway Unlike last year, Project Runway opted to do a season of team challenges. While I do believe teams in the real world cultivate a more innovative and collaborative environment, it seams (pun intended. hah.) that teams in the “real”¬†television world just let more mediocre designers skate through the competition.

But what I found most interesting was this year’s unconventional challenge. It wasn’t the challenge itself that caught my attention, it was what happened when key players of each team were moved to the opposing team. Designer Stanley Hudson is revered for his knowledge of construction and take-charge attitude, but his clear aptitude for leadership was highlighted when he reversed his (new) team’s losing streak. All it took was a little organization and a positive force to rally the talents of the team and develop a cohesive vision.

I’ve watched enough competition-based-reality-television programming to know that a team leader will make or break a team.

While I attended graduate school for my MBA, the program stressed the necessity and the importance of the team dynamic. Often times I was in more teams than I was in classes, and a good portion of my class grade was dependent on that team project. During that time I learned that a team of 4-5 is ideal; 6 was too many, 3 was too few. I learned that a team leader helped to focus our brainstorming sessions and develop action items so that we all walked away with a clear understanding of each other’s expectations.

When I look back at grad school, and think of us analyzing countless case studies, I realize just how fortunate I was to be in that graduate program. I think about us as young juggernauts, dreaming about the day that we would become the influential and ground-breaking CEOs we would read about. But it has always been clear, then and more so now, that strong, positive leadership will make or break [INSERT ANYTHING HERE].

And like the Project Runway team dynamic, nothing is more frustrating when you’re surrounded by equally talented individuals who are being under-utilized and unorganized, and perhaps most importantly, uninspired.

Leadership correlates to success.

And success correlates to Stanley Hudson…for now.