Helen Green

Ambition is not leadership

“In the selection process, sometimes I worry that people are there for the wrong reasons.”

As a new series of The Apprentice heads to our screens Lord Sugar admitted in a BBC interview that there was a chance that the show could attract people who are looking for TV fame rather than those with genuine business skill. He also indicated that when he spots those fame-hungry individuals they are not likely to last long but it does raise an interesting point; how do you manage leadership succession when some see it as a contest.

Now let’s admit that there is nothing wrong with ambition per se but there is a fine line to be drawn between the ambition to lead and the ambition to be a great leader. The former sees leadership as an end goal with supremacy as the prize, the latter sees leadership as an ongoing journey in which the leader has the chance not only to grow and develop but also to help others to grow.

Perhaps we should remember that The Apprentice is a game show as much as it is about business. And perhaps some of the lessons learnt will be as much along the lines of what not to do as they are about developing the leaders of the future.