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Shed no tears


Sir AlanLeadership expert John Fay was crying with frustration this week, as the tissue box challenge turned into a major drama. Raef’s inability to assert his authority or inspire his team to work together cost him his place in The Apprentice, he says... hanky anyone?

Week nine brought with it the chance to win Sir Alan’s favour with a snappy advertising campaign for tissues, but some ideas from the recruits left me reaching for the hankies.

Sir Alan tasked the remaining seven with branding a box of tissues and shooting a 30 second TV commercial promoting their product and also creating a press shot.

Raef headed up Team Renaissance, with Michael, Claire and Helene, despite 'good Jewish boy' Michael’s pleas to be given the chance to lead the team.

Sir Alan was after mini-dramas and Raef and Michael were only too happy to meet this command as they boasted of their theatre days and their time in production.

The boys chose to handle production of the commercial while the girls were left to come up with box branding and a press shot.

Raef’s idea of recruiting celebrity weather girl Sian Lloyd as a wholesome mum image for their campaign fell a little flat as she confessed to the cameras she was single and also childless. This oversight was frowned upon by Sir Alan.

Raef’s major downfall was, along with Michael, deciding to pull the product shot from their advert as it left viewers unaware what product was being promoted.

Alex was chosen to lead Team Alpha and he soon got to work with Lee on their A-tishu branding. Lucinda was sent out to find a filming location and later admitted she did not like the product branding as it lacked female input.

This comment shows how gender divisions can have an effect in the workplace and how men and women can adopt differing management styles. Women are said to favour transformational management, which focuses on nurturing aspects, whereas Alex worked in a transactional style, rewarding Lee’s good behaviour and tarring Lucinda’s moaning as bad behaviour.

Both teams presented their commercial and product to an internationally renowned advertising agency and consumers and Sir Alan deemed Lee’s presentation as 'fumbling, poor and unprofessional.' There are clear training needs here, not least a boost in presentation skills. Despite this, Raef’s team lost the task.

Lee had stressed the importance of having 'cohesiveness in the team' and this is something Renaissance should have adhered to when Raef returned to the boardroom with Claire and Michael.

Michael claimed 'everything good is down to me' and denied his heavy involvement in pulling the one product shot from the advert.

Raef’s sacking was a result of him accepting responsibility for failing the task, but his real omission was in asserting his leadership. After leaving The Apprentice, he commented on how a 'great leader inspires confidence in others' and he failed to do that.

Team Renaissance’s error was in ignoring the brief set by Sir Alan and failing to highlight the product they were marketing. They approached the task as two separate parts, and essentially as two separate teams, and therefore failed to tackle individual issues.

Being a strong leader is not enough to succeed on The Apprentice, you must also win the support of your team so they stand by and understand your decisions. Raef’s inability to work closely with the girls, and also to assert authority over Michael while choosing shots for the commercial, cost him his career hope.

Sir Alan wanted a mini-drama, but Raef’s artistic enthusiasm and lack of attention to detail and task direction made him the star of his own major drama as he said a final goodbye to the show.

Leadership expert John Fay was awarded an MBE for his work teaching leadership, confidence and citizenship skills to young people during a 10-year period. He is the founder of SFL, a change management, leadership and development company. For more information visit


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