Apprentice Mel: Are they horrible people?

Melissa Cohen’s exit from BBC’s Apprentice episode 4 is the most dramatic yet.

She dispenses with the usual programme etiquette of shaking hands and hugs when she gets fired. Instead she rounds on her “colleagues” in front of Lord Sugar and accuses them of being “horrible people” for ganging up on her.

Was her response premeditated? Probably. Whatever her motivation in being ungracious in defeat, it certainly didn’t help her cause. The game is over.

From the comfort of our armchairs we can pile on the pressure. To be fair she was truly awful to watch. But this was far-fetched wasn’t it? Escapist entertainment perhaps, nothing like real life?

One thing Mel did achieve was to make us sit up and listen. Ugly as it was, it was certainly unforgettable.

I was impressed how Lord Sugar focused almost entirely on her lack of delivery. She said she was very good at sales. She didn’t deliver. Period.

It takes a cool head not to focus on the outburst, particularly when you are in the thick of it.

In the real world and I suspect here too, Mel’s actions will have an enduring effect. Try as we might to bury corporate unpleasantness, it never really goes away.

The more sensitive types will make a mental note to try and include “her” (or people like her) in the team more, or wonder how to be more up-front with a person like her.

The pressure she was under was monumental. We could reduce this pressure in our workplaces and discover more performance perhaps?

But from Mel’s perspective she simply could not “hear” the feedback she was receiving until it was far too late. It takes real skill in a team manager to make any progress with obduracy like this.

It usually takes quite a disaster to precipitate quite a change. Could this be the time for Melissa? Oh its tough!

By the time of the follow up show on BBC2 she had totally changed her appearance. Maybe just maybe…

See also: next episodes: Alex Epstein: was it unfair dismissal?

Apprentice Alex: It’s a total mess!

 Was Paloma too smooth?;

 How does Paloma’s strategy fail her?

 How do you solve a problem like Melissa?

How does surgeon Apprentice get the chop?

Is forgiveness possible at work?


About drstevelewis

Good leadership is essential for any project to succeed. I specialise in the most difficult leadership challenges; those involving the way we relate to other people or the way they relate to us. With a background of many years in business and an earlier training in medicine I combine the two in a unique consultancy.
This entry was posted in Broken relationships in business, Bullying in the work place, Confidential advice, Conflict, The Apprentice, TV reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Apprentice Mel: Are they horrible people?

  1. Yeah, completely agree with your post, its funny how they always appear so different on ‘The Apprentice, You’re Fired’ isn’t it?!

  2. Jimbob says:

    The You’re Fired show also highlighted how infuriating buzzwords and phrases are and that winners don’t use them. Period.


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