Celebrity Apprentice Isn’t for Everyone

April 30, 2012


… but I enjoy watching people work in groups, especially celebrities. Thinking back to business school days, I recall the concept of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing, a process clearly evident as the teams form on Apprentice. That is, until The Donald mixes teams up and the process starts all over again – a brilliant strategy to draw out authentic personalities.

A couple of people have stood out in that high-conflict kind of way this season – Lisa Lampanelli and Aubrey O’Day. I still don’t know who Aubrey is or how she became a celebrity. Lisa is an abrasive, highly successful comedian.  I don’t have enough room in this blog to write about both of them – their behaviors could fill a book – so I’ll focus on Aubrey, who appears as the best project manager (EVER, in her mind, having actually likened herself to The Donald – to his face — at one point).

She’s intelligent, creative, driven and enjoys endless energy. Doesn’t hurt that she’s gorgeous. This is where our expectations get screwed up. We look at the package presented, see the bottom line results she can produce and get confused about her stunning depths of destructiveness on the team.

Case in point, when Arsenio Hall led the team, he ended up losing his mind (believe me, this is an understatement) (his team won) after holding it together in the boardroom. He completely over-reacted in a major meltdown after Aubrey repeatedly poked him with the proverbial needle under the table, then went into victim mode when things didn’t go her way. Tears work for her. She projected, bullied, and used every last ounce of energy to make her teammates look inferior.

This is where we get it wrong. Arsenio comes off looking as hot-headed, explosive and temperamental while Aubrey holds herself as not just a jewel in the crown – as the actual crown. Her behavior patterns are easily identifiable once you understand high-conflict personalities (see: “It’s All Your Fault” for more information about HCPs).

So the question is, what do you do when you have a high-producing employee who sucks up to the boss, but slays everyone around her? Do you keep her? Move her? Fire her? You know she causes major trouble, which shoots morale and causes retention problems.

Limits and consequences are required. Just like small children, high-conflict people will test boundaries and limits, so they need those around them to set limits and follow through with consequences when boundaries are breached. And yes, that may mean she would eventually be let go. Some HCPs can behave better with limits and consequences but some may not, and if they do not, the behavior is too destructive to her colleagues. It’s simply not worth the negativity and low morale sure to come with such behavior.

The next question is, how do her fellow colleagues deal with her? We’ll save that for next time. Stay tuned.

About Unhooked Books
unHooked Books is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. We’re not just an online bookstore. I opened unHooked Books after seeing a need for one place for people to find the best and most current information available on personality disorders and borderline personality disorder in particular, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. After 15 years in divorce and child support law in a county prosecutor’s office and the Arizona Supreme Court, I co-founded High Conflict Institute which helps people in high-conflict disputes of any kind. This bookstore stemmed from the needs of the people who contacted us out of desperation. Our books are written by people who are experts in their fields. I’ve personally met and worked with most of them, and those who I haven’t met, come highly recommended by those whom I have met. Enjoy perusing our bookstore and contact us with questions or comments. Thanks for stopping by! Megan Hunter unHooked Books megan@unhookedbooks.com
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2 Responses to “Celebrity Apprentice Isn’t for Everyone”


  1. During Sunday’s show, I was explaining to my teenager that Aubrey’s narcissism was likely a result of being bullied in her youth. Sadly it appears the tide has turned. Not sure if you follow their tweets, but Lisa and Aubrey tend to team up as best bully buds. You could see this whenever Lisa was being abhorrent to Dayana and Aubrey was smiling. It was odd because my son said the way Aubrey acts reminds him of her mom, my ex-wife. But then he surprised me because he said he likes Lisa. Lisa’s crude outbursts and devaluing remind me of my borderline wife, his step-mom. I told him I wish I could remain as calm and seemingly unaffected like Dayana did. I googled her, and apparently the trauma of being kidnapped helped her establish such poise. My son offered to kidnap me as he bearhugged me. We definately enjoy watching this show, and it is a good source of social psychology.


    • Thanks for your comments. Yes, Lisa and Aubrey became best bully buds, or as we call them, Negative Advocates.Together they held great power on the team, but did you notice the diminishment of power once they were placed on separate teams. However, they continued to support each other across team lines while in the boardroom. Interesting that you and your son had different comparisons about Lisa/Aubrey and mom/step-mom. Both Lisa and Aubrey engage in personal attacks, a tell-tale sign of HCP behavior but Aubrey manages to regulate her emotions during the attacks and performs them with a smile, while Lisa’s inability to regulate her emotions results in harsh, extremely negative personal attacks. The best thing you can do for your son is to continue demonstrating the opposite behaviors to him, such as showing him how to stay calm when under attack, and explaining to him that Lisa and Aubrey have good behaviors and bad behaviors like all of us. The difference is they lack the skills to manage their emotions and have moderate behaviors. If your son learns how to manage his emotions, have moderate behaviors and flexible thinking, he will be a reasonable person…….that’s what all of us should desire to be.


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