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The Apprentice: Los Angeles – Kristine Deserved to Be Firedby David Bloomberg -- 03/23/2007
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In my article on Why Muna Lost, I discussed the reasons behind Muna’s firing, as always. In general, I stick to those reasons and don’t talk about whether I believed Trump selected the right person for firing. Sometimes I’ll let a little bit slip in, but that’s not what the column is about.
This week, though, Trump’s decision went directly contrary to his claim that he is looking for a good leader to be his next Apprentice. Not because Muna showed any signs of leadership – she didn’t – but because Kristine showed incredibly poor leadership.
Before this task, we already knew that Muna had done some things to annoy Kristine. In the real world, this happens – almost all managers have at least one person working for them who, for whatever reason, irritates the manager. The key is in how the manager deals with that person. Kristine apparently dealt with it by fantasizing about doing physical harm to Muna – not exactly the healthiest way to handle the situation.
When it came time to assign tasks for the Soft Scrub task, Kristine told Muna what she wanted her to do. Specifically, she tried to use Muna’s strength – being extremely detail-oriented – in assigning her the job of watching the timelines. So I have to give Kristine points for that.
But then Kristine immediately lost those points and more when Muna said she wanted to be in front of the camera and Kristine caved in. This was the first big problem with Kristine’s management.
Kristine was the project manager. In the real world, if you have employees who don’t like to do certain types of jobs, that’s often a “tough luck” situation. They should do what their manager assigns them to do because that’s what is in the best interests of the group (whether it’s a whole company, a section, a unit, or some other division) as a whole.
It might be different if somebody were a star in one area or had shown themselves completely incompetent in another – in cases like that, a manager has to do his/her best to figure out the best work for those people. But “I don't want to” is not a good enough reason for a manager to change his/her mind. Not only does it put the entire situation at risk but the other employees get pissed off, wondering why that person gets special treatment.
In this case, Muna certainly had never shown herself to be a star actress. Quite the opposite, she’d shown herself to be very detail-oriented, thus meaning she was the best person for the job originally assigned to her.
Also, when Muna said she wanted to be in the video, my first thought watching at home was wondering how her accent would come across. That should have been Kristine's first thought too – overall, who is best for the job? Not, “How can I avoid conflict?” But she gave in to Muna to shut her up, which is a terrible management practice. Indeed, Kristine would have been much better off sticking Muna in a corner if she was that much of a problem – not making her the center of attention! Caving in to a difficult employee is about the worst thing you can do – yet that’s exactly what Trump encouraged by keeping Kristine around.
But that wasn’t Kristine’s only problem. Apparently, she never watched previous editions of The Apprentice and she had her common sense removed. She actually left at a key point – the beginning of filming – to get props. And she took Angela with her! Why did half the team, including the manager, need to go get props? Angela couldn’t do this on her own?
Kristine left at a crucial time. And when she returned, she apparently didn’t bother to check to make sure everything went okay while she was gone. These were the key scenes, the ones in which the product was explained. Yet the team didn’t realize until all filming was completed that Muna had screwed it up.
This brings up an unanswered question. James, sitting in the Boardroom, noted that Kristine could have rewound when she got back and viewed the material that had already been recorded. Did she? We don’t know. But if she did, she obviously missed the fact that Muna couldn’t really be understood. If she didn’t even view the recordings, that’s even worse!
Yes, Muna was a problem employee. As I discussed in “Why Muna Lost,” she should have had enough self-awareness to know she was not the right person to go in front of the camera. It’s often a plus when an employee steps up and says, “I want to do this,” but a good manager needs to know when to encourage the employee and when the employee needs to step back for the success of the project at hand.
But Kristine did not show the signs of a good manager. She caved in to a problem employee, directly causing the failure of the project. She left the project unsupervised at a key time, also directly causing the failure of the project. Is this the type of person Trump really wants to hire? Is this the type of behavior he wants to encourage? Maybe Muna should have been fired, but then Kristine should have been fired as well.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Apprentice articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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