Strictly Come Dancing vs The Apprentice: lessons for your career

Why we want one group of people to fail and the other group to succeed


Strictly Come Dancing 2016

You'd be forgiven for thinking that the antics of the reality stars of the Autumn TV schedule have nothing to do with your career, but you'd be wrong, because the Apprentice candidates and Strictly Come Dancing contestants hold four vital lessons that everyone could benefit from at work.

If you were to consider Strictly, then there's a reasonable chance you have a favourite that you'd like to see win - and depending on how obsessed you are, who else you'd like to see in the final and whether Ed Balls ought to make it to Blackpool

For The Apprentice, on the other hand, you're far more likely to have a least favourite, who you feel ought to be for the chop as soon as possible - whether that's tearful Jessica, or 'K', the man with a truly terrifyingly runaway ego.

Now ask yourself how you would like people to see you at work. Do you want people cheering you on, or lining up ready to watch you fail? If you'd like a spot of support, there are four ways to ensure you end up more like a Strictly contestant than an Apprentice candidate.

1. Know yourself

Human beings are social animals, obsessed with hierarchy. We assess people around us in our own personal hierarchy, and we are well aware from their behaviour where they think they sit. If their opinion of themselves is too high, we look forward to that great moment when they are brought down a peg or two - closer to where we think they belong.

This doesn't mean you should undersell yourself. Instead, work on understanding your position, and not letting yourself get carried away.

2. Work like hell

There are two kinds of people we particularly like to see do well on Strictly: we like the talented people whose skill is recognised, and we like the hard workers. In fact we like the hard workers even more, because we appreciate success hasn't come to easily to them. The harder you work, the more those around you will want you to succeed.

3. Understand how to shine in a team

Every Strictly contestant spends most of their time on screen talking about everyone else, and what a brilliant team they have. They recognise the contributions of others and put them front and centre. Then when it comes to moments when they have to shine as an individual, they go hell for leather.

Apprentice candidates do exactly the opposite. They spend their screen time explaining how they are a star, and then when it comes to the task, they underperform. It's no wonder we can't wait to see them in a taxi explaining how one day Lord Sugar will be begging them for a job.

4. Keep your emotion under control

This may seem entirely unfair, because there has been plenty of crying on both shows. However, there's an enormous difference. In The Apprentice, we have seen people throw their toys out of the pram or burst into self-pitying tears, because they were unhappy with how a member of their team spoke about a table lamp.

On Strictly, meanwhile, the contestants bust a gut to do their very best in an area they never claimed to be an expert in, before being hauled in front of a panel who point out every tiny fault: they don't even have a chance to get their breath back before being ripped to shreds. It's no wonder we get behind people who show calm dignity and a willingness to learn at a time like that.

In fact the only way in which The Apprentice candidates make more convincing business role models is in their wardrobes - and even then it's a close-run thing.

But what do you think? Who would you rather work with? Let us know in the comments.


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