I enjoy watching Survivor on television. I have watched it from the beginning. Beyond the general entertainment and fun, I focus on the organizational psychology at play. It is too much fun to see these groups so quickly form small group alliances based on minimal information and then break down over time. Yep, must watch TV.
In my years watching the show I noticed a phenomena that repeats often on the show:
Let‘s vote off the leader as soon as possible.
Who is the said leader with a destiny to get voted off? So often it is the person who has both experience and the attributes of a leader. They want to help and do good for their tribe on the show.
So what is the problem … these folks generally go over the top and declare themselves the leader. A hint for all of us … do not ever declare yourself as the leader. Without an external source setting you up as the leader, you can not declare yourself as the leader of a group. Even when set as the leader of a group in your organization, work to earn the trust of the team you lead.
It is best for the team to call you their leader than for you to call yourself their leader. You are the leader once the team says you are the leader.
On the show it is best to work and serve the rest of the tribe and when the host asks who the leader is, the group says your name. At that point you are their leader and will go far in the show.
Leadership can not be forced. In an artificial situation such as the Survivor TV show, people with the best intentions leveraging their background, try to make themselves the leader. This path is the means to getting the tribe to turn on you and getting voted off.
I wonder … my employees and I are placed onto a desert island in the manner of Survivor. While I have the pre-existing situation that I am their leader, how do I survive the island? I would need to reinforce my ability to lead by working closely with the team toward our common good. I would need to be seen as an asset, not a liability.
Ask yourself …
Would the first act of your employees be to vote you off the island?
Are you working for the common good?
Are you seen as an asset, not a liability?