Emotional Intelligence Key to Winning on "The Apprentice"

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: March 18, 2004

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Emotional intelligence is proving to be the deciding factor on who will win the dream job with Donald Trump on the hit NBC show "The Apprentice," according to a leadership professor at the University at Buffalo School of Management.

"Success in today's business world depends not only on our training and expertise, but also on how well we handle ourselves and others and our ability to learn and adapt to new and changing situations," says Muriel T. Anderson, who teaches the School of Management's Leadership PACE (Personal Achievement through Competency Evaluation), a course designed to help MBA students identify their personal limitations and develop a plan to overcome them.

Anderson points out that the main difference between outstanding and average leaders is linked to emotional intelligence -- the ability to manage one's emotions and those of others.

"Several of the contestants, namely Sam, Tammy and Omarosa, were self-assured in their abilities, but they failed to recognize how their behaviors negatively affected others," says Anderson. "It was this lack of emotional self-awareness that probably led to their firings.

"Emotionally intelligent leaders work well with others, remain calm under pressure and can motivate themselves and others," she says, noting that most of the remaining contestants have exhibited a higher level of emotional intelligence when appropriate.

"Nick doesn't hesitate to bring up ethical concerns and falls back on his values to guide him in his decision-making. Troy has been chosen most often by his peers as project manager due to his strong communication skills and ability to encourage others. And Amy has shown that she can easily build bonds with team members and clients, as well as keep her emotions and impulses in check when faced with high-pressure situations," she explains.

Now that the worst offenders have been eliminated, it will be more difficult to predict who will succeed and who will fail, but Anderson expects, "It's going to come down to emotional intelligence."

Then the real challenge begins: The winner must learn how to manage having "The Donald" as a real-life boss, Anderson says.

The University at Buffalo School of Management is ranked as one of the world's top-50 business schools by The Wall Street Journal. It also has been cited by Business Week as one of the "best business schools" in America, and by Forbes for "best return on investment." For more information about the UB School of Management, visit http://www.mgt.buffalo.edu.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York system.