Let’s start by saying something really obvious: There is no perfect way to lead.
But, oh gosh, did make Michaela make a bad move when she tried to become a vocal leader over at Ikabula. For the most part, the Millennials at that tribe hadn’t really experienced tribal council. And when they did, Jay and Michelle really ran the show. Now all of a sudden, Michaela tried to draw up the rest of the season in the sand.
In some organizations, a real strong, opinionated leader is needed. Call it the Steve Jobs approach. But, you know, in other settings, a more reasoned and team-oriented approach is necessary. The best leaders recognize what the group needs and reacts.
Now, in football, of course, coaches basically have to act as dictators, so we’re not necessarily talking about different types of leadership. But, I would argue, consistently good coaches adapt to the team around them and put players in the best position to succeed.
Time and time again in the NFL, we see the crappiest of crappy coaches say they have a “system” and the players need to fit into that, regardless of whether the personnel grouping warrants it. That never happens in New England. The team constantly changes to reflect the talent on the roster. And it’s why regardless of the makeup of the team and whether it’s Tom Brady or Matt Cassel or some dude named Jimmy G. quarterbacking, the Patriots win.
Other coaches? Well, sometimes personnel lines up and a successful season happens. But other times, coaches force square pegs into round holes and the team suffers. That’s the way it goes.
So what does all this football talk have to do with Survivor? I’m glad you asked.
I would argue that if we were to classify Bill Belichick as a leader, we’d say he’s functionalist. You see, while there are dozens upon dozens of theories of leadership, my favorite happens to be functional theory.
Popularized by the scholar John Adair, at its core, functional theory argues that the best leaders take a look at their group, ascertain the group’s needs and fulfills those. Once the needs are satiated, the group can then act with the most cohesion and in the most effective manner possible. The key here is that leadership is subtle. It’s not a showy, do this, do that kind of thing. A good leader looks at the group individually, makes judgements about each member and what they particularly need to succeed and provides that.
Michaela, well, she did a piss poor job of that. First, she should have known that Jay, especially, still holds some allegiance with Taylor and Michelle. She should also have realized, by now, that Jay also fancies himself a bit of a leader. So while sitting Jay, Will and Hannah down and dictating a plan may have the best approach to take with, say, Hannah, it was definitely a bad idea with Jay.
The editors made it seem like the decision by Jay and Will to boot Michaela came from a fear of her intelligence. Now, I’m sure that’s part of it. But, I guarantee, a major part of the decision was made once Michaela tried to take over as a vocal leader. That’s not what Jay or Will needed. They needed to feel like they lived in a democracy. Michaela didn’t get that and, for that reason, she got the boot.
OK, well now let’s take one last look at the remaining castaways as members of distinct tribes. A 13-person merge is a bit much for my liking, but it sure looks like we’ll be seeing a merge episode next week.
This sure doesn’t seem to make sense from week to week. And this is when we had a theme and clear tribes. I imagine we’re in for a quite a surprising merge next week. Let’s see what happens.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He's seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he'll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.