Reality TV: Life lessons in Survivor

Last updated 05:00 08/08/2013
Jeff Probst

More educational than a David Attenborough nature show, Anna Johnson says Jeff Probst hosted Survivor reality TV show improved her management skills.

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Are you sick of reality TV?

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You asked me if I was sick of realty tv, and my answer is yes, for the most part. Some of it really starts to make my stomach turn.

I have never watched the Kardashians or Teen Mom or Greek Weddings or any of the like, and the ads and media coverage themselves are too much to handle.

However, I did watch the first season of Survivor and my husband got me back into it as he loves it. To tell you the truth I have actually learned more from that show than from David Attenbourgh or more high brow TV that I would be more likely to admit to watching.

To explain that comment I need to admit that I am in management - the reluctant kind of manager that got into it because they were good at their job and got promoted, rather than the natural type who want to be a boss.

I found that in my first several years as a manager I got walked all over by some of my challenging staff members and colleagues who saw me as a threat - until I really started to reflect on my work life in Survivor terms.

I started to see my colleagues and staff members as various archetypal Survivor players and understood their strategy and learnt the most important lessons Survivor teaches you.

Firstly, you need to be good at the 'social game', it is not good enough to be really smart or talented (read strategic or physical in survivor terms), so I have learnt to pretend to like and care about people I would rather keep at arms length as I find them pretty repulsive.

Second, it is all about timing, anticipation and pre-empting what the other person is likely to do to you. My management game has improved significantly.

So on the one hand I am grateful to reality TV as it has taught me valuable skills that no expensive leadership training has ever done, but on the other hand enough is enough; I think for the most part it is a depressing reflection on how low culture has gotten... and just think 'make it stop'.

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