I’m not one to keep up with the Kardashians, but I do appreciate a bit of garbage reality TV every once in a while.  My latest adventure was E! Network’s Bridalplasty, in which 12 engaged women compete for the perfect wedding, completed by multiple plastic surgeries in the process.

The show was what you would expect—cat fights, alliances, tears, yelling—the whole shebang.  But what I didn’t expect was to get some great pointers on how to be an effective team player in a business.  Reality shows are essentially a business—one of entertainment—therefore, business practices are exercised regularly on reality shows.

Here are 5 unexpected teamwork tips I learned from watching Bridalplasty:

  1. Don’t be a downer.  Women who had consistent negative attitudes did not do so well on the show.  No one wanted to be around them and they brought general morale down.  However, when a woman got out of her funk and showed a more positive attitude, she not only gained the respect of others on the show, she regained a sense of confidence.
  2. Pull your own weight.  One of the worst parts of working in a team is the lack of balance that can occur.  Usually, there is a leader who delegates tasks that the team is responsible for completing.  However, when someone slacks, the rest have to work harder.  Even if you aren’t working in a defined team, your entire workplace is a team setting since each department is involved in the processes that make up the business.  By pulling your own weight, you prove to your team that you are a team player and you  allow them to do their jobs.  Those who don’t pull their weight can and will be replaced by those who do.
  3. Don’t walk on other people.  While it was exciting to watch the self-proclaimed “Puppet Master” try to run the whole competition, she also created a house full of enemies by doing so.  This type of person can be very successful in life, but loses the respect and trust of others, ultimately having more enemies than friends.
  4. Be honest with others.Benjamin Franklin wisely said “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”  Viewers saw in multiple cases how dishonesty ruined the game for many of the women and how honesty helped one win.  Telling the truth, while sometimes difficult, leads to appreciation, trust and respect from others.
  5. Underdogs can (and will) prevail! The great thing about underdogs is while they usually have to work a lot harder than others to achieve a goal (that’s what makes them an underdog), their hard work pays off and they are eventually rewarded for it.  Underdogs work closely with peers so they gain a lot of respect and support on their path to success.  People love for the underdog to come out ahead because it proves that anyone can be a winner, regardless of their situation.

While reality shows are a great business model example, they are more accelerated so what happens in a reality show may not occur for several months or years in an actual business.  In the real world, coworkers aren’t forced to live together and have every move recorded 24/7 so it can take longer to build alliances and enemies.  But the main points of building a solid team are there and applicable to a work environment.

What teamwork tips have you learned from reality shows?

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