The Apprentice: How Mark Bouris Commands Power & Respect As a Leader

Backstabbing, double-crossing, fear, jubilation and collaboration. I love the TV reality show The Celebrity Apprentice! It showcases all of the dynamics HR are involved with in business, workplaces, leadership, teamwork, and ultimately people in action.

Mark Bouris is serving his 5th season as The Apprentice leadership figurehead. As the top boss, how does he command the power and respect he receives from the celebrities each week?

Here are five ways he does it…


Bouris has street cred. Unlike the celebrities he is firing, Bouris has needed more than five minutes of media & TV fame to build his credibility as a business man. Bouris has gained his power and respect through a long history of business success and experience. Formerly as founder of the highly successful Wizard Home Loans in 1996, that grew to become Australia’s second biggest, non-bank mortgage lender, behind Aussie Home Loans. He is most recently known as chairman of the successful Yellow Brick Road a finance company that he also founded in 2007. He is chairman on a number of other tech and biotech based organisations. In addition, his credibility has been gained by being named in the BRW Rich 200 List in 2005 & 2007 and receiving a membership to the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2015 for his services to the financial industry. He was appointed Adjunct professor at the University of NSW Business School as a distinguished lecturer in leadership, business, and global economics. He is an author of two books on finance and wealth, and writes a number of financial columns for some of the most recognised publications in Australia including Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Age, BRW, Smart Property Investor and more. He is an ordinary Australian who has done extraordinary things.


The Celebrities quiver with fear and reflect the faces of timid school children when they are  in the presence of Bouris. He asserts the boardroom as his domain and that he is the ultimate judge. He commands a great deal of respect through his stature, high sense of professionalism and ultimately his power to throw them out of the game. 

Bouris quickly shut down contestant James Mathison  when he implored the Yellow Brick road founder to listen to him by referring to him as ‘Mark’. “It’s not ‘Mark’ It’s Mr. Bouris”, Bouris commanded firmly. Mathison stung by his reprimand and Bouris’s commanding of formality rapidly learned his place.

The Celebrities who are used to commanding their own level of respect due to their celebrity status, found themselves on the flip side of the coin in Bouris’ boardroom.

Bouris shuts down the pandering, flirting, snitching and wingeing and gets straight to the core of what happened and what failed in their assignments.

He is Fair

Bouris skillfully enquires and he gives opportunity for outcomes to be explained. He doesn’t jump to conclusions immediately and he seeks opinion from other contestants.

He sees through the scurrilous tactics used by some contestants to survive a place in the game. He calls it out when he sees it. Yet is a straight shooter when the leadership or team qualities he is seeking are not demonstrated or utilized by Celebrity contestants.


Seeks Counsel

Bouris doesn’t assume anything. He has a consultative style and he seeks the opinion and counsel of his trusted advisors. Successful business women Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Shelley Barret are his eyes and ears on the ground to get the information he needs to make a judgement and decision. He seeks their observation and assessment of each individual’s contribution or alternativley, interference with the main goal. He also seeks counsel in the facts presented before him and avoids and is aware of when he is being manipulated.


He listens, seeks counsel, gets the facts and makes a decision in the best interest of the assigned results required. Bouris doesn’t wax and wane or get caught up in the emotion flying across the room. He makes a decision and gives a solid reason and doesn’t waver.

Want more? Read 5 Reasons Mark Bouris Says ‘You’re Fired’ On The Apprentice