Category Archives: Articles (Self Help)

4 Lin-sane Leadership Lessons

In business terms, Jeremy Lin is the underdog that took on the 800 pound gorilla and won. Here’s what entrepreneurs can learn from him.

Lin-sanity, they call it. On Sunday, February 20, the Knicks played the defending-champion Dallas Mavericks. Jeremy Lin was again on fire, scoring 28 points with 14 assists and five steals, and leading the Knicks to a 104 to 97 win. In business terms, we could think of Lin as the start-up that has the determination, drive, and ingenuity to take on the 800 pound gorillas in its market — and win.

After all, as recently as January 4, Lin had posted this to his Facebook page: “Everytime i try to get into Madison Square Garden, the security guards ask me if I’m a trainer LOL”

Every once in a while somebody like Lin comes along and defies all the stereotypes. They deliver in such a spectacular and graceful way that you can’t help but admire them. How has this young man inspired so many in such a short time? And as business leaders, what can we learn from him?

Passion and drive trump genetics and environment. What’s the NBA-sized goal for your business — and do you have the drive to get there? Nobody ever expected Jeremy Lin to become a world-famous basketball player. Yet he was determined,and patient, against remarkable odds. His parents are of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, both 5 feet 6 inches tall. Lin managed to graduate from high school without being offered any athletic scholarships, and didn’t make the All-Ivy League First Team until his senior year at Harvard. Against all odds, he worked hard and never gave up on his dream of playing in the NBA.

Maintain focus.  Despite all the Lin-sanity, Jeremy has not been distracted by the hype and attention, at least so far. He remains humble and spiritual. After a loss to the Hornets, Jeremy posted, “gotta learn from my mistakes and move on to the next one.” He’s always focused on improving his game, working with special coaches to hone the style of shooting that lets him drop a three-pointer over Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki—who towers over Lin by nine inches.

At Harvard and even now, Lin has heard bigoted jeers about his Asian heritage. Believe it or not, ESPN used the headline “Chink in the Armor” on its mobile site after Lin had nine turnovers in New York’s loss to the Hornets. “I don’t think it was on purpose or whatever, but they have apologized and so from my end I don’t care anymore,” Lin said in a TV interview. For entrepreneurs, the lesson is clear: Never let ignorant non-believers get in your way.

Share the glory. Jeremy is not only humble, he’s very smart. Despite all his talent he’s the first to recognize the importance of a team. As an entrepreneur, you may be fortunate enough to be singled out for your success. It’s critical to recognize the people who enable your success and keep it on track every day.

Lin’s a generous player who makes his teammates better, sharing the ball and the glory. “This team is so unselfish and has so much heart,” he posted on Facebook. “Love playing with them!” Does your team know how much you love playing and working with them, too?

Avoid personal fouls.  In business it’s tempting to charge ahead recklessly. Many professional athletes disrespect their opponents, bad-mouthing them and throwing their weight around. But Jeremy plays with focused determination, a team approach, and a humble and passionate nature — the same characteristics that inspire customers and employees. Now I’m no basketball player — and a few inches shy of 6 foot 3 — but I do know smart business owners can achieve amazing feats of success when they play heads-up ball.


René Shimada Siegel is Founder and President of High Tech Connect, a specialized consultant placement firm for marketing and communications experts. You can follow her on twitter at @renesiegel.

Leadership Inspires Motivation

Daily Leadership Behaviors That Inspire Motivation

By , Guide


Want to spend your time in leadership activities that inspire motivation, trust, and certainty while dispelling employee fear, negativity, and skepticism? During times of change, no actions are more powerful than when leaders make the time to communicate and build relationships.

When leadership shares vision, optimism, and purpose driven goals, motivation and commitment from employees is ensured. Jon Gordon, author of Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture (compare prices), who participated in an earlier interview about managers and motivation, recommends these six leadership actions to inspire motivation.

Communicate Daily With Employees

Communication is a powerful tool that leadership can use to create an environment that brings forth employee motivation. Communication provides information, makes employees feel important and recognized, and provides the glue that binds a workforce with their leadership and their organization.

“Communicate with transparency, authenticity, and clarity. Whether you have a scheduled morning meeting  each day, make office rounds in the afternoon, or take  your team to lunch,  make it a priority to make time to talk to each  and every member of  your  team on a regular basis. You may be busy, but, the truth of the matter is that you really can’t afford not  to,” Gordon recommends.

Transfer Leadership’s Optimism

“As a leader, your  most important weapon against pessimism (prevalent in recent years) is to transfer your optimism  and vision to others. This inspires others to think and act in ways  that drive results.

”Leadership is a transfer of belief — and  great leaders inspire their teams to believe they can succeed. As a leader and manager, you are not just leading  and managing people, but you are also leading and managing their  beliefs. You must utilize every opportunity available to transfer your  optimism,” Gordon says.

”From town hall meetings to daily emails to individual  conversations to weekly teleconferences, it’s imperative that  you  share your optimism with your team. Optimism is a competitive advantage, and you need to convey it in all you say and do. As one of the greatest American innovators, Henry Ford, said, ‘Think you can, or  think you can’t — either way you are correct.’”

Leadership Shares the Vision

Gordon recommends that to inspire employee motivation, leadership must, “Share  the vision. It’s not enough to just be optimistic. You must give your  team and organization something to be optimistic about. Talk about where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. Share your plan for a brighter and better future, talk about the actions you must take, and constantly reiterate the reasons why you will be  successful. Create a vision statement that inspires and rallies your team and organization.”

Leadership Builds Relationships

“Relationships build real motivation.  It’s much easier to motivate someone if you know them and they know  you.  After all, if you don’t take the time to get to know the people who are working for you, then how can you ever truly know the  best way to lead, coach, and motivate them effectively? And, for that  matter, how can you expect them to trust and follow you if  they don’t  know you as well?”

“Relationships are the foundation upon which  winning teams and organizations are built,” says Gordon. “I advise  managers to make their relationship with their employees their number  one priority. In fact, I’ve worked with numerous NFL coaches and have  seen firsthand how the most successful coaches and best motivators are  those who develop meaningful relationships with their players. The  same strategy that works on the playing field works in the office as  well.”

Leadership Creates Purpose-Driven Goals

Gordon recommends: “Create purpose-driven goals. When it comes down to it,  the real force behind motivation has nothing to do with money or  number-driven goals. Real motivation is driven by purpose and a desire  to make a difference. In fact, people are most energized when they are  using their strengths for  a purpose beyond themselves. When employees  feel as though the work they do is playing an integral role in the  overall success of the company and the world, they are motivated to  work harder.”

”Similarly, when they feel as though they are working for  something more than just the bottom line, they feel good about the  work they are doing. So as a leader, you will want to  motivate your team by focusing less on  number goals and more on  purpose-driven goals,” Gordon explains. “It’s not the numbers that  drive your people but your people and purpose that drive the numbers. Sit down with each individual on your team and talk through their personal goals and how you see those goals fit in to the bigger  picture. Give them a sense of purpose that will fuel their fire towards taking action.”

Leadership Nourishes the Team

These may seem like  strange words to apply to the workplace. But Gordon insists they are  spot-on. He says, “The main question that every employee in every  organization wants to know is, ‘Do you care about  me; can I trust  you?’ If your answer is yes, they will be more likely to stay on the  bus and work with you. Employees who feel cared for, honored, and  nourished are more engaged in what they’re doing and will work at their highest potential.”

Think about it: Gallup’s research shows that employees who think their managers care  about them are more loyal and productive than those who do not think  so. If you nourish your team and take the time to invest in them, they  will pay you back in productivity, creativity, and loyalty. If your employees know that you care about them, they will want to do good  work for you. It’s the greatest motivator of  all.”

“Remember this simple formula,” Gordon concludes. “Belief plus action   equals results. If you don’t believe that something can happen, then you  won’t take the actions necessary to create it. If you believe that  your  team can do big things, they will believe it, too. And that  belief will  fuel the fires of action and provide you with the results  you’re looking for.”

How to Be Liked at Work (or Anywhere)

These 6 simple rules virtually guarantee that the people you work with will want you around.

By Geoffrey James | @Sales_Source |
Feb 14, 2012

Want coworkers and customers to enjoy being in your company? Just follow these absurdly simple rules.

1. Be curious about people. Likeable people are typically genuinely interested in others, enthusiastic, and eager to help.  If you’re curious about people, it’s much easier to build rapport.

2. Make a good first impression. The opening minute of any new interaction creates an impression that is difficult to change.  Dress appropriately, smile, look people in the eye, and have an appropriately firm handshake.

3. Listen more than you talk. If you find yourself talking about your weekend, your golf game, your family or your job, then you’re probably talking too much and not listening nearly enough.

4. Get people’s names right.  When meeting someone for the first time, spend the mental energy to remember his or her name. Be fanatic about pronunciation, especially with unusual names. You should care–and it should show.

5. Remember personal details.  Keep track of anything personal that co-workers or customers reveal, like birthdays and the names of family members.  Find ways to show that you remembered what they decided to reveal.

6. Only speak positively about others.  Whatever the temptation, avoid criticizing anyone. This includes competitors, politicians, celebrities … and especially other co-workers. People shy away from trash talkers.

Just Lin, Baby! 10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning

Lin-sanity has swept up the NBA over the last week.  Now it seems like the phenomenon has gone worldwide.

Friday’s 38 point performance by Harvard grad Jeremy Lin for the New York Knicks against the LA Lakers was his greatest performance yet as a starter, since he burst on to the scene and propelled the team to 4 straight wins.

Lin now has over 200,000 followers on Twitter.  He’s got over 800,000 on Weibo – including 200,000 new ones in the 24 hour period after beating the Lakers.

But there’s more to this story than basketball.  This isn’t just a modern-day, real-life version of the Hoosiers movie.  The Jeremy Lin story is incredibly popular because we can all see a little bit of ourselves in this man’s struggles and now successes.

What can all of us learn from this young man — and how can we apply these same lessons to our own lives when we go back to work on Monday morning?

1. Believe in yourself when no one else does. Lin’s only the 3rd graduate from Harvard to make it to the NBA.  He’s also one of only a handful of Asian-Americans to make it. He was sent by the Knicks to play for their D-League team 3 weeks ago in Erie, PA.  He’d already been cut by two other NBA teams before joining the Knicks this year.  You’ve got to believe in yourself, even when no one else does.

2. Seize the opportunity when it comes up. Lin got to start for the Knicks because they had to start him.  They had too many injuries. Baron Davis was gone.  The other point guards were out.  Carmelo Anthony was injured.  Amare Stoudemire had to leave the team because of a family death.  Lin could have squandered the opportunity and we would have never have noticed.  But he made the most of it.  You never know when opportunities are going to arise in life.  Often, they’re when you least expect them.  Make the most of them. Don’t fritter them away.

3. Your family will always be there for you, so be there for them. It wasn’t until a few days ago that Lin got his contract guaranteed by the Knicks for the rest of the season.  Before that, he could have been cut at any time.  He had to sleep on his brother’s couch on the Lower East Side to get by.  His family always believed in him and picked him up when he could have gotten down on himself.  That made him continue to believe.  If you want your family to believe in you like that, you’ve got to be there for them too when they need it.

4. Find the system that works for your style. Lin isn’t Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.  He’s not a pure scorer.  He’s a passer and distributor – who can also score very well.  It didn’t work for him in Golden State or Houston – where he was before landing at the Knicks.  But Mike D’Antoni’s system at the Knicks has been perfect for him to show off his strengths.  You’ve got to do your best to understand what your strengths are and then ensure that you’re in a system (a job or organization or industry) that is a good fit for those strengths. Otherwise, people overlook the talents you bring to the table.

5. Don’t overlook talent that might exist around you today on your team. You probably manage people at your own company today.  Are you sure you don’t have a Jeremy Lin living among you now?  How do you know that “Mike” couldn’t do amazing things if you gave him a new project to run with? How do you know “Sarah” isn’t the right person to take the open job in London that you’ve been talking over with your colleagues?  We put people around us in boxes.  He’s from Harvard.  He’s Asian-American.  Not sure he can play.  How many assumptions have you made about talent around you?  Don’t be like the General Managers in Golden State and Houston, and let talent slip through your fingers.  With all their money, scouts, and testing, they didn’t have a clue what they had in their hands.  Do you know what your people (or even yourself) is really capable of?  Take off the blinders of assumptions you wear when you look at the world.

6. People will love you for being an original, not trying to be someone else. You’ve got to be you.  You can’t be some 2nd rate copy of Michael Jordan.  There will never be another Michael Jordan.  Just be Jeremy Lin — yourself.  Whatever that is.  That doesn’t mean you don’t work hard — it just means you find what you’re good at and do it.  Fans will love you for being you, just like they love Jeremy Lin.  Judy Garland said it best:

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

7. Stay humble. If you one day are lucky enough to have newspapers want to put you on the cover in order to sell more, don’t let it get to your head.  It’s been remarkable watching how humble Lin remains through all this media frenzy.  It makes his teammates and fans love him that much more.

8. When you make others around you look good, they will love you forever. I didn’t know how good Tyson Chandler was, until I saw him playing with Jeremy Lin.  Lin has set Chandler up many times over the last week for easy dunks because he drew the defense and then passed the ball.  That’s partly why the Knicks are playing so well.  They are all working harder to share the ball with others.  And it’s beautiful to watch.  And when the media swarms Lin, he tells them how good his teammates are.  Do the same with your peers and reports.

9. Never forget about the importance of luck or fate in life. Some people believe in God, some in destiny, some in luck. Whatever you believe in, be grateful for it.

10. Work your butt off. Lin couldn’t have seized his opportunity if he hadn’t worked like crazy for years perfecting his skills. There are no short cuts to hard work.  Success is a by product of that.  If you’ve got a Tiger Mom who’s always pushed you to work hard, great.  If not, let your conscience be your own Tiger Mom!  Get up early, stay up late.  Nobody gave Lin any free passes. Why should you get any?  You can only control what you control and that means you’ve got to work harder than anyone else you know.

I hope the Lin-sanity continues.  And I hope we all can apply these lessons to our own work and family life.


Eric Jackson


Eric Jackson is Founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital LLC. He completed his Ph.D. in the Management Department at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, with a specialization in Strategic Management. You can follow Jackson on Twitter at @ericjackson or on Sina Weibo at Email:

The Best Answer To Job Interview Questions Part 4

16) How much do you expect to get paid?

Before you start talking pay (and salary negotiations) with a prospective employer, you need to find out how much the job (and you) are worth.  You will need to take the time to research salaries. That way you will be prepared to get what you’re worth and to get a job offer that’s realistic and reasonable.

Salary Negotiations

Once you know what you should be earning, how do you go about getting it? Start by being very patient. When interviewing for a new position, do your best not to bring up compensation until the employer makes you an offer. If you’re asked what your salary requirementsare, say that they are open based upon the position and the overall compensation package. Or tell the employer you’d like to know more about the responsibilities and the challenges of the job prior to discussing salary.

Another option is to give the employer a salary rangebased upon the salary research you’ve done up front. Once you’ve received the offer you don’t need to accept (or reject) it right away. A simple “I need to think it over” can get you an increase in the original offer.

And if you’re ambivalent about the position a “no” can bring you a better offer too. I turned down a position I knew I didn’t want, regardless of salary, and received three follow-up phone calls upping the compensation package. Be careful though, if you do definitely need that new job there’s a risk that the employer may accept your declining the position and move on to the next candidate.

Negotiating a Raise

If you are currently employed and want a raise, start by being prepared. Gather your salary survey information, recent performance appraisals that document the job you’re doing, and any other relevant information. Be aware of company policy regarding compensation. Some employers are limited by budget constraints and can only give raises at certain times of the year, regardless of the circumstances.

Have a clear idea of what you want.  Determine the salary range you’re looking for and justification for the increase and have both ready to review with your supervisor. Be flexible. Would you consider an extra couple of weeks vacation instead of a raise? I know someone who has regularly taken time-off instead of money and now has six vacation weeks a year… Then, ask your supervisor for a meeting to discuss salary. Present your request, supported by documentation, calmly and rationally. Don’t ask for an immediate answer. Your boss is mostly likely going to have to discuss it with Human Resources and/or other company managers.

Despite your best efforts, there may simply not be enough money in the budget to increase your salary or compensation package offer. The company may also not want to create inequities by paying one person more than others in a similar position. In that case, you can at least know you tried. Plus, if this is a job you really think that you’re going to love, consider whether the company culture, the benefits, and the job itself are worth it – regardless of the salary.

17) How would you describe the pace at which you work?

When you’re asked to describe the pace at which you work, be careful how you respond.  This is another question where faster isn’t necessarily better.  Most employers would rather hire employees who work at a steady pace.  Someone who is too slow to get the job done in a reasonable time frame isn’t going to be a good hire. Neither is a candidate who works frenetically all day.

Options for answering this question include saying that you work at a steady pace, but usually complete work in advance of the deadline. Discuss your ability to manage projects and get them done on, or ahead, of schedule. If you work at a job where you have set criteria (i.e. number of calls made or responsed to) that measures accomplishments, discuss how you have achieved or exceeded those goals.

18) How would you describe yourself?

Review sample answers to the interview question “How would you describe yourself?”  When you respond, keep in mind the type of position you are interviewing for, the company culture, and the work environment.  Your answer should help show the interviewer why you’re a match for the job and for the company.

  • I’m a people person. I really enjoy meeting and working with a lot of different people.
  • I’m a perfectionist. I pay attention to all the details, and like to be sure that everything is just right.
  • I’m a creative thinker. I like to explore alternative solutions to problems and have an open mind about what will work best.
  • I’m efficient and highly organized. This enables me to be as productive as possible on the job.
  • I enjoy solving problems, troubleshooting issues, and coming up with solutions in a timely manner.

19) How would you handle it if your boss was wrong?

The question “If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something, how would you handle this?” is asked to find out how you deal with a difficult situation.

Best Answers

An answer that works well is:  “It depends on the situation and the personality of the supervisor.”  To elaborate, give examples:

My present supervisor does not like to have his authority questioned.  He’s fairly new on the job and almost all of the people he supervises have been on the job longer than he has.  He’s never bothered to learn the procedures, how things are done or how the computer system works.  But if any of us tell him that how he wants something done won’t work, he gets extremely angry.  So, I never tell him he’s wrong.  Never.  Whatever he tells me to do, I smile and say “okay.”  Then if I know a way to get it done that will work, I do it that way, give him the results he wants and never tell him I didn’t do it the way he told me to.  He got the results and is happy.  I saved myself the stress of being yelled at and gave him what he wanted, so I’m happy.

My prior superviser was more easy-going and if I told her “you know, I think it might work better if I do what you asked in such and such a way,” she say “okay, try it.”

If I were a new hire on a job, I would probably not question a supervisor because I might think I didn’t know enough.  Except on the new job I’m going to.  The director has admitted that she’s new on the job and there are alot of things that a secretary does that she doesn’t know how to do, so she will be depending on me to know how to keep the office running.

20) If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say?

When the interviewer asks “If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say?” he or she wants to know what your perception is of what others think about your qualifications and abilities.

Best Answer

I’m sure if you asked my friends that question they would say you should hire me because I have the skills outlined in the job description and I bring 10+ years of expertise to this position.  Words they’ve used to describe me are:  hard working, professional, trusted and a team player.








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6 Tips for Dealing With Age Discrimination

An increasing number of laid-off employees are claiming that they were unfairly dismissed because of age.

In 2008, workers filed 24,582 complaints of age bias with theEqual Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC).  That’s up from 19,103 in 2007 and the highest level of age discrimination charges documented in records dating back 12 years.

“When economic times are bad and people are losing their jobs, there tends to be an increase in litigation activities because people are  looking for a reason to explain why it is that they are affected rather than someone else,” saysRae Vann, a partner with  Norris, Tysse, Lampley, & Lakis, which describes itself as a “management-side labor and employment law firm.”

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, it’s illegal to discriminate against anyone age 40 or older in the workplace with  regard to hiring, layoffs, promotions, pay, and benefits.

Here’s what you should do if you think age is playing a role in your workplace woes:

Refute stereotypes

If you’re still employed and are an older worker, you should make an effort to negate stereotypes that seniors are less flexible and energetic than younger workers or that they are uncomfortable with technology. “You really need to show that you are better than your colleagues, whatever age they may be,” saysCathy Ventrell-Monsees, an employment discrimination attorney and president of Workplace Fairness, an employment rights nonprofit organization. Taking a few classes to keep yourself valuable is a great way to stay ahead of the curve.

Collect evidence

If you think you were laid off or denied a promotion unfairly because of your age, you will generally need proof. “The individual has to demonstrate that they are over age 40, performing their job in an acceptable fashion, and were replaced by a more highly paid younger employee while the older employee was let go,” saysEric Dreiband, a partner at the law firmJones Dayand former EEOC general counsel. “Typically, the proof involves statistics that demonstrate that the overall plan to lay people off tended to affect workers over age 40 disproportionately.” Collect documents that indicate you performed at least equally as other employees on the job. “Keep a record of performance evaluations and gather what evidence you can to see if you were treated differently than similarly paid workers,” says Ventrell-Monsees.

Know the time limit

An age discrimination charge must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the date of the alleged violation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects workers ages 40 and older who work for companies that have at least 20 employees. Some state and local laws extend the filing limit to 300 days.

Carefully consider buyout offers

Workers can be asked to waive their right to pursue age discrimination charges in exchange for a buyout, severance pay, or an early retirement incentive offer. “Oftentimes those types of agreements are accompanied by or include agreements not to sue the company for claims that could have been raised at that time,” says Vann. You may want to consult an attorney if you think you were singled out because of age. Employers are required to give workers at least 21 days to consider an offer, which increases to 45 days for a group layoff. After signing the contract, employees have seven days to revoke it. Make sure that you have a legitimate claim before passing up the cash. “If you have a court case and you don’t win, you miss out on your severance agreement,” cautionsMichael Campion, a professor of management atPurdue University. “In seven years you might get money, or you might not get any more than you did in your severance.”

Try internal routes

If you still work for the company, try voicing your concerns to your supervisor or the human resources department. “When an older worker confronts the differential treatment from the supervisors, sometimes they don’t even realize at the time that they were treating the older worker less favorably,” says Ventrell-Monsees. Sometimes you can correct the situation internally without going to court.

Think logically about your layoff

Older workers are especially vulnerable after a layoff because it generally takes them more time to find a new job. The typical   laid-off worker age 55 and over was unemployed for 28.6 weeks in July, compared with 23.4 weeks for younger workers, according to   theBureau of Laborstatistics.

“Everyone who gets let go is mad, and they all think they are getting ripped off,” says Campion. But that doesn’t necessarily mean   that you were a victim of age discrimination or that you should pursue a legal remedy.

Try to think logically about whether you have solid proof that age played a role in your layoff.   “I’m in my mid-50s, and not a day goes by when I don’t make a joke about aging,” says Campion.   “It’s funny until you lose your job and then all of sudden age is not funny.”


By: Emily Brandon