If you were to ask someone off the street "Who is Jeremy Lin?" a couple of weeks ago, chances are they would have no idea who you were talking about. Now this New York Knicks basketball player is an instant NBA legend, and fans and non-fans alike have gone "Linsane" over his success.
GovLoop member Pat Fiorenza dug deeper, asking the community: What leadership lessons can we learn from Jeremy Lin? Fiorenza suggested several lessons, such as "hard work is contagious", "admitting failure and what you need to improve" and "shine in adversity."
Based on comments from community members, there is general agreement that there are three main leadership lessons that helped Lin succeed.
First, commitment to the team is critical -- leaders need to commit to growth, learning from their mistakes in order to help a team reach its mission.
Esther Reyes, a management consultant at Reyes Consulting elaborated on this point. "Leaders create the environment to maximize each team member's chances to succeed, understand each member's strengths and his/her contributions that go beyond the usual strengths (don't write anyone off based on assumptions or perceptions that might be wrong), learn from mistakes, and have the grace to celebrate the successes of past and current team members, especially when hindsight is 20/20."
Second, a leader needs to believe in everyone on your team, giving them the shot when it's time for someone to step up.
"If you listen to the sports writers/analysts, they'll tell you that Jeremy Lin just needed the right system and an opportunity," said Scott Thomas, Director of Communications for Young Government Leaders -- Los Angeles. "[Coach] D'Antoni's offense fits his set of skills... they picked him up but waited weeks to give him a chance."
"In the workplace I translate this to having the right people doing the right job," Thomas continues. "And, yes, don't be afraid to take a chance on someone like D'Antoni did in the second half of the Nets game when Lin was two days away from being cut. Everyone has talent -- figure out what that is and make use of it."
Finally, it is important for leaders to remember that talent is everywhere -- sometimes in places you least expect. David Dejewski, a senior executive at IDEAL Investments LLP, noted that "As a leader, I never saw my job as a talent scout. I wasn't interested in super stars or any single stand out talent. Individual talents are flashes in the pan, but creating an environment that draws the best out of the people in it -- now that's something worth doing."
Dejewski continued, "I viewed myself as a farmer. My job was to provide an environment where people could grow, then cultivate them until they could become the best they could be. Talent exists in everyone to varying degrees. It doesn't always have the necessary environment to come out. I loved being surprised and I loved success stories."