Leadership Lessons from Jeremy Lin and the Linsanity Craze

Jeremy Lin is everywhere. It must be pretty amazing to be him. Sinking game winning shots, scoring 20+ points a night, making incredible passes, and making NBA All Stars look like they are playing on a Junior Varsity basketball team. As a Knicks fan, I am thrilled that Jeremy Lin has surfaced. As a sports fan, I am baffled as to how so many teams let this guy slip through the cracks. It’s still to be seen if Jeremy Lin is just a fad and how he will play when the rest of the team is back, but my New York roots are hoping he is here to stay.

The case of Jeremy Lin and LINsanity has brought up a lot of interesting questions. How do you identify talent? How do you give someone the chance they need? How do your stars handle the new kid on the block? I am really fascinated about how the team will respond when everyone is healthy. My gut tells me that Jeremy Lin is going to adapt just fine when the stars come back, and the Knicks are going to keep rolling. Lin brings a lot of positive energy to the team, and positive energy is contagious. He has a great perspective on his new found fame, and I love how he handles himself in the press. He always admits he has areas he can improve and is a great team player. I’ve got a good feeling that Carmelo and Amare will pick up on Lin’s leadership, and the team will keep winning.

So here are 10 quick lessons we can learn from Jeremy Lin:

  1. Talent is everywhere and sometimes in places you least expect
  2. Believe in everyone on your staff, take a shot on them when you need someone to step up
  3. If you get really famous really quick, people do linsane things with your name
  4. I am having an incredible sports year so far (Giants, Syracuse, Knicks)
  5. Good leadership is contagious
  6. Hard-work is contagious
  7. Admitting failure and what you need to improve on is a sign of an invested leader
  8. Natural leaders shine in adversity
  9. Cream rises to the top, even quicker with a good attitude – good performers get noted and awarded, but a great attitude is an important part of the equation
  10. Commitment to the team is critical – commit to grow and learn from mistakes, help your team reach your mission

There are so many great lessons of leadership from Jeremy Lin – what are some lessons you have seen?

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Pat Fiorenza

Thanks Rod! Appreciate you sharing. It’s a remarkable story and is going to be interesting to follow over the next couple months. Lots of great leadership lessons.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Great post, Pat!

America must really be needing heroes these days. The frenzy feels suspiciously familiar to the Tebow Mania of a few short weeks ago…

Scott Thomas

If you listen to the sports writers/analysts, they’ll tell you that Jeremy Lin just needed the right system and an opportunity. D’Antoni’s offense fits his set of skills and almost every team in the league has an established point guard (or 3 like Houston) except the Knicks. 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. 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 2 days away from being cut. Everyone has talent…figure out what that is and make use of it. That will make everyone around that person better too…just like Jeremy Lin!

On a side note, I haven’t been this excited to be a Knicks fan since John Starks dunked over Jordan in that playoff game.

David Dejewski

Pat – I willingly embarrass myself by saying I have no idea who Jeremy Lin is, only ever watched the Knicks play in 10 second commercial sound bytes on TV, and I could probably only give the names of maybe five basketball players to ever live. I appreciate the point you’re making and the question you posed though. 🙂

Reading your post, a single thought came to mind: I wonder about the environment that produced Jeremy. Somewhere behind the scenes is a coach, a family, a support network that deserve a lot of credit.

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.

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.

Pat Fiorenza

David, appreciate your honesty about Jeremy Lin – from everything that I have read about him, he is just a stand up guy, works hard and every day he is trying to get better at his craft. I hope my post not only got you thinking about leadership, but also got you to be a Knicks fan!

I really like the analogy of the farmer. I’ve yet to be in a formal management position, but as my career progress, that is exactly what I hope to accomplish. I’ve been lucky that most places I’ve worked I’ve had a support network to learn and grow from professionally and personally. Thanks to all for your comments, go Knicks!

Christine Jung

Great post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. On the note about attitude (#9), I love his attitude and how it’s not the typical NBA superstar. World Peace (I really hate saying that) was interviewed and stated that Jeremy Lin needs to work on his swaggar and strut because he’s a superstar now. Lin has gained the respect of his teammates because of his talent. And with his positive attitude, his teammates will want to play with him.