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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    guy jumping shadow

    These days, job hopping is practically a way of life. Gone is the idea of spending four decades at one company, ultimately retiring with a gold watch and a pension plan.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years workers stay at a given job is only 4.6, which allows them to rack up as many as 10 gigs in a lifetime.

    The problem: Many employers still see job hopping as a deal breaker. Nearly 40% of recruiters and hiring managers say that a history of hopping is the single biggest obstacle for job-seekers, according to a recent survey conducted by recruiting software company Bullhorn.

    We found four serial job hoppers who were willing to dish about their adventures in the labor market. Then we asked a crack squad of career experts for advice on how these hoppers can find a gig that will make them want to stick around.

    Jay Mehta, 36, Unemployed

    A few months ago, Jay Mehta was laid off from his latest IT job in Dallas, along with a handful of other employees, because of budget cuts. “The difference is that those guys have been working for the same two or three companies for the last 14 years and didn’t see it coming—I’ve worked for 10 places,” Mehta says, who has been laid off twice, including from his last gig.

    Mehta wasn’t always a job hopper. For the first eight years of his professional life, he worked for just two different companies. “I thought that promotions were deserved after a lot of hard work and employer loyalty,” he says. “But I was wrong.” In those two jobs, Mehta’s salary increased only marginally, and he couldn’t seem to save enough money. Then, in January 2002, he was laid off due to downsizing.

    Mehta struggled for an entire year looking for another full-time job in IT and the experience changed his outlook on employment. ”I figured it wouldn’t be long before something like that would happen again. Although I wasn’t sure when the next economic slowdown would come, I knew that I wanted to be debt-free and ready for it before I ever got laid off again,” he says.

    So Mehta shifted his loyalty toward making money, rather than to any one company–switching jobs eight times in the next six years. “I gained a lot by virtue of job changes,” he says. “My salary has increased significantly compared to friends I know who have stayed with the same company.”

    Job hopping seems to have paid off for Mehta, who now owns his home and car outright and is completely debt-free. There’s just one problem: He’s been unemployed since mid-March, so he is looking for a new gig again—although Mehta doesn’t believe that his hopping has hurt his chances of finding employment. “I’m currently unemployed, but I’m not complaining,” he says. ”If I’ve laid off companies for money, it’s OK if a company lays me off for a lack of money.”

    What the Pros Say: Deborah Brown-Volkman, a career coach and president of, is afraid that employers might see Mehta’s work history as detrimental. “While he’s gained something from his job changes, what’s missing is focus. His story is more about him. A prospective employer might ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’ ” To combat this, Colleen Georges, a professional résumé writer and career coach, suggests Mehta consider starting his own IT consulting firm. “This can provide needed income and potentially transform into something more lucrative in the long term, offering the independence and variety he enjoys,” she says.

    Kyle Flight, 30, Salesman

    In 2009, Kyle Flight graduated with a doctorate in government, a job offer from a court services company and plans to move to Chicago with his significant other.

    “My job and prospects were pretty much secured, and I was on a career path that would last at least the next 10 years of my life,” Flight says.

    But, right after he moved, the company lost funding and rescinded its offer.

    “I was tossed back into the ether of the over-educated and underemployed milieu—I’ve had eight different jobs working for eight different companies.”

    Having drained his savings for the move, Flight took the first job he could find … as a barista. But the pay wasn’t much, so a few months later, he quit for a higher-paying gig as a waiter, while still applying for court services positions.

    Four months in, Flight finally found a job in his desired career path, but after just three months, lack of funding forced him out of yet another job. “I was tossed back into the ether of the over-educated and underemployed milieu,” he says. “Since May of 2009, I’ve had eight different jobs working for eight different companies.”

    Recently, a prospective employer told Flight that his job hopping was ruining his résumé. But he’s not ashamed of his work history. “I’ve seen people spend ten years at a job only to continue being passed over for the newcomer from outside the company,” he says. “The rest of my generation saw it, too. So when we want to advance, we know that it’s going to take a hop and skip to a different company and job, with a better title and paycheck. We’re just trying to make it in the world.”

    What the Pros Say: ”Flight is right that he entered the labor market at a particularly bad time for young people,” says Laura Vanderkam, author of “What the Most Successful People Do at Work: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Career.” Vanderkam suggests trying to find a job through Kyle’s connections, where his résumé matters less. She also recommends that he do freelance work in his desired field. “There’s no shame in working as a barista to pay the bills, but you also want to show that you’re serious about building your career,” she says. “Over time, freelance work can lead your career into new and exciting places.”

    Angela Johnson, 43, treatment facility counselor

    A lot has changed since Angela Johnson began work as a graphic designer in the late ‘80s. “The technological boom of personal computers means that everyone now has the capability to design their own stationery, and we get all of our information online, rather than through books and pamphlets,” says Johnson. “The print graphic designer has almost become a thing of the past.”

    Although she was discouraged by downsizing, Johnson wasn’t ready to give up on the industry. So she hopped between more than 10 different companies over 20 years, trying to land a job that she could fall in love with. ”I kept leaping to the next opportunity—only to find the same circumstances. Each company became a carbon copy of the previous one: low pay scale, low morale, no benefits and depressed colleagues,” says Johnson. “I realized that my dream job didn’t exist anymore.”

    In 2008, Johnson decided to go back to school to become a medical assistant. ”I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, rather than work long hours chained to a computer,” she says. While in school, she worked at a nursing home and hospice. And since November 2011, she has held a full-time position as a counselor at a residential treatment facility. ”The pay is rather low, but there is an atmosphere of family,” she says. “So I see myself staying at least five years or so.”

    She also plans to get a master’s in nursing to further advance in her new career. “I’ve found along the way that it is necessary to make a few leaps of faith, rather than get stuck in a job that you absolutely hate,” she says.

    What the Pros Say: “Sometimes disappointment in one career field can pave the way to discovering a more meaningful and personally fulfilling direction,” says Georges. She suggests that Johnson tailor her résumé’s introductory summary to her new career field, prominently highlighting her nursing home, hospice and residential facility positions—and condensing only the last ten years of Johnson’s print industry positions into a brief section titled “Additional Experience.”

    “This will take the focus away from less relevant experience and frequent moves, and instead direct hiring managers to pay attention to her education and experience in the health professions,” Georges says. Brown-Volkman adds that confidence is also key when Johnson talks to new employers: “She should hold her head high, and shed any embarrassment, or else she will come across as weak in interviews—it’s not the words you say, but how you say them.”

    Charity Rowell, 39, Student

    This job hopper supported her parents and little sister in Springfield, Mo., after graduating high school. “I didn’t dream about becoming a customer service representative, telemarketer, receptionist—or spending almost 20 years of my life moving from one unfulfilling job to the next,” Charity Rowell says. ”My duty was to make sure that the bills were paid on time.”

    Rowell found employment wherever she could, sometimes with the help of staffing agencies. “When all is said and done, I believe that I have worked for about 14 companies in at least five or six different industries,” she says.

    Finally, during one of her exit interviews, Rowell’s supervisor lit a fire in her by suggesting that she’d be a great fit for a career in human resources. “Before I discovered HR, I spent most of my time in the workforce as a customer service representative—you know, one of the people you call to yell at because something is wrong with your bill, account or service,” Rowell says. “I got tired of feeling like I was doing more of a disservice to people rather than helping them.”

    So Rowell went back to school to pursue a business degree and start a career in HR management. She hopes to graduate this year, but she’s worried that her job-hopping history will haunt her when it’s time to look for a position in her new field. ”I don’t want all of the work I’ve achieved, or the growing that I’ve done in the past four years, to be ignored just because of a list of employers,” she says.

    What the Pros Say: Workplace expert Anita Bruzzese recommends that Rowell limit the positions she includes on her résumé’s work history. “I’d focus on the jobs that show you gained some key skills, such as communication, working in a team environment and meeting deadlines,” she says.

    Vanderkam stresses another important point: “Sometimes learning what you want to do in life takes time. The good news for Rowell is that earning a degree gives you a bit of a career ‘reset’ at graduation.”

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    Reid Hoffman Web 2.0 4x3

    The idea for LinkedIn didn't just spring fully formed into Reid Hoffman's head. He had been experimenting with the idea of social networks for years.

    His first try was a dating service in 1997 called SocialNet.

    It was an ambitious idea. Not only would SocialNet find you a date, it was supposed to help with professional networking, finding roommates, it even included something called Just Play for finding tennis partners, Hoffman told Bloomberg Television's Emily Chang.

    He describes SocialNet as a learning experience that gave him "scars" and spilled a lot "of blood." In a previous interview with Business Insider, he said of SocialNet, "If you're not embarrassed by your version one release, you released it too late."

    But that pain lead to LinkedIn.

    "One of the things I learned from that whole experience, was that you should focus on one domain that really matters to people and just do that really well," he said to Chang.

    Focus on something that really matters and do it well. Good advice.

    SEE ALSO: GET HIRED: How To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Gorgeous With Graphics

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    businessmen shaking hands

    I remember all of my bosses. Some were bad. Most were good.

    But only one was truly memorable--in the best possible way.

    Memorable bosses possess qualities that may not always show up on paper but do always show up where it matters most: in the hearts and minds of the people they lead.

    Here are eight qualities of truly memorable bosses:

    They believe the unbelievable.

    Most people try to achieve the achievable; that’s why most goals and targets are incremental rather than inconceivable.

    Memorable bosses expect more--from themselves and from others. Then they show you how to get there. And they bring you along for what turns out to be an unbelievable ride.

    They see opportunity in instability and uncertainty.

    Unexpected problems, unforeseen roadblocks, major crises... most bosses take down the sails, batten the hatches, and hope to wait out the storm.

    A few see a crisis as an opportunity. They know it’s extremely difficult to make major changes, even necessary ones, when things are going relatively smoothly.

    They know reorganizing an entire sales team is accepted more easily when a major customer goes under. They know creating new sales channels is a lot easier when a major competitor enters the market. They know reorganizing manufacturing operations is a lot easier when the flow of supplies and components gets disrupted.

    Memorable bosses see instability and uncertainty not as a barrier but as an enabler. They reorganize, reshape, and re-engineer to reassure, motivate, and inspire--and in the process make the organization much stronger.

    They wear their emotions on their sleeves.

    Good bosses are professional.

    Memorable bosses are highly professional and yet also openly human. They show sincere excitement when things go well.  They show sincere appreciation for hard work and extra effort. They show sincere disappointment--not in others, but in themselves. They celebrate, they empathize, they worry.

    In short, they’re people. And, unlike many bosses, they act as if they know it.

    Professional is admirable. Professional--with a healthy blend of humanity--is inspiring.

    They protect others from the bus.

    Terrible bosses throw employees under the bus.

    Good bosses never throw employees under the bus.

    Memorable bosses see the bus coming and pull their employees out of the way often without the employee knowing until much, much later (if ever--because memorable bosses never seek to take credit).

    They’ve been there, done that, and still do that.

    Dues aren't paid, past tense. Dues get paid each and every day. The only real measure of value is the tangible contribution a person makes on a daily basis.

    That’s why no matter what they’ve accomplished in the past, memorable bosses are never too good to roll up their sleeves, get dirty, and do the “grunt” work.  No job is ever too menial, no task ever too unskilled or boring.

    Memorable bosses never feel entitled, which means no one feels entitled--except to the fruits of their labor.

    They lead by permission, not authority.

    Every boss has a title. That title gives them the right to direct others, to make decisions, to organize and instruct and discipline.

    Memorable bosses lead because their employees want them to lead. They’re motivated and inspired by the person, not the title.

    Through their words and actions they cause employees feel they work with, not for, a boss. Many bosses don’t even recognize there’s a difference, but memorable bosses do.

    They embrace a larger purpose.

    A good boss works to achieve company goals.

    A memorable boss also works to achieve company goals--and achieves more than other bosses--but also works to serve a larger purpose: to advance the careers of employees, to make a real difference in the community, to rescue struggling employees, to instill a sense of pride and self-worth in others. They aren’t just remembered for nuts and bolts achievements but for helping others on a more personal or individual level.

    Memorable bosses embrace a larger purpose because they know business truly is personal.

    They take real risks, not fake risks.

    Many bosses--like many people--try to stand out in some superficial way. Maybe it’s their clothes, or their interests, or their public displays of support for popular initiatives. They do stand out, but for reasons of sizzle, not steak.

    Memorable bosses stand out because they’re willing to take an unpopular stand, to take an unpopular step, to accept the discomfort of not following the status quo, to take the risk of sailing uncharted waters.

    They take real risks not for the sake of risk but for the sake of the reward they believe is possible. And by their example they inspire others to take a risk in order to achieve what they believe is possible.

    Memorable bosses inspire others to achieve their dreams: by words, by actions, and most importantly, by example.

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    networking group

    Job seekers are struggling to find positions because so many job openings are never even advertised online. The "hidden job market" is very real, and it's causing frustration among job seekers. You can find these jobs by determining what a company needs.

    Here are five ways to uncover those hidden job openings:

    1. Target the company. Most companies now have internal job boards where they post all job openings. Determine a list of companies you want to work for, find their job boards, and apply directly. This is the most direct way to find job openings in a specific company. A great way to stay on top of these job openings is to add their job board to your RSS reader. When new jobs are posted, you'll know right away.

    2. Talk to your personal network. This is the most talked about method, but it would be wrong not to mention it. Use the connections in your professional network. Get a personal reference from someone who knows about a job opportunity at their company. Your professional networkcan also help you find someone who knows someone, who knows someone else, who knows about a job opening.

    3. Build your social network. Find relevant people at your favorite companies to connect with you on LinkedIn. Join the same industry groups and network there, or ask friends to introduce you. Once you're connected, show them your value by referring them to interesting articles and writing blog posts about the industry. Eventually when you see a job opening, ask them about it.

    4. Be bold. Reach out to managers at a company you're interested in. Find out who's in charge of the department and introduce yourself. Even if there aren't any jobs available at the moment, try to set up an informational interview. Let them know you want to learn more about what their team does. This might not lead to a job right away, but they might think of you for the next job opening.

    5. Create a new job. Stand out. Once you've connected with someone in the company, provide a solution to a problem that they didn't even know they had. This might lead to the creation of new jobs. Since you came up with the idea, they might take you on board to set your plan into action. They'll skip the job opening altogether because you filled their need.

    Are you looking for a job? Start your job search here.

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    working, coffee, office, tired, employee

    Plenty of things impact your work performance that you can't control: You might have an unreasonably high workload and not enough time to spend on some items, or a boss who gives you unclear or conflicting instructions or co-workers whose work you can't depend on.

    But lots of things impact your work performance that you can control, as well – and too often, people struggling at work neglect to consider these.

    Here are six of the most common ways you might be holding yourself back at work without realizing it.

    1. Distractions– electronic and otherwise. If you leave Facebook open throughout the day, instant message with friends or co-workers while you work and/or make time to chat with anyone you spot walking by your desk, you're almost certainly impacting your productivity.

    While multitasking has become fashionable in recent years, the reality is that some types of work require deeper focus than these kinds of distractions allow, and even if your work doesn't require much focus, constantly stopping to type another IM to your friend or check out a YouTube video someone just emailed you is going to impact how much you get done in any give day.

    2. Sleep. If you're up past midnight and need to be at work at 8 a.m., chances are good that you're not getting enough sleep.

    Coffee might mask the immediate symptoms, but fatigue can impact how well you perform on the job, as well as how you deal with a workplace's stresses. If your energy is lagging or you feel like your "immunity" to workplace frustrations is low, take a look at whether you're showing up for work well-rested most days.

    3. Complaining. It can be tempting to vent about everything that frustrates you about your boss, your company and your co-workers, but complaining has a way of making unhappiness worse.

    Frequently venting can actually give you a more negative outlook on your office and your job (and can have the same impact on those around you, too). If you're guilty of regular complaining, try instituting a no-complaints rule for yourself for two weeks and see if you feel any different at the end of it.

    4. Who you associate yourself with at work. You're likely to pick up the viewpoints and work habits of the people whom you're closest to at work. If you align yourself with people who do the bare minimum (or less), resent your managers or have a complaint about everything (see No. 3 above), you're likely to pick up those habits yourself.

    On the other hand, if you build relationships with people whose work you respect and whose contributions you admire, you might find yourself picking up the habits that have helped them be successful.

    5. Your approach to your work. Are you just trying to get your work completed or are you truly taking ownership of your realm and thinking about better ways to get results?

    If you see your job as simply executing a list of tasks that someone else assigns, you might never be given opportunities to grow beyond that. But if you feel true ownership for your piece of the company – no matter how small it might be relative to others' – and you care about finding ways to do your job better, it will usually show in your performance.

    Even if your current employer isn't smart enough to reward you for it, this is how you build a reputation that will eventually help you land better opportunities.

    6. Your ability to recognize what you do and don't control. Most people have some frustrations with their boss, even if that boss is a good manager.

    But a key to staying happy (and sane) in that relationship is to get clear in your own mind about what you can and can't control, and to focus on making the pieces you can control go as smoothly as possible.

    Rather than stewing over an aspect of your boss that you can't change (like the fact that she's always late for meetings or she isn't responsive to email), it's far more productive to understand that her working style may not change and to find ways to work effectively within that reality.

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    Critics point to "job-hopping"— a tendency to frequently change jobs — as a sign that the millennial generation is flighty, unable to commit, and self absorbed; all of the stereotypes that we hear in the media.  

    According to University of Michigan Economist Justin Wolfers, they're just being smart. NPR's Planet Money asked a series of economists what they would say if they were giving a commencement address. Here's an excerpt from Wolfers' response: 

    "Approach your career ambitions the same way you approached your romantic ambitions at college. Sure, you're looking for 'The One,' but the only way to find that is by going on a lot of dates. And you should think about your first job as a good first date. Try it out. If you like it, stick around for another year. But if not, ask another employer out. And keep playing the field until you've found the job you want to stay with.

    This pattern of hopping between jobs while young, before settling down, is in remarkably common. And it makes sense, too. Romantic success never follows from trying to improve your partner; it follows from moving on and finding a better match. The same is true in the world of work.

    Indeed, economic research shows that most large pay gains come not from your boss promoting you, but rather from moving to a job that's a better fit, with a different employer."

    Staying at a job that you're not happy with is a disservice to yourself, because you're unlikely to improve all that much at it; and a disservice to the employer, because they have a disengaged employee who knows that they don't intend to be there for the long-run.

    The reason some millennials are hesitant to change jobs is because they've already put time in, are worried about losing stored goodwill, or being perceived the wrong way by future employers.

    Miami University of Ohio professor Melissa Thomas has a perfect response, saying that millennials need to "understand that sunk costs are sunk; do not be afraid to change direction." 

    Once you've put time into something, you're not going to get it back. Letting that enter into your decision-making is a fallacy. 

    If you can make a compelling case about why you're leaving somewhere and need a new opportunity, and that you're confident enough to take the leap, then it's easier than people think to overcome recruiters' worries about job hopping. 

    Employers might be hesitant to hire people if they think they might jump ship shortly after. That's the wrong way to look at it. As nice as it might be to find the perfect fit the first time around, it's unlikely. And it's especially unlikely with recent graduates who don't have much work experience.

    Far better to go through a few jobs or employees to find "the one," as Wolfers puts it. 

    Please follow War Room on Twitter and Facebook.

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    couple boy girl driving smile sears

    You don’t have to be ‘the boss’ to take on a leadership role.

    I learned that quite quickly while working with my startup—in many instances, if you have the most experience within a certain skill, you’ll have to become the ‘leader’ during some key moments and guide the rest of the team.

    What I happen to find fascinating is that numerous psychology studies tend to make a connection between this ability to lead when necessary and the achievement of professional success—especially for men.

    The connection lead me to a question that guys have been asking themselves forever:

    Do nice guys really finish last in life?

    It’s hard to say for sure, but a new study shows that ‘nice guys’ typically earn less than their more aggressive peers.

    Fortunately, the research doesn’t suggest that you need to be a jerk to get ahead in life, but that highly agreeable men need to be careful about how assertive they are when it comes their work. This assertiveness, as you’ll see, relates more closely to taking on the role of ‘leader’ than you might think.

    Let’s take a look at why this phenomenon happens and what ‘nice guys’ can do about it.

    The Problem with Nice Guys

    According to a recent study by the University of Notre Dame, nice guys, at least statistically speaking, are not as likely earn the big bucks as their less agreeable peers.

    The ladies are probably wondering, “What about us?”, but the study notes that this variable trait of ‘agreeableness’ only seems to detrimentally affect men:

    The study shows a strong negative relationship between agreeableness and earnings for men. The more agreeable a man is, the less he will earn. For women, there is essentially no relationship at all.


    Outside of the workplace, ‘Agreeableness’, one of the big 5 personality traits, is generally associated with positive characteristics, such as being warm, sympathetic, kind and cooperative.

    It’s also the most commonly cited trait (of the big 5) when people describe an ideal person to spend time with, and most psychological research associates the trait with a slew of other positive behaviors.

    So how do men benefit in the workplace by being the opposite?

    According to the researchers, this double-standard exists because disagreeable men (at least in competitive, work-related scenarios) are viewed as tough negotiators and willing to stick to their vision, whereas women don’t gain the same benefit in terms of how they are viewed.

    It seems that being ‘disagreeable’ isn’t really the ideal behavior, but rather that being too agreeable is viewed as a sign of weakness in men, or as a characteristic of a flaky personality that is lacking in confidence and conviction.

    And yet, we’ve seen that being an agreeable person is a highly desirable trait in general, so how can a balance be found? Is there any correlation between assertiveness and other psychological traits that are associated with higher earnings and more work-related success?

    I feel the answer lies in analyzing what makes a great leader, as leaders are quite likely to fill up high-earning positions, even if they aren’t ‘the boss.’

    Examining leadership qualities also allows us to look past gender discrepancies, as leaders can be men or women and the traits are more universally applicable in the workplace.

    So, what makes a great leader?

    The Traits of Great Leaders

    A lot has been written on being a great leader, but today we’ll take a look at two studies and their findings on what characteristics are most important for those who wish to lead others.

    The first comes in the form of some academic research on leadership qualities conducted by psychologists Robert Hogan and Robert Kaiser, and the second is a set of data from Jim Collins on what traits are most often associated with a great manager (a position regularly associated with leadership).

    By examining the traits that have strong connections with leadership, we can see where ‘nice guys’ may be going wrong, and find out what it really takes to lead others and advance in a competitive environment that isn’t entirely accepting of overly agreeable people.

    Let’s dig in…

    1.) Decisiveness

    The #1 trait across both sources, this characteristic is also the most at odds with being too agreeable.

    When we watch others make decisions frequently and stick to those decisions, we subconsciously associate them with responsibility, and thus we are more likely to view them as leaders (especially when other people follow suite).

    One study even found that first-movers often have the advantage in many decision making situations, as it only takes a few other people before the majority of the group will view the decision as valid. In essence, the person with the most conviction can create an availability cascade where others will agree with their opinions simply because they are presented so convincingly.

    It’s easy to see why being too agreeable can hurt a man’s perceived qualities as a leader, as more agreeable men may look for a consensus to be formed first before they state their opinion, whereas more assertive men are likely to put their opinion forward immediately.

    2.) Vision

    A natural complement of decisiveness, as we know that a truly great leader does more than just shout his/her opinion the loudest—they back it up with a convincing explanation of how things are going to pan out.

    Have you ever spoken with someone who was able to brilliantly articulate their idea to you one-on-one… but fell apart when they had to share it with a group? Sometimes this is the result of a fear of public speaking, and other times the person is just too agreeable to push for their vision in the face of opposing opinions.

    In fact, research in the realm of creative thinking (often a fundamental aspect of leadership) has shown that brainstorming is often an ineffective method for coming up with ideas because participants can suffer from evaluation apprehension and social loafing, where they decide to rely on the rest of the group for ideas instead of putting forth their own. Most people are apprehensive about having their thoughts judged by others, which is why this occurrence is so common in group brainstorming sessions.

    So skilled creative workers need to realize that what they plan out in their head doesn’t mean a thing unless they are willing to practice being able to present their idea persuasively (and confidently) to their peers and superiors.

    3.) Persistence

    While being persistent doesn’t necessarily mean being inflexible, there are certainly some differences between the stereotypical ‘agreeable’ personality and a persistent one.

    One of the most interesting pieces of research I came across in this area is the denouncement of a tactic that I see many nice guys trying to use—playing devil’s advocate when they want to disagree.

    Unfortunately, although being the devil’s advocate allows nice guys to keep pushing for their opinion without hurting any feelings, an insightful study conducted by Charles Namath shows that the tactic generally backfires—using a ‘devil’s advocate argument’ generally strengthens  the group’s opinion on the original argument!

    Conversely, true dissent was actually listened to much more closely and evaluated for much longer, as a majority of people will at least seek to understand the opposing argument of someone in the room before they dismiss it (that generally doesn’t happen when dealing with arguments between groups, but that’s for another day!).

    Nice guys should therefore not only be persistent in their efforts towards greatness, but they also need to realize that ‘when to hold em’ and when to fold em’ applies to the workplace as well, and if they are confident in their stance/idea/argument, they need to push for it without trying to appeal to everyone.

    The Case for Moderation

    It should be noted that the other 3 big traits associated with great leaders (there were 6 in all) included things like ModestyCompetence, and Integrity, meaning it’s not always about conviction and confidence on the path to leadership.

    That being said, before you close out this post and begin embracing some new Machiavellian lifestyle, you should know that the key trait we’ve thrown around, assertiveness, does have to be used in moderation.

    What are the potentially negative impacts of being overly assertive?

    Research from Ames & Flynn (2007) sought to find that very answer. They gathered 3 groups of MBA students who were instructed to fill out questionnaires about their peers and the respective managers for whom they’d worked with in the past.

    The main observations made examined social outcomes and instrumental outcomes—in other words, how well were the managers liked by the students and how much were they able to accomplish.

    The results (as published on PsyBlog) were quite revealing:

    • Productivity: higher and higher levels of assertiveness produced diminishing returns. So in terms of results it’s not much better to be highly assertive than moderately assertive, but it was definitely better to be moderately assertive than not assertive.
    • Social outcomes: higher and higher levels of assertiveness lead to increasingly poor social outcomes. It was definitely better to be moderately assertive than highly assertive.

    When you put both of the outcomes together you get an inverted U-shape (below; from Ames & Flynn, 2007). So that people who are low in assertiveness get less things done but people very high in assertiveness are socially insufferable.

    Nice guys finish last - Assertiveness

    In other words, forceful leadership doesn’t result in a rapid increase in productivity and can make the person in charge socially insufferable, a bad trait for long term leadership.

    There seems to be a “sweet spot” where a leader’s presence is felt and their guidance listened to, but without the overbearing presence that tends to be detrimental to others in the group.

    A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.— Lao Tzu

    It’s the seamless integration into the group with the clear understanding that one person is taking charge that creates an effective chemistry and allows for a great leader to thrive.

    This is one instance where a photo from the web speaks a thousand words:

    Nice guys finish last - Leader

    Your Turn

    Now I want to hear from you…

    1. What did you think of this research?
    2. Have you had a great manager/leader in your professional life? What made you willing to follow them and heed their advice?

    I’m interested in hearing that you think, so I’ll see you down in the comments!

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    Brooke Barrett

    Today's advice comes from Brooke Denihan Barrett, co-chief executive of Denihan Hospitality Group, via The New York Times:

    "You have to set certain standards that you want people to live up to. And if people need help, then we want to help them along the way. Sometimes organizations can fall down if they don’t also ask: How do you give people the tools they need to be successful? How do you get that person to understand what change needs to happen, and how do you help them along the way? Because people can’t always figure it out on their own, and nor should you expect them to."

    Barrett says that part of building a strong culture is actively listening to better understand those who work for you. Aside from this, you need to pay attention to the way different people interact within your organization and keep an eye out for certain body language signs, because several times, someone may be saying one thing, but meaning another.

    "I realized that you get a lot more with the carrot routine than the stick routine. I also realized that you really needed to explain the 'why' of things. You need to give people a little bit of space to come around, and say, 'Yeah, that makes sense,' before you really engage them in what needed to be done."

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    Picture 1

    Today's advice comes from James Caan, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw, via LinkedIn:

    "The really innovative companies know full well the importance of nurturing and encouraging the right kind of atmosphere to let creativity flourish. The concept of creativity has to be woven into the very fabric of the organization and one of the key jobs of the senior team is to be open and willing to listen to new ideas from the people they manage."

    In addition to listening, managers need to act on the ideas that they believe will make a difference. Caan remembers a former employee at his recruitment firm approaching him with an idea to go in a completely new direction. He decided to go with it. Eventually, it became one of the most profitable sections of the business. But in order for this to happen, there needed to be an environment that encouraged these new ideas in the first place.

    "It is worth remembering that you have to give people who work for you a reason or a motive to come forward with new ideas and methods. Great ideas are precious commodities and it is only fitting that the people who come up with them are recognised in some way. That recognition can come in the form of a pay rise or maybe by giving someone a promotion or more responsibility in their role. One of the worst things a manager can do is to take someone’s idea and use it, but then give them no credit or recognition."

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    whos the bossA salary is Fixed Income

    Earning a salary, working for someone else, is earning ‘fixed income,’ which means you hope it comes close to covering your lifestyle expenses.  Like all fixed income, however, it will be limited.  In the case of your salary, the limitation of your fixed income comes not from prevailing interest rates, but rather from the environment and decisions of people you work for.

    Did your company do well this year?  Did your boss decide you are one of her key employees?  Does your company expect to still need your labor and time in another year, or three?  

    If you can say yes to all three, then you can continue to earn your fixed income, otherwise known as a salary.  You cannot reasonably expect, however, anything above the minimum that your boss and company guesstimate will be enough to keep you around for as long as they need you.[1]

    Business ownership is Equity

    Owning and building a business feels completely different.

    Owning and building a business is earning ‘equity.’

    Equity typically pays less in dividends than does fixed income.   It also pays less often. 

    Worse, equity has a nasty habit of losing value periodically.  Equity regularly goes to zero in value, which, if it’s your company, means you lost your investment and your business and your income all at the same time. 

    It’s also potentially more costly emotionally to lose your business equity than to lose the fixed income of your salary.  Despite this terrible feeling – I’m speaking from experience here — here’s the surprising part of my strongly held belief:

    Everyone in the for-profit world should aspire to build and run his or her own business.

    On entrepreneurship vs. working for a salary, my own journey

    During most of my college years I did not imagine a life in business, working for profit.  Truth be told, I dismissed working for profit, in my self-righteous college-kid way, as unworthy of serious consideration.

    After a few years of actually working for a living, however, I realized I enjoyed it much more than I had imagined I would.  It felt ‘real’ in a way that pure academia did not.  The teamwork involved in the companies I worked for, producing a service for which customers happily paid significant sums, seemed ‘real’ as well, in a way that was new and surprising to me.

    Once I decided making money was one of my goals, the next decision about working for a living became whether to work for myself or to work for someone else.

    Although I enjoyed working in the for-profit world, I got it into my head that I would rather own my own business rather than work for a salary for someone else.

    Please see next post on Entrepreneurship Part II – Ownership vs. Salary: lessons from finance

    And Entrepreneurship Part III – More differences between ownership and salary: Air, Taxes, Retirement

    [1] Of course I know of bosses who pay above the minimum amount to keep you around.  But these bosses are relatively rare and therefore remarkable.  Also, they are violating a rule of market efficiency by paying you more than is necessary to retain you.  If they persist in paying you more than necessary, another competitor can pay its employees less and undercut your employer.  Which is what makes overpaying for you unsustainable, in the long run.  You cannot expect it to last.

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    Forever 21 Worker FiredCompanies usually have a tight muzzle on employees when it comes to talking to the press, and even fire workers for embarrassing them in the media.

    But a San Diego worker at Forever 21, the retail chain, didn't expect to lose her job when she told a local weekly her story of overcoming a life of drug addiction and childhood abuse.

    In April, Cassie Briscoe appeared on the cover of the San Diego Reader, an alternative news weekly. Inside, she revealed the traumatic childhood that drove her to drugs, and how she kicked her addiction, found religion and a job, with her house arrest bracelet still on her ankle.

    But soon after the story came out, Briscoe says that the famously Christian-owned retailer fired her, claiming that she'd concealed her felony on her application -- which Briscoe flatly denies.

    "I didn't expect this would turn around on me like this," Briscoe told San Diego stationKGTV. "I only saw good things coming from it."

    A Childhood Of Tragedy
    When Briscoe was 11, her grandmother's husband brutally attacked her family, murdering her grandmother, stabbing her mother 27 times, and her 7-year-old brother twice, she said. Her mother abandoned her soon after, and her father committed suicide. 

    Briscoe was put into a group home, she told the magazine, and ran away, where she was taken in by an older couple. They gave her drugs, and forced her into prostitution while she was still a child.

    She ran away after a year, but drug addiction continued to haunt her. In 2012 she was busted for selling a small amount of crystal meth.

    Why Forever 21 Fired Her
    Briscoe, now 28, reports that she has been clean since August. In the interview with the San Diego Reader, she said that she joined a church, and is currently under house arrest, which only allows her to leave for her drug treatment and her job.

    More: Ex-Convict Goes Job Hunting: The Hardest Career Turnaround

    It was a moving story of redemption. But there was at least one person, Briscoe said, who wasn't impressed: Her manager at Forever 21.

    Even though the San Diego Reader article didn't name her employer, Brisco said that her boss made it clear that she had to go.

    "Once they saw the article, they were like: We have to do whatever they had to do to get me out of the store, so they started going through my paperwork," Briscoe told KGTV.

    Did She Disclose Her Felony Conviction?
    She said the store told her that she was being fired because she hadn't mentioned her felony convicted on her application.

    But Briscoe showed the news station a job application, with her felony conviction clearly marked. Forever 21 did not respond to a request for a comment.

    For April's cover story, Briscoe told the Reader that she'd even been upfront with her employer about her criminal history.

    "They didn't know about my ankle bracelet, but I was honest about the felony because I wanted to be honest." But because of her admission, "I got my hours cut," the article quotes her as saying.

    More: Can The Boss Fired You For Badmouthing Him On Facebook?

    Now she has no job at all. That's especially hard for Briscoe, who needs all the work that she can get. She has a daughter, and the drug sales charge on her record disqualifies her from food stamps and other assistance.

    Briscoe told the San Diego Reader that she also owes the state around $8,000, because of court visits and probation fees.

    "That was hurtful," she said of her firing. "I didn't expect this would turn around on me like this. I only saw good things coming from it."

    Briscoe had reason to believe her employer would be more forgiving.

    The owners of Forever 21 are well-known for their Christian beliefs, and their stores sell T-shirts with slogans such as, "I want to believe / to have hope / and to love / God will guide your soul."

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    Michelle Rhee

    Today's advice comes from Michelle Rhee, Founder and CEO of Students First, via LinkedIn:

    "To be a leader, you can’t get caught up in emotion and in your opposition. You can’t get bogged down in every negative comment or fabricated controversy, or else you’ll start diverting resources from the things that truly count. You have to lead from the front, but getting derailed by naysayers could put you in a place of fighting from be a leader, you have to be OK with not being liked."

    In a speech to students at Stanford's Center for Leadership Development and Research, Rhee says that company leaders often have to deal with negative comments and personal attacks, and when this happens, Rhee chooses to ignore the subjective criticism and focus on the facts instead.

    Rhee says it is better to channel your energy toward things that actually matter. In order to do this, you must define your single goal and never stray from it.

    "These [personal attacks] are nothing but distractions that will divert my attention from my goal if I let them ... it’s a good lesson: If you want to truly lead, it’s going to come with controversy, so develop that tough skin now, get used to it, and keep your eye on the ball."

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    Science, Scientist, Female, Woman, Research

    Who doesn't need more money? We've given you many ideas to earn extra income, but sometimes there are intangible factors you may or may not have control over that affect your salary.

    Thankfully, we have scientists hard at work in their labs trying to figure out the answers for us. Here are various results of research studies of the things that impact income:

    • Height: An Australian study found that 6-foot men earned $1,000 more than guys who were two inches shorter. "Taller people are perceived to be more intelligent and powerful," says the study.

    • Regular exercise: People who work out regularly, according to a study in the Journal of Labor Research, earn nine percent more than their couch potato peers. Perhaps your monthly gym membership is literally paying off.

    • Popularity in high school: Being well-liked in high school isn't something we can change right now, but if you were one of the cool kids, you're in luck. A National Bureau of Economic Research study says people who were among the top fifth most popular students in high school, earn a 10 percent premium on salary four decades later compared with the bottom fifth.

    • When you marry: College-educated women who marry past their 30s make more income, while men who marry earlier see more financial benefits, according to a study by the National Marriage Project. One reason could be: women who marry earlier tend to have kids earlier as well, which forces them to take a break from their career during a period when they'll see a lot of growth. As for men, perhaps those who marry earlier tend to be more secure and confident than their single friends, leading to higher productivity.

    • Gender: This is something that's probably out of your hands, but as we all know, men make more than women. But did you know they even trump women in female-dominated industries? Sad, but true.

    • Weight: Women who are 25 pounds lighter than the average weight (so basically, those who have the body of runway models), earn $15,572 more annually. On the flip side, men who gain weight (as long as it's not to the obesity levels) tend to make more than their skinny counterparts.

    • Keeping your maiden name: Women who keep their maiden name were perceived to be more “independent, intelligent, ambitious and competent,” according to a study from the Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research in the Netherlands. In fact, those with maiden names were valued about $1,172.36 more per month than those who changed their last names.

    • Girlie girls: It's OK to flutter your lashes once in a while, as long as there's a razor-sharp mind behind them. According to a British study, having feminine qualities will help you get ahead at work.

    • Being mean: Nice guys finish last, at least in the cutthroat working world. Men who scored below average in agreeableness made $9,772 more annually than nice guys. In the case of women, mean girls made $1,828 more.

    • Your looks: We live in a shallow, shallow world. Good-looking people make three to four percent more than the average Joe or plain Jane, according to research by Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas. That can add up to at least $230,000 more in a lifetime.

    • How you negotiate: According to research by NYU and the Harvard Kennedy School, results showed that when both genders read a script that said, "I think I should be paid at the top of the salary range. And I would also like to be eligible for an end-of-the-year bonus," men were thought of as assertive while women gave off the impression of being pushy and unpleasant. Researchers found that if women phrased it in a way that aligned their needs with the company's goals, their requests are less likely to seem negative.

    • Blondes: It's often said that blondes have more fun, but perhaps it's due to having more money to spend on entertainment. An Australian study shows that blondes earn seven percent more than women with other hair colors.

    As always, take these studies with a grain of salt, and remember that correlation doesn't always mean causation. It seems reasonable to assume that how great you are at your job will affect your earning potential more than any of the factors mentioned above, right?

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    After nine long years, The Office came to a close last night (sad!). And while there are plenty of things we’ll miss—Jim and Dwight’s pranks, Kevin’s one-liners, and all the Andy drama—no one will ever replace the man who started it all.

    So, in honor of the show’s finale, we decided to review the management stylings of Michael Scott and share a few nuggets of workplace wisdom we’ve gained from him over the years.

    Sit back, relax, and learn from the World’s Best Boss.

    1. After sitting at your desk all day, sometimes you just need to move.

    tumblr mf6xz1qc4q1rc3ccm 9 Management Lessons Weve Learned From Michael Scott

    Source: What Should BC Call Us


    2. Bring snacks, and you’ll instantly make friends at the office.

    tumblr mm6antyyLy1rifqsvo1 500 9 Management Lessons Weve Learned From Michael Scott

    Source: Daily Dose of Memo


    3. Keep meetings engaging by adding a little variety.


    4. Stick to your guns.

    tumblr mli1akLKrg1s53ftdo1 500 9 Management Lessons Weve Learned From Michael Scott

    Source: Kitteh-is-kat


    5. Inspire your employees with motivational quotes.

    Michael Scotts Wise Words He Totally Made Up On The Office 9 Management Lessons Weve Learned From Michael Scott


    6. Make time for team bonding.

    tumblr ll9aqqnvps1qc42hk 9 Management Lessons Weve Learned From Michael Scott

    Source: Little Moments


    7. Celebrate even the little wins.

    1239704376 michael tackles toby 9 Management Lessons Weve Learned From Michael Scott


    8. Sometimes, you just have to wing it.

    tumblr mmrt74sdph1rc4buho1 500 9 Management Lessons Weve Learned From Michael Scott

     Source: BooksBourbonandBlues

    9. Never forget why you wanted to be a boss in the first place.

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    Seth Godin

    Today's advice comes from marketing guru Seth Godin via his blog Seth's Blog

    "As organizations and individuals succeed, it gets more difficult to innovate. There are issues of coordination, sure, but mostly it's about fear. The fear of failing is greater, because it seems as though you've got more to lose. So urgency disappears first. Why ship it today if you can ship it next week instead? There are a myriad of excuses, but ultimately it comes down to this: if every innovation is likely to fail, or at the very least, be criticized, why be in such a hurry?"

    Godin says this lack of urgency is no different from lack of accountability. Ideas get shuffled from meeting to meeting, but only until someone actually steps up and takes responsibility will things get accomplished. In this way, meetings aren't always necessary; the point is to hold someone accountable to making an idea happen.

    "We see the two symptoms of the organization unable to move forward with alacrity, the two warning signs of the person in the grip of the resistance. You don't need more time, you just need to decide."

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    office space bill lumberghThe air is just different owning business equity rather than earning a fixed income with a salary.  Can you smell it?

    I left Goldman in 2004 and have been downwardly mobile, career-wise, ever since. 

    I’ve also never been happier.

    I’ve written before that one of the keys to feeling and being wealthy is do something that you love and that you would do regardless of the compensation

    Now, I can’t prove the following statements, but I believe them to be true:

    Working for yourself, in a business you founded, makes it much more likely that you’ll do something you love. 

    Working for someone else, for a salary, makes it much more likely that you’ll be asked to come in on Saturdays to work on the TPS reports.   And, um, Yeeeeahhh, that’d be great.

    It weird to say this, but it’s true:  Doing the TPS reports for your own business doesn’t feel that bad.  Even on Saturdays, it’s kinda fun.

    Doing the TPS reports on a Saturday for someone else, however, encourages the kind of anomic existentialism that puts you in deep communion with the overwhelming sadness of the universe.

    In life, there’s no getting away from the TPS reports on Saturdays, there’s only a choice about how it will feel.  One of my main arguments for starting your own business is that it feels different.

    And now for some less important, but still relevant, arguments in favor of entrepreneurship.


    The tax code was written by and for business owners,[1] not by or for salaried employees.  So if you’re ever curious why taxes for salaried employees seem unfair, whereas businesses seem to pay less in taxes, that’s why.


    Did you know you can save about 3 times more per year in tax-advantaged retirement accounts if you’re a business owner than you can as a white-collar employee earning a salary, with a 401K plan?  It’s true.  But don’t just trust me, look it up on The Google.  The Google never lies.

    More importantly, many successful business people want to control the timing and conditions of their own retirement, on their own terms. 

    When you do someone else’s TPS reports, the company gets to ‘retire’ you when they choose.  When you do your own, you choose. 

    Not everyone wants to work forever, but for those people who do, business ownership gives you the control and options.


    Please see previous post on Entrepreneurship Part I – The difference between equity and fixed income

    And Entrepreneurship Part II – Lessons from finance

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    telephone, rotary phone, old phone

    If you want a job in banking, you will need to network. A failure to properly engage and to direct applications to named individuals is one reason why your attempts to land a job in banking may fail. 

    With this in mind, we’ve provided a non-comprehensive, non-alphabetical, sort of off-the-cuff list of some of the power-brokers in investment banking recruitment globally below. Not everyone is on here: many have been left off (we may yet offer a follow-up). And we cannot guarantee that all or any of them will take your calls, or open your emails, or respond when you try contacting them on LinkedIn. But if you want a job in banking, these are some of the people best placed to help you find one.

    Banks’ own recruiters 

    1. Amanda Rajkumar, Global head of fixed income human resources at BNP Paribas

    Amanda has been at BNP Paribas (which has been building its fixed income business and is now hiring in Asia) for several years. Previously, she was a fixed income headhunter for the Rose Partnership in London. If you want a fixed income sales or trading job at a French bank, Amanda is the person to know.

    2. Paul Murphy, Director and global head of recruitment for Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Capital Markets, covering Asia and EMEA

    Paul joined RBC as head of recruitment in 2004. Previously, he worked in product control for both RBC and Dresdner. Paul is the person if you want a job in RBC’s investment banking arm in London or Asia.

    3. Pam Krepchin, Director and manager of lateral recruitment at RBC Capital Markets in New York City

    Krepchin joined RBC in April 2013, having previously worked as a senior recruiter at Macquarie. Krepchin is the contact for investment banking jobs at RBC in New York.

    4. Jim Richardson, Global head of recruitment at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

    Jim Richardson joined RBS as global head of recruitment in April 2010. Prior to that worked in a recruitment role at Credit Suisse at London.

    5. Stephen Mitchell, human resources director for Europe and Asia at BGC Partners and Cantor Fitzgerald

    Mitchell joined Cantor in January 2012. He was previously global head of HR for ICAP. Cantor has been hiring in Europe, making Mitchell a good person to know.

    6. Lori Pennay, Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Human Resources and Partnership at Cantor Fitzgerald

    Pennay has overall responsibility for all people issues at Cantor Fitzgerald. Given that Cantor is expanding globally, she is also a good person to know.

    7. Malcolm Horton, global head of recruitment at Nomura International 

    If you want a job at Nomura outside Tokyo, Horton is the man. He joined Nomura from Lehman in 2008 and was previously a vice president at J.P. Morgan. Unfortunately, Nomura has been making redundancies in its international business and may not be doing too much hiring.

    8. Kirsty Howe, head of investment banking recruitment for EMEA at Credit Suisse 

    Howe is responsible for recruitment in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Credit Suisse’s investment bank. She joined from UBS in 2010. Be warned, however: Credit Suisse has been de-layering its M&A business in recent months.

    9. Michael Cole, director of experienced recruitment for Credit Suisse in Asia 

    Cole is Howe’s counterpart if you want a job at Credit Suisse in Asia. He moved to Singapore with the bank in November 2012, having previously been chief operating officer for human resources in EMEA. In the distant past, Cole was a trainee hotel manager in Australia.

    10. Matt Evans, executive director of experienced recruiting at J.P. Morgan 

    Evans is one of the most senior members of the experienced recruiting team at J.P. Morgan’s investment bank in Europe. He joined the bank in January 2012, having previously worked for recruitment firm The Omerta Group and in a recruitment role at Credit Suisse.

    11. Greg Patel, head of recruitment for Asia Pacific at J.P. Morgan

    Patel is to Asia what Evans is to London. Having worked as head of recruitment for EMEA at J.P. Morgan between 2004 and 2012, Patel moved to Hong Kong in February last year.

    Click here to meet the other 15 individuals who can get you a job in banking -->

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    girls, women, gen y, millennials, happyEntrepreneurs who want to be digital disruptors should pay more attention to how they use tech, says James McQuivey, vice president of Forrester Research. 

    During a conference held at New York's Internet Week on Monday, the business man said women approach technology with a practical mindset. Whereas men are too focused on passion, women tend to see things from the customer's angle and ask, "What's in this for me?" This makes them in tune with their market and better able to serve its needs.

    "Seeing the need on the other end of the technology, not the technology," is crucial to being a digital disruptor, explained McQuivey. "Men can genuinely say they love their technology," but "it gives us the desire to seek new things to love and to be content with their flaws."  

    On the other hand, women "use technology," but do not love it. Instead, they're more focused on getting things done, connecting to people, and managing resources. It's for these reasons they're helping tech to evolve and become more user-friendly. 

    McQuivey also pointed out women tend to be better than men at creating product experiences, which are crucial to digital products and services.

    Do you agree that women are pushing technology farther?

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    Seth Merrin

    Today's advice comes from Seth Merrin, founder and CEO of Liquidnet, via The New York Times:

    "If you see something that we’re not doing right and you don’t say something, then it’s on you. If you think that everyone on the leadership team is taking into account everything that could possibly go wrong, you’re wrong. It’s everybody’s responsibility to help us run this company better than we can do it by ourselves."

    Merrin decided to eliminate titles at his global liquidation firm to encourage people from all levels to speak up. As a result of this policy, he says that he'll often be corrected by college interns during meetings.

    "Having no titles is symbolic, but it really works ... I don’t want people to aspire to get a higher title. I want people to aspire to take on more responsibility. More responsibility gets them more recognition."

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    endurance successVery few people know their own leadership style — or strengths and weaknesses, for that matter. But that's a mistake.

    From leading a company to hiring workers, you necessarily must know what you're good at and what, if anything, you need help with to properly meet your company's goals. I'd argue that your leadership-development efforts may be more valuable for achieving startup success than building business skills.

    But, of course, leadership skills aren't always innate. So for new entrepreneurs, especially, expect to put in a fair amount of work. To assess where you are, and to unlock your full potential, there are many courses available, as well as seminars and gurus. But a good place to start is a book on the subject, like the new one from John Mattone, Intelligent Leadership.

    Mattone has a wealth of insights, based on years of helping Fortune 500 leaders overcome their self-imposed limiting leadership habits. He identifies and distinguishes between nine distinct leadership traits that I see in all entrepreneurs, to some degree. The most effective entrepreneurs know their own dominant traits and how to build a team that has what she isn't good at covered.

    Here's what to look for in yourself and the people you bring into your company:

    1. Helpers. Mature helpers are considerate and genuinely the most sensitive and caring of all the leadership types. They are excellent mentors and coaches, but have a strong need to be admired and respected in return. Strengthen this trait by being more conscious of your need to be liked, and don't be possessive or controlling.

    2. Entertainers. Entertainers gain the respect of others with drive, determination, hard work and the ability to win people over. But they can become fixated with appearing successful, showing more style than substance, or undermine themselves by exaggeration, inflating their importance, or trying to win or one-up all the time.

    3. Artists. Artists are perhaps the most creative and innovative leaders. They tend to move people deeply, and bring out the most in people. As they become more mature, they draw less inspiration from themselves and more from others. Improve your artist side by avoiding negativity, procrastination and focus on self-discipline.

    4. Thinkers. Thinkers like to analyze the world around them and may prefer thinking to doing. Mature Thinkers quickly understand problems, can explain them to others and make sound and logical decisions. Strengthen this trait by not jumping to conclusions, seeking advice and working cooperatively with others you trust.

    5. Disciples. Disciples are able to form strong and cohesive work groups, but sometimes appear incapable of action without permission of an authority figure or belief system, and don't seek out leadership positions. This trait can be strengthened by accepting accountability, reducing reaction to stress and cutting ties to authority.

    6. Activists. Activists are good at lifting the spirits of team members and managers and are usually optimistic and confident. They tend to bury themselves in activities, but can be impulsive and select quantity over quality. Improvement efforts would include listening more to people, thinking about details and learning to say no.

    7. Drivers. Drivers are the most openly aggressive leaders, who enjoy taking charge and can make things better with their immense self-confidence. Unfortunately, they may feel the need to dominate every situation and make every decision. Mature ones act with more self-restraint, let others win and work with others.

    8. Arbitrators. Arbitrators tend to be the most open of all types. What you see is what you get. They find ways to bring people together and ways to involve everyone. To be a better Arbitrator, you need to be more assertive, more open, share your feelings and work on developing your listening skills.

    9. Perfectionists. Mature Perfectionists are capable of being highly noble leaders, with their deep sense of right and wrong and ethical principles. They are usually highly critical of themselves and others, and often frustrated by reality. To improve, they need to learn to relax, listen to others and remember that no one is perfect.

    In all cases, to reach your highest leadership potential, you have to stay true to yourself, rather than trying to conform to other people's images of the best you. If you truly commit to learning more about yourself and becoming the best that you can be, while possessing a great attitude, you will discover that all challenges are really the seeds of opportunity.

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