Personal Style Equals Leadership Style

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These articles were prepared for the December 5, 2001

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. A change in name spelling was made

December 13, 2006. All rights reserved.

How to Ace a Job Interview

The times they are changing, especially for job seekers.

With the country now saddled with its highest unemployment rate in

years, and at a time when the phrase "corporate downsizing"

has become as much a part of every day speech as "groovy"

was in the 1970s, job seekers are being forced to redefine themselves

and refine their skills to a razor’s edge.

Gone are the days of simply typing up a resume and letter, sending

it to the human resource manager, and sitting back to wait for the

phone to ring. While it is just as essential as ever to have a strong

resume, the tight job market has made it necessary for job seekers

to think and act in new creative ways in order to get a step up on

the competition.

"As a result of more mergers and more competition in today’s


world, everyone needs to be sharper than ever when it comes

to their communication skills," says Victoria Chorbajian,

an authority on public speaking, presentation skills, and media


Chorbajian will speak on "Effective Job Search/Interviewing Skills

in a Down Economy" on Thursday, December 6, at 1 p.m. at Saddle

Brook. Cost: $149. Call 201-263-0202. (

Based in Paramus, Chorbajian often works with corporate executives

to help them become more comfortable, dynamic, and effective as


in everything from informal talks to media interviews. She also gives

workshops customized to specific audiences, teaching presentation

skills, sales techniques, as well as particular skills such as how

to run an effective meeting.

The goal of the seminar is essentially to help people become as


as possible in a job interview. While most people are intimidated,

at least a little bit, in an interview situation, there are specific

techniques that job seekers can learn in order to increase their


of landing the job they want. "We work with everything," says

Chorbajian. "What do you say, when do you say it, why do you say

it, and how do you say it."

This extends not just to the need for an interviewee to choose the

right words, but also to such public speaking tools as effective


maintaining proper eye contact, the need to vary the pace of words

in order to build up momentum about an exciting project, and then

slowing your pace down to keep a sense of control and to convey


After graduating as a political science major from Drew University,

Chorbajian worked for 12 years in the financial industry. But she

always kept her sights on someday running her own business, and she

knew that it would somehow focus on public speaking. "I always

knew that I had a natural talent for speaking in front of any size

group, in fact, the larger size group the better," she says.


also knew that I was adept at putting together effective training


She has been operating her company full time for the past two years.

She is also the author of "Public Speaking & You: The #1


an audio tape that helps allay anxieties over the often-dreaded


assignments that come up in life.

"I tell my clients that it is important to look at every job


as an opportunity," she says. "Even if you know going into

an interview that it might not be for the job that you ultimately

want, it’s always an opportunity to meet people, network, and perhaps

be pointed in the right direction. You never know, sometimes an


may know of a position opening up in another department or even in

another company in the industry."

Although interviewing for a job is certainly one of life’s more


events, proper preparation can help empower job seekers, allowing

them to relax a bit, and enhance their chances of landing the job.

Chorbajian offers some tips.

Research, research, research. A good way to impress a

potential employer is to learn as much as possible about the company

before going into the interview. Are there recent mergers or


into other countries? LexisNexis, software that is available through

many public libraries, is one of the best sources of company news.

Also, the reference librarian at any local library can point the way

to a variety of directories that are packed with information


every industry.

Differentiate yourself. Ask yourself, what can you do

differently from everyone else? Job search techniques aren’t written

in stone. "Despite what they may say in books, there aren’t just

10 ways to look for a job," says Chorbajian. "If you have

an idea, try it out. If doesn’t work, or if you think it can work

more effectively some other way, do it differently next time. By being

creative you increase the chances that you’re going to catch someone’s


Be persistent, but non-threatening. "Most people don’t

do this, and it actually worked for me," says Chorbajian.


seven years ago I obtained an interview in an industry that I had

no experience with. I made up a marketing flier for myself and sent

it to the chairman of the company. I then followed it up with about

five phone calls over a two-month period, and they finally said `okay,

you can come in for an interview.’"

First impressions do count. In an interview situation,

job seekers need to be aware that they are being judged from the


they walk through the door. It is important to exude an aura of


from the initial handshakes straight through to the drive out of the

parking lot. Remember that perception is everything.

Don’t get rattled. Sometimes job candidates are asked

difficult questions that may raise their defense shields, such as

the reasons why they left a particular job. "It is important to

maintain a poker face," says Chorbajian. "Keep your emotions

off of your face, pause before you speak, and then speak in a calmly

modulated tone."

While there is no magic path that leads directly to the dream

job, even in this tight economy it is possible to increase the odds

a bit in one’s favor. A solid resume, strong preparation, professional

presentation, the ability to convey a sense of competence, as well

as maintaining a willingness to learn from one’s mistakes, all can

certainly help make the eventual success more likely.

— Jack Florek

Top Of Page
Personal Style Equals Leadership Style

Green or gold? Red or blue? It can make all the


in leadership style. Shoya Zichy sorts leaders into personality

type, and assigns each group a color. Zichy herself, head of


Zichy Associates, an executive coaching and consulting firm, is a

green. Greens comprise 17 percent of the population and tend to be

charismatic, enthusiastic spokespersons for their organizations, with

an ability to sweep others into their causes. Famous greens include

Oprah Winfrey, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Ghandi.

Zichy has devised a personality toolkit based on the work of Carl

Jung, the Myers-Briggs family, and David Keirsey, author of the


Sorter and the Personality Sorter (available online at

Knowing and understanding personality type, she says, provides


in work relationships, career choices, money management, and


Zichy speaks on a panel addressing "Business Leadership in


Times" at a joint meeting of the Human Resources Management


and the Institute of Management Consultants-Princeton on Monday,


10, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency. Other speakers are Sarajane

Mackenzie, vice president of human resources, Orchid BioSciences;

and William J.H. Foster, Foster Coaching/Consulting Group.

Zichy, author of Women and the Leadership Q, finds golds are the


of business life. Making up 46 percent of the population, they value

procedures, respect the chain of command, and "have finely tuned

systems for everything from raising children to running large


Famous golds include George and Barbara Bush, Dan Rather, and Queen


Providing the spark in corporate corridors are the reds, who are


spontaneous, and impulsive. Work must be fun for these free spirits.

They resist schedules and hierarchies and aren’t too big on planning,

but they excel at handling crises. Famous reds include former Governor

Christie Whitman, Bill Clinton, and Madonna.

It is the blues who see the big picture. Theoretical, competitive,

and always driven to acquire more knowledge, they seek learning for

its own sake, and are driven to challenge and test ideas and


Blues are visionary and do best in positions requiring strategic


In her book, Zichy provides self-assessment tools along with


of a number of individuals in each personality group. In this excerpt,

she writes about personality features, cutting across type, that limit

the maximization of leadership potential:

PEOPLE ARE OFTEN UNAWARE of what can be termed "sag

factors," which cause motivation to droop and languish. We may

think of the leadership profiles as having a stainless-steel quality,

with leaders who are undaunted, consistent, self-disciplined, and

highly motivated. What you need to remember is that these are


of highly developed examples of particular leadership types. In your

quest to develop your own leadership style, you may need to work


some sag factors while maintaining a vision of your peak performance.

There are different degrees of sag factors. Often people are unaware

that they are projecting their inner landscapes onto the outer world.

Many people can be highly functional and still be limited by these

traits. Insight is the first step toward positive change. Keeping

an open mind about the relevance of some of these sag factors in your

life will give you an opportunity for growth. To help you further,

this discussion culminates in a spot-check survey that will allow

you to determine the extent to which your sag factors need to be


Self-Management. Are you affected by fluctuations in your

mood? Many highly functional people do not realize their thinking

is tainted by depression or by anxiety and its close relative, fear.

This does not fit the self-image of a confident and self-reliant


yet to a certain degree and in some circumstances many people are

afflicted by doubt, negativity, and fear.

For our ancestors, fear was associated with survival. The modern


of fear is worry. Perhaps that is why it is often a very strong


For many people, however, the worry and anxiety to which they are

subject far outweigh their usefulness. In fact, they hinder decision

making and engender ambivalence and stress after decisions are made.

Anxiety is experienced as "the dread that something bad will


whether to one’s plans, one’s children, one’s money, or the world

at large. Some people even believe that worrying prevents bad


At its worst a person beset by anxiety may be unable to act in the

midst of uncertainty or ambiguity. A worried leader can create a


of worry that inhibits optimism and the belief in the creative


of others that is necessary for effective leadership. This rules out

the possibility of the leader giving people the benefit of the doubt,

trusting and empowering them to show initiative.

Self-Esteem. Put simply, your self-esteem is related to

the view you harbor of yourself: bright, dull, pretty, fat, competent,

don’t have what it takes. It’s not that these terms are at the surface

of your mind but that they subconsciously form a collective


of your assets and liabilities. Self-esteem is inextricably linked

to how you perceive yourself in comparison to others. It’s important

to remember that a sense of self-esteem has different degrees of


Some people always come out higher when they compare themselves to

others; there is no one they would rather be than themselves. This

is a measure of high self-esteem and becomes an automatic trigger

for self-confidence and initiative.

Decisiveness quotient. A leader must be able to make a

decision, determine a strategy, and request and obtain the resources

necessary to get results. A leader is a doer as well as a planner.

Part of the drag on some leadership decisions occurs when the leader

has not resolved her predecision stresses. This is related to the

ability to set specific goals as opposed to remaining ambivalent.

If ambivalence continues after a decision is made or a goal is set,

it interferes with the leader’s strength of purpose. Decision making

is a way to resolve ambiguity. An effective leader is able to contain,

for herself and others, the anxiety and confusion engendered by the

decision-making process. She is not threatened by the finality of

a decision.

Approach, avoid, attack. In understanding what motivates

you, how you characteristically respond to emotional challenges, the

"approach, avoid, attack" framework can be instructive. There

is a level of automatic response that people often bring to


However, this is not as simple as it appears. You can be physically

there and feel and look like you are in the approach mode but still

retain huge elements of avoid and attack motivation.

For effective leadership, the approach mode is essential. Behaviors

associated with this mode are those of encouraging, cooperating, and

guiding as well as setting protective limits. A person who can


is confident that problems can be solved. She crosses bridges when

she comes to them. She is not disposed to be guarded or suspicious.

She is calm and open.

The avoid reaction, which can be hidden, is compounded of anger and

fear. Rejection, withdrawal, and manipulation are all avoidance


The anger involved in avoidance can shade into attack. Retaliation,

threats, and coercion appear in the attack mode.

Be aware of how complex your characteristic responses may be. This

framework of approach, avoid, attack is used by Dr. Steven Stosny

to train compassionate parents. It is no accident that many of the

problems you have to deal with in the workplace have deep elements

of the reenactment of family dynamics.

Dealing with Setbacks. The ability to deal with setbacks

in a positive way is a critical leadership quality. No matter what

cards are dealt, the leader holds her own and plays the hand as well

as she can. Her optimism and self-esteem buoy her ability to create

new opportunities and move on. This scrappy, "can’t be


quality allows the leader to find steppingstones and new directions

where others would give up.

Many of the leaders described situations in their lives where they

assessed that they could not win. They were able to make plans to

move on. Change is not easy, and the sag factor here is that many

people stay in ruts, deny the reality of the situation, and are more

afraid of the risk of change than of stagnation. Leaders can move.

What is important here is that both of these factors have to do with

conquering fear and anxiety while maintaining a positive


sag factor is not being able to meet setbacks in an effective manner.

At the end of the day. No one is perfect. Give yourself

a pat on the back for taking the time to learn about leadership and

perhaps commit yourself to lifelong growth as a value. Many small

steps consistently taken over time are the way to significant change.

It’s your life. Take ownership of it.

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