For several decades, leadership experts have through their research found that, when talking about the leadership process, culture matters so much. Generally, several leadership discussions highlight the critical need for cross-cultural and global leadership, especially given the demand to establish networks, grow relationships and to accommodate differences and similarities. Although leadership competencies have remained the same, it is our understanding of what it is and how it works and the ways in which people learn to apply it has shifted Bennis (1985). However, culturally intelligent leaders need be strategic in aligning the culture of their organizations with the people who work in them. But to achieve these leaders must be authentic in the face of ever-changing business environment considering internal and external factors. When a leader becomes culturally intelligent and authentic then morally grounded cultural adaptation is inevitable. A blend of this concepts makes a leader highly visible, admirable and worthy of emulation. Amidst these concepts there are leaders who have distinguished themselves in global organizations in these fit while others have challenges remaining authentic across multi-cultural backgrounds.
Steve Job an Authentic Leader
Authentic Leadership is one of the concepts that focuses on the realness of the leadership, leaders are true to themselves, so their character makes an influence (Northouse, 2013). However, as most of the leadership has highlighted influence, authentic leadership is more than just influence. Authentic leadership is about conviction, originality, someone doesn’t fake, are genuine and actions overlap with their actual values. The life story of the leader portrays the character. They are not just charismatic leader but believe in their true north gut instinct. A good example of a leader I admire in this regard is Steve Jobs. In his entire life, the late Steve Jobs was known as being one of the most influential and innovative leaders of his time. Jobs was able to lead several organizations into being some of the most powerful institutions in the world. He was the founder of Apple, and started Disney, Next, Pixar and other companies which was later bought by Apple in 1997. Steve was known for being tough and hardworking, yet possessing a certain simplicity. He honestly pursued his passion and was result oriented. He believed in creating and serving the consumer with the highest quality products. He wasn’t a diplomatic leader but honestly expressed his feelings without sugarcoating. The board ousted him from the company that he once created from the scratch and in few years time Apple Inc. faced its appalling crisis, Steve Jobs acted very well as an authentic leader. Although Apple Inc. were at a terrible situation that time, both with unoptimistic financial statements and unpopular products, Steve Jobs were still true to himself, his core values, to the company. Instead of being afraid, he encouraged his followers to develop better products in order to gain ticket holding through the crisis. Steve Jobs executed the best of his ideas with honesty, had a clear vision about what the world would look like and was result driven. He restored confidence through his authentic leadership style, creating innovative high-quality products like, iMac, iPhones, iPod, iTunes and iPad admired by the consumers. Apple regained market leadership position through his vision, core values and result oriented approach.
Consider the four factors of Authentic Leadership; discuss how the leader rates in each of these areas. Also consider the issues brought up in the reading for this unit, particularly ethics and personal values. View the actions of the leader through multiple lenses.
Consequently, authentic leaders should be good at building self-image in order to gain followers trust. This is crucial component as well as the secret of authentic leadership, considering its four factors. Authenticity is more than just being open or telling the truth. It requires an awareness of yourself and your values. Considering the four factors of Authentic Leadership, we can rate how Steve Job has performed in these areas;
This is the first step to authentic leadership. You have to know who you are and what is important to you to be true to yourself. This may sound easy, but it really isnt. But from Steve Jobs speech at his commencement address at Stanford University: Truth be told, this is the closest Ive ever gotten to a college graduation, we saw truth. He also explained why he dropped out of college. One of the students who helped choose Steve Jobs as the commencement speaker said they had expected him to talk about his successes, not his failures (Stanford, 2005). But from Jobs character we know that it is important you know who you truly are thats what self-awareness is about. Authentic leaders are not afraid to talk about their failures but willing to share their mistakes and shortcomings.
To really foster authenticity, it’s critical you remain genuine, straightforward, and honest with your team. Let them know where they stand, if they mess up, tell them. I remember Steve to be a straightforward man, he and his employees had an exchange relationship for a common purpose – to provide the best computer product on the market. He was known to confront and berate employees. He would directly confront people and almost call them idiots. On one occasion, he fired an employee without notice and did not give her two weeks severance pay because she didnt adhere to directives. These made many believe Steve Jobs was a bombastic tyrant who was very difficult to endure and would yell and curse employees. Others believe his angry antics were legendary (mmm,2012). Also, Steve was known for being too focused on work to care about others feelings which was one of the reasons Apple cut ties with him in the first place, but he adapted, came back with empathy and leadership skills, and went on to pioneer some of Apples greatest creations ever (Achieveiconic, n.d)..
Leaders need to make decisions and stay true to their decision in the face of opposition, but should be capable of considering alternative viewpoints before choosing a plan of action. One of the most famous stories involving Jobs confidence is when he wanted a special type of glass for the front of the iPhone and he wanted it quick. When an employee told him it was impossible, Jobs simply said Yes you can do it. You can deliver, dont be afraid. This type of confidence not only in himself and in his products, but also in others is what made Jobs the leader so many know him as today (Achieveiconic, n.d).
Internalized Moral Perspective
An authentic leader needs to know when to put the needs of the company and its customers ahead of his own needs. However, a leaders quest should be to do the right thing for the success of the organization. Often, Steve Jobs had a directive leadership style where the leader told the subordinate what to do. He instituted the concepts and ideas then employed the engineers to fulfill the request. They were to stay within parameters and set deadlines he instituted. Steve Job put the organization ahead by setting organizational rules and boundaries and expected the subordinates to follow through (Cavalier, 2015).
Based on the cultural situation that has been discussed, we see that by most accounts, many of us will never be able to mimic the unique characteristics that made Steve Jobs such an inspirational leader, there are a number of lessons that any person can learn from his unique leadership style he was honest, showed valuing and achieving openness and truthfulness in his close relationships with employees. Although Steve job failed to check all the boxes of an authentic leader though he succeeded as transformational leader. Steve Jobs seemed like a verbose dictator who was very difficult to endure and I believe this due to his personal drive to bring the needed transformation to Apple at all cost.
Above all things, Steve Jobs rated very high, he had vision and this creative vision challenged his employees and drove them to act with vision as well. He was always thinking of the future and always had a clear idea of what he wanted to move towards. This vision helped Jobs pull his team together and helped them work towards a common goal whenever he had a new idea for the future of Apple. However, Job may not have acted 100 percent an authentic leader following the four factors but he was honest to who he was, became a strong influence, well internalized moral perspective and was a great example of self-confidence. Everyone fails at one point or another. Good leaders use it to their advantage. They confront their failure and learn from it. Like Jobs, they use it to reinvent, and this is why I admire Steve Jobs.
Personally, looking at the exercise I want to be an authentic leader. I believe that an authentic leader demonstrates cultural intelligence and show initiatives that prove that they are morally grounded and can adapt to every situation. They are constantly taking the lead and naturally remain ahead of others. They also wont push any of their followers to do things that they dont want to but when they do, it is burnout of influence. Authentic leaders use their action to motivate followers just as Steve Jobs did and my ideals converge with his on this matter.
To be authentic, you have to know what your fears and anxieties are, and what surviving strategies are best for you. You have to break through your fears and come to terms with yourself. You have to accept your strengths and weaknesses and be willing to manage, walk through them and confide in others. No matter who you are or what youre leading, authenticity is important. Its what your followers want. To lead authentically, you need to know who you are and be open with others. When you lead authentically, people trust you to deliver a message worth listening to.