The aim of this work is analytical consideration of leadership style of Mr. Steve Jobs, co-founder and later the Chairman and CEO of Apples Computers Incorporated, a most successful businessman today. The challenge of the times The times are upon us when brilliant management and leadership are confounded. In the times of global technical breakthroughs and revolutionary transformations, as the power of “know-how” and the say-so of “vision” have joined their hands in leading organizations across sudden gulfs of learning, discoveries, necessitating multiple leaps of faith – we may boldly conclude: the era of the “middle-of-the-roaders” has grinded itself to a standing halt.
Customers-to-be are on the prowl for something extraordinary in the realm of technical overproduction. implicity and usability compounded with intuitiveness, versatility and durability, and, of course, functionalities flying in the matter of split seconds – are only some of the major concerns of the client today! The other essential concern is the philosophy behind the product, the personality of the company and corporative image.
As it has been aptly put: customers are not looking for just a product anymore; they are looking for a destiny. This, as nothing else, would be about the leadership style of the heads of an organization.
Steve Jobs’ leadership changed the world As “everything falls and rises on leadership” (John Maxwell, 2007, P. -2), we may well embark on a critical research of the exemplary leader who, to my mind, would forthwith fill the “carte blanche” of robust organizational leadership, rising to all of the occasions of today, let alone corporate competitiveness known for its rigor in Information Technologies.
With the power of creativity and originality of thought there is no competition. Everybody gains his unique place. That allowed Steve Jobs to announce at a certain time that Microsoft bought into Apple Corporation by purchase of 150 million USD “non-voting” shares (David Coursey, 2009).
To a hissing audience, it was announced that a commonplace view of Apple winning due to Microsoft losing is wrong. The whole pattern of such thinking is wrong. Having denounced the old views, Mr. Jobs assured that if Apple did not perform well enough, it posed a problem to Apple, not somebody else (Justin Hartman, 2007). Isn’t this view capable enough to change the world of business by shifting paradigm from “dog-eat-dog” view on competition, rivalry and animosity, to the paradigm of innovation, creativity and uniqueness, with an eye towards every company’s unparalleled input?
However, many would rather disagree in a dissentient voice: the world of big business is that of a sham friendship. I agree: everybody shapes his perception and philosophy of the world after himself; however not everybody can drastically change the world for better – Steve Jobs’ example certainly did! People who have their own way of creativity will never have “traffic jams”. Even if they have to make a step back in view of marketing or income rates, they will always come out on top, providing it leads the way to contributing those things which have never been known to the world before.
True leadership is about desire for a win-win decision-making. Steve Jobs’ futurity is the key Apple is a $30 billion company with only 30 major products (Carmine Gallo, 2010). In the world around us this is not much of the diversity. Later, Steve Jobs would talk about staying focused, calling for the need of restructuring organizational locus of control from merely staying afloat by diversifying product line to becoming spearheaded towards the future. The Apple Incorporated today As the morrow cares for itself, the question arises, what is the Apple Incorporated today?
Apple said its net income in the end of 2010 rose at the rate of 78 percent from a year earlier to a record $6 billion… Revenue soared more than 70 percent to $26. 74 billion, from $ 15. 68 billion in 2009 (The New York Times, 2011). Apple Incorporated products are well-known and easily recognizable across the whole world in line of personal computers, iphones, ipods and IPads. As of September 25, 2010, the Company had opened a total of 317 retail stores, including 233 stores in the United States and 84 stores internationally (The New York Times, 2011). Reminiscence of the past
With a little reminiscence of the past, the company was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak only to see Mr. Jobs vacate the premises due to a fall-out with Mr. Sculley in 1985, “hand-picked CEO, recruited from Pepsi” (Owen W. Linzmayer, 1999). This was an extremely humbling experience, which often shapes leadership providing the mold for them tried with the times of being downcast. As Apple’s product Newton failed under governance of Mr. Sculley, the company could not compare to Microsoft’s Windows operating system, having become the mainstay of computer standards.
Owen W. Linzmayer, 1999, P. 60) In 1997 upon return of Mr. Jobs, 12 years later, the company finally began to see the light at the time when Mr. Dell was building his own computer empire, saying: “Apple’s smartest move would be to “shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders. “” (New York Times, 2001 updated). However, such a stance into future possibilities was not daunting for Mr. Jobs at all. The same goes for any visionary who doesn’t dwell on life retrospectively. Leadership style defined With all being said, it is sufficient to take for granted that leadership style of Mr. Jobs is closely related to innovation and creativity. However, it is necessary to delve down to the fulcrum of his philosophy of life to get an in-depth understanding of this.
It has been stated by Steve Jobs: “Innovation distinguishes between the leader and the follower” (Deutschman, 2001, P. 1-3). In the book “The Steve Job’s Way” (Jay Elliot, 2011, P. 4), being privy to the early internal affairs of the Apple, Jay Elliot (Apple’s head of human resources) comments on the key leadership nuances of Mr. Jobs, saying that Steve has understanding of the very mindset of the people; when he wants to design and create something for himself – it literally means creating something for his prospective customers: “And because he thinks like his future customers, he knows he has seen the future. ”
It is a must-have skill for a leader to have a clear vision and know the future without much guesswork; however this visionary capacity takes deep root in a close walk with the contemporaries being wired to the very pith and marrow of trends, knowing what people desire ere they know it themselves. For some all this is a figment of fuzzy imagination; for Steve they are the air he breathes. While it is noted that from 1940s a shift has been made in leadership theories from personal features exhibited in a leader to what leaders practically do (Management and Organisation, 2004), I take it to be a sign for the materialistic touch in development of the Western world.
We are no longer as introspective as much as we are focused on the outward. Innate leadership according to theorists who debate the Trait approach, which traces itself back to ancient Greeks, is rather incidental than essential (Management and Organisation, 2004). With modern tendencies of entrepreneurialism our views have taken an outward and libertarian slant. The thinking pattern of our day and time presents itself in the following manner: a person should do his best, everything else is supererogatory; to which I answer that internal world of intentions and reins of the heart are not a mere decoration to the outward doing, but the core essence thereof.
While the Trait approach is not a sufficient basis to distinguish between leaders and followers (Management and Organisation, 2004) it is a grand mistake to dismiss it at that. Certainly, we cannot conclude that the backbone of leadership of Steve Jobs was all about attracting more customers, or raking in mega income, or doing something else to be noticed by investors. If we should follow those characters that were so motivated and tried to lead others, we could make but a dent in the myriads of failures in the realm of leadership. In the search for leadership essence we are groping for something ideal in a leader and if the case be – his exploits to zero in on their intrinsic value thereof rather than on the outward appearances.
If not so, than every human being is some kind of a leader, good or bad. The limitations of the Trait approach cannot fully account for effectiveness of leaders’ actions (Management and Organisation, 2004). With the behavioral perspective we may single out the successful patterns of behavior of Steve Jobs that led him to prominent leadership position. Indeed, Steve Jobs is a great visionary. It is possible to even state that he is one of the kind. It is the power of envisioning and clarity of purpose which further fosters the focus, or locus of control.
One cannot take anybody anywhere unless he has been there to start with. And Mr. Steve has taken his company, his staff, and the rest of the world onto the entirely new plane of things. Would it surprise you to know that Steve Jobs never graduated any college? He started, however did not follow it through. This is the way of the Steve Jobs, eagle-eyed visionary, streamlined for the future, not the past. it is easy to remark that the company’s governance is that of personality-driven type.
The company had six CEOs in-between 1977-1985 (Catherine Lee, 2010), alented and skilled managers, some fairly successful. However, only with the passion and zeal of Mr. Jobs, his futurity brought the company successful landslide. Mr. Jobs was not set on fixing what did not work; his zeal did not become a “fire-stomping mode” of problem-solving. He cared for the new products put out on the market line. Bringing new products, and innovative software and hardware is still the mission statement of the company.
Innovation is the key-note peculiarity of Mr. Job’s leadership style! nnovative leadership is opposite to reclining back and resting on one’s laurels, complacent about things the way they are at the market now. Lucas Lin (2009), a renowned expert in the field of leadership and management, wrote that Steve had a gut feeling for innovation, realizing the need to incessantly keep the ball rolling in order to stay on top of things. Innovation was his crystal prism to look through at everything within a business – “innovation first, everything else later”. Another hallmark of Jobs’ leadership style, thus, is his ability to combine zeal and fear of his staff, who often state that they are afraid of him.
However, fear and zeal will dovetail only when the staff share the same vision and reality perception that head of the company constantly evangelizes. this is the bottom line that ultimately defines success, regardless of the industry or domain. Lucas Lin continues criticizing Jobs on his autocratic leadership: “Steve Jobs, the CEO and co-founder of Apple is a highly autocratic or ‘CEO-centric’ leader. ” (Lucas Lin, 2009). Steve Jobs has founded the leadership style of the Apple Company on fear of his employees as much as on being fanatic about the brand of the company and being extremely radical concerning dedication to the customer.
This has brought as much criticism on Steve Jobs as much adoration he enjoys. Several authors describe him as intimidating and a hard-to-please perfectionist: His deadlines are often impossible to meet, but he is constantly moving, ever moving towards improvement in all spheres (Erve, 2004). However, to state that Steve Jobs leadership style is autocratic would be far from the truth. It may be so for ones less passionate for their jobs and products, nonetheless for ones in love with the Company, it would be much different, as night from day.
Let’s hear Jobs speak for himself: “When you hire really good people you have to give them a piece of the business and let them run with it… the reason you’re hiring them is because you’re going to give them the reins. I want [them] making as good or better decisions than I would. ” (George Ambler, 2008). Therefore, it is not democratic or autocratic governance style per se that bring effectiveness, rather the ability to switch between both and apply each model as need be. Here is a thorough answer to the question: why Steve Job’s leadership proved to be very effective. no longer can one eclectic leadership pattern bring results.
We see in leaders of today the deftness of interchangeability. While the autocratic leadership is explained by high degree of control exerted over followers, making for unwillingness in them to take responsibility due to low level of morale (Management and Organisation, 2004), we see indeed a very high level of control extended by Steve Jobs only to share the rule with the competent, turning over some of the business to ones vested with decision-making powers. That in turn, is democratic leadership pattern in the behavioral perspective (Management and Organisation, 2004).