Critical Analysis of Leadership of Steve Jobs

In the times of global technical breakthroughs and revolutionary transformations, as the power of “know-how’ and the say-so of ‘Vision” have owned 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-readers” has grinded itself to a standing halt. Customers-to-be are on the prowl for something extraordinary in the realm of technical overproduction. Implicitly 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 rationality 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 balance” of robust organizational leadership, rising to all of the occasions of today, let alone corporate competitiveness known for its Igor 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 USED anon-voting” shares (David Courses, 2009).

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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 Ousting 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 dissentions 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 willing 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 coming 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, phones, pods and Pads. As of September 25, 201 0, 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 1 976 by Steve Jobs and his partner Steve Woozier only to see Mr.. Jobs vacate the premises due to a fall-out with Mr.. Scullery in 1985, “hand-picked CEO, recruited from Pepsi” (Owen W. Linearly, 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.. Scullery, the company loud not compare to Microsoft’s Windows operating system, having become the mainstay of computer standards. Owen W. Linearly, 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’ (Deutsche, 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 he air he breathes. While it is noted that from sass a shift has been made in leadership theories from personal features exhibited in a leader to what leaders practically do (Management and Organization, 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 Organization, 2004).

With modern tendencies of entrepreneurial our views have taken an outward and Iberian 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 Organization, 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 meeting 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 Organization, 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 darted, 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 Coos in-between 1977-1985 (Catherine Lee, 2010), talented 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! Innovative leadership is opposite to reclining back and resting on one’s laurels, complacent about things the way they are at the market now.

Lucas Line (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 wrought at everything within a business – “innovation first, everything else late’. 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 evangelize. His is the bottom line that ultimately defines success, regardless of the industry or domain. Lucas Line 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 Line, 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 (Revere, 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… He reason you’re hiring them is because you’re going to give them the reins. 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 deed 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 Organization, 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 Organization, 2004). Cadre is all in all So, who was chosen to work for the Apple?

Of course, according to Steve Jobs, only the best of the best do; however they are all prescribed for love and passion towards the company: ” the real issue for me is – are they going to fall in love with Apple? ” (George Ambler, 2008). Attending most of the interviews and facing with the interviewing, behind the skills and expertise, he has been intently looking for something else, between the nines, something he would later call “meta-sense” – if the person was going to fall in love and be driven with passion and devotion to the product and the customer – would always be the thing to finalize the interview.

The power of personal beliefs the fact that Steve Jobs was absent in the Apple Company for more than a decade, affords a curious possibility to read into the difference he made upon his re-emergence: “From the time he was a kid Steve thought that his products could change the world’. (Peter Burrows, 2004) Here lies unearthed another clue to the core essence of leadership of Mr.. Jobs: he as an adamant believer in his own calling, being true to self. I love the following quote of Mr.. Jobs: ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life’ (Steve Jobs, 2005).

One-man focus group This is also corroborated by Mr.. Young (Jeffrey Young, 2005 P. 4-5), who wrote that Jobs cared not to pay much attention to any side opinions, coming in the form of marketing research and financial indices, but chose to always rely on his feel and intuition. One of the sayings rings in my ears: if you would like to have something you never had, you have got to do things you never did. Mr.. Jobs is truly a transformational leader, leading people to surpass themselves in places they have never been before.

That calls for being hard on self and others around. However, being hard on self should always come first: Jobs’ first order of business was to prove his commitment Apple’s turnaround – he asked the Board of Directors for a salary of only CSS$I (Deutsche, 2001, P. 103). Then came “being hard” on others, of what some call “one man focus group”: “(Deutsche, 2001). Over the next months upon his return to Apple, Jobs started from the word ‘go’, and had a ‘one man focus group’ overhauling the entire company, ruling which divisions to save and which to close.

That is “despotic” – said some of the critics. However, that was the beginning of the Apple Incorporated as we know it today: boiling the operations down to no more than four products which the company did real (Kenney, 2008). This saved Apple from bankruptcy and proved Mr.. Dell wrong. And even in the dire straights, saving company’s bottom line, Mr.. Jobs steadfastly stated his strategy: “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament” (Steve Jobs).

Accusations reconciled the world inevitably came up with accusations of Steve Jobs in being a narcissist, an egotist, throwing fits of bad behavior. Deutsche documents an occasion in which Jobs was publicly telling a programmer off: “You’ve baked a really lovely cake, but then you’ve used dog shut for frosting” (Deutsche, 2001). However, to a real leader nothing is too small a matter: he knows he is being watched and scrutinized. Kenney reconciles the matter: “Steve Jobs gives almost as much thought to the cardboard boxes his gadgets come in as the products themselves” (Kenney, 2008, P. 0-80) While having second thoughts on such autocratic behavior of Mr.. Jobs with his employees, I encountered Tom Peters’ take on the stance about angry and even furious people are the only source of change in the organization. Tom Peters is a recognized guru on management that is standing out by the way he bluntly puts it in terms of striking the truth home: “… It is my belief that, by and large, there is one and only one source of innovation. That source is: Angry people. People who are determined to make a change” (Tom Peters).

Reverting again to the need of staying focused, described earlier, Jobs believed hat smaller groups of talented people were much more efficient than crowds of lesser people by talent and skill. Hence, the layoffs that have happened occasionally in the Apple Company. Being focused would also mean doing lesser in diversity but greater in quality and innovation. Later, upon relinquishing some of the products, Mr.. Jobs would proudly remark: “I’m actually as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done”. Steve Jobs, 2005). The uncanny ability of Jobs to concentrate on the most essential things and features is vividly seen through his adolescence, when he dropped out of allege and kept going to lectures as a drop-in, attending only ones he deemed necessary for the future. Among such were the courses on calligraphy, which seemed to be a waste of time, although later became the basis for the Mac typography; and in the result, the basis for the multiple typefaces which all computers integrally have at present (Jobs, 2005).

Conclusion In order to categorize Steve Job’s leadership style, I would attribute it to transformational and innovative leadership style: ” . Required where volatile organizational change is the context ] Transformational leaders have a vision of what needs to be done in an honorable situation, are able to communicate this vision to their followers and inspire them to achieve it” (Management and Organization, 2004) Further, we may see that transformational leader establishes high performance expectations and displays confidence in collective ability to realize the organizational vision.

Steve Jobs would surely have to present himself as a role model; that is why the leadership in Apple Corporation resembles the personality cult, as said by critics. The leadership of Mr.. Jobs proved to be highly effective in creation of the shared powerful vision, in stringent screening for people being passion-driven about he company and its products, and taking a spearheaded adamant stand for innovation to extricate from a difficult situation in business by believing in his innermost principles against all odds. Mr.. Jobs is both an autocratic leader and democratic, as shown from his practices.

But he never was a single second of his life a laissez-fairer. According to the Blake and Mouton managerial grid, it is clear that Steve Jobs is Team leader by managerial behavior: “In this category the leader shows a high concern for people and a high concern for task. This approach is thought to be based on shared values and levels, which create cohesiveness and unity of goals across the organization. The leader empowers others to achieve and this participative approach ensures relationships are enhances and tasks completed” (Management and Organization, 2004).

Not all of the experts shall agree to Mr.. Jobs being a great leader. It is still in question if he really helps his subordinates to achieve their full potential and in what manner, since transformational leaders enable followers to show high commitment and transcend their own goals for the sake of those of the company (Management and Organization, 2004). However, it will remain set in stone that Mr.. Steve Jobs is one of the greatest visionaries the world has ever seen. References Burrows, P. (2004) Steve Jobs: He Thinks Different. Rubrics: The Great Innovators.