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Mahatma Gandhi And Steve Jobs

2965 words (12 pages) Essay in History

02/05/17 History Reference this

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Compare and contrast two leaders, at least one of whom must be a business leader. Which of the two was the more effective leader? Why? What skills did they demonstrate? These two leaders must be explicitly named in your assignment and will be drawn from your knowledge of them or from biographies of modern-day leaders. Provide enough details of these two leaders so that a reader, who does not know of them, will be able to follow the points about them that you are making. Your assignment should demonstrate that you know what makes a successful leader, manager and entrepreneur in any situation.

Executive summary

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

What is Leadership? 3

Comparing and contrasting two leaders 4-5

Which of the two was the more effective leader 6-9

What skills did they demonstrate? 10


Conclusion 11


Reference 13-14


Leadership is the ability to inspire and at the same time influence others to strive towards one common goal. The aim of this paper is to compare and contrast two leaders: Steve Job who was a business leader for Apple Company and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who was a political and spiritual leader of India whose main focus was on “non-violence”. Firstly, I would declare which one of these two great leaders was more effective. Secondly, I will evaluate what skills they demonstrated to make themselves such great leaders in the business, political and spiritual world.

Finally, meaningful conclusions will be drawn from the discussions of the two leaders. The relevant information and content for this paper were gathered from books, lectures, newsletters and internet research. I wish to acknowledge the assistance of my wife and colleagues for their valuable contributions toward this paper.

The comparisons between two great leaders: Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs

In commencement, I would say that both leaders were great at inspiring and motivating others. Although their struggle involved the achievement of different objectives (Gandhi- the independence of India and the freedom and equality of its citizens and Jobs- constant and aggressive innovation and creativity in products and services), their leadership styles were somewhat similar in accomplishing their goals

Mahatma Gandhi truly inspired millions of people in India and around the world when he so convincingly demonstrated that even a common man can make a difference by bringing the British Empire to its knees. He accomplished this feat with his principles of self-reliance and non-cooperation to the British Autocracy. He willingly inherited the support of many Indian citizens against the fight of this dictatorship. He believed in effecting change through positive conflict; he organized many peaceful protests and marches and effectively utilized the tactics of civil disobedience to undermine the British Rulership. He explicitly exhibited through the ‘Salt March’ that change can be effected through peaceful protests rather than anarchy and chaos. A fight for liberation was a fight that everyone felt a part of.

Steve Jobs, who was also inspired by the legendary Mahatma Gandhi, inculcated a similar method in the way he inspired the employees of Apple Company to work assiduously towards the production of the best product for the company. He served as a motivator for many current CEOs with his hard knock style of leadership in the peculiar way he took his company into a new era. Especially because of his “think different” message and ability to continuously surprise and deliver on his vision. Jobs is particularly noted for his philosophy to make products which were at the intersection of art and technology, intuitiveness and design. His openness to being inspired allowed him to live his philosophy, and in turn inspire others.

Secondly Gandhi and Steve Jobs build relationships with their followers through their leadership styles, which enabled them to execute their visions of being successful leaders. Gandhi connected with people of all classes, creed, religion and beliefs and built powerful relationships by his simple deportment of a white dhoti along with his modesty and humility which he displayed indiscriminately with everyone by touring across India, leading all the major movements personally and by holding various public meetings repeatedly. Steve Jobs build relationships with all employees and remained simple by wearing jeans and t-shirt despite holding the prestigious position of CEO of the Apple Company. Both leaders understood that in order to gain the loyalty and commitment of their followers, the autocratic distinction and segregation between superior and subordinate through corporate attire, offices and other luxuries had to be abolished. In the instance of Jobs, employees need to feel comfortable, not intimidated, in order exploit their highest potential and creativity. Likewise, Gandhi’s philosophy preached ‘Love for one and all : friend or foe”. instead of corporate attire so he would be at everyone level, this would have made it easier for him to communicate to all employees and also have greater understanding of the company.

Thirdly, great credibility can be seen with Gandhi, through his initial work and movements in South Africa, so Indian society would already know what a great leader he was, by using his non-violent methods to attain his goals. He led through example by being a slave for the people of India and empowering the general public. He made it his policy to practice what he preached, even to the small things like spinning yarn to make his own clothes. He resorted to simple and poor living, just like millions in the country, hence people looked at Gandhi as one of their own, and they could see their own sufferings in him. While Steve Jobs is known to be secretive and does not give too many interviews or public appearances, his strategy, though adds to an element of surprise and curiosity, also provides him the necessary credibility. People know from his past that he delivers on his promise and does not create a false smoke screen of distraction and deception.

In addition both of these leaders were visionary; one of the most outstanding qualities of Gandhi is that he makes himself a great transformational leader of modern history with his long term vision, self confidence and strong principles of righteousness. Steve Jobs was known to have a stubborn and perfectionist attitude, which led in executing his vision, which was according to (Reed, 2012) “making the best and most original products the world had ever seen” even under adverse market conditions demanding quick reaction. In 2000 when Apple Company suffered an economic downturn, he still believed in the future of apple product lines like ipod, itune and macintosh; this was partly due to the fact that he was involved in the minute details of the products, balancing micromanagement and vision.

Faith in self-Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs believed in themselves. Both believed that they had a great responsibility. Firstly, Gandhi believed that it was his duty to free his country and he exhibited complete faith in his abilities, strategies and principles. He knew he’d a play a significant role in the freedom of India and so he did in accordance with his famous quote “Be the change you want to see in the World”. It was this undying faith and confidence in himself that eventually manifested itself in the faith of millions of Indians in him.

Similarly, Steve Jobs believed that it was his responsibility to grow the Apple Company through pioneering new products and services through constant innovation. Infact, his intense secrecy about products through their early stages of production clearly depicts his complete confidence in himself. Conventionally, companies invest in rigorous advertising during the production process of a new product so that by the time the finished product is ready for launch, there is already a committed market with full awareness of the features of the product and willingness to buy. However, Job’s strategy was quite different; the public knew nothing of the Job’s products until the official launching was instituted. He desired greatly the element of surprise and was confident that his launching tactics were more than enough to raise awareness and willingness to buy the product.

Great Tacticians: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Steve Jobs were men of intense strategies and tactics and these strategies were well in sync with their beliefs and principles. Gandhi’s main objective was to end the British Dictatorship and gain India’s independence. However, his fervent belief in peace and non violence restrained him from leading an anarchic and chaotic revolution. Nevertheless, Britain succumbed to his demands through his tactics of organised massive civil disobedience. This can be seen in his most famous protest called the Salt March. Against a British policy of taxing the use of salt for Indians, he organized a 388 km march to the sea at Dandhi, Gujarat and make salt for himself. This campaign was extremely successful in upsetting the British and the government decided to negotiate with Gandhi. His peaceful resistance was his main weapon that lead him to victory.

Steve Jobs had some tactics too that realised his dreams of constant innovation and creativity. His perfectionism, belief in the element of surprise and balance between micromanagement and strategic direction helped him to achieve his objectives.

Contrasting two leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs

Mahatma Gandhi and Steve Jobs, although very similar in many ways, were also very different in many ways in their leadership styles (the great paradox). There differences stem from the different culture their vision, different generation era and different end results/goals.

Firstly, Steve Jobs was a more authoritarian leader in the working environment while Mahatma Gandhi was a Servant Leader in the political and spiritual environment. He used his tactics of massive civil disobedience to organised millions of people in Indian to employ non-cooperation, non-violence and peaceful resistance as his “weapons” in the struggle against the British. Jobs on the other hand, because of his perfectionist quality, used a dictator type of leadership style to get the best from his employees . He ensured that the employees worked towards his vision which was to envision a better world of improved services and products.

Secondly, Mahatma Gandhi was not interested in affluence and material wealth in life. This could be seen in the simple clothes he wore, the way he communicated with the common man and the way he lived his life. While Steve Jobs’s main goal was to impress and capture the world with his services and products and at the same time lead a creative and innovative company in the prestigious position of CEO.

Thirdly, Mahatma Gandhi ardently exhibited and practised love for all in accordance with his inspirational quote “Love for one and all, friend or foe”. He was able to channel public discontent into a positive element not with force but by love; this trait was always present in his leadership. Steve jobs demonstrated no emotions towards his employees; his only passion was to produce the best product for the market and ensure that his employees work towards his vision. Jobs was the kind of leader who concentrated solely on getting the project completed and probably regarded the employees as an instrument in the completion of the project. He paid little or no attention to the personal lives or issues of his employees.

In addition, Mahatma Gandhi was a great communicator; he was a great public speaker who was fearless and eloquent in convincing his followers of his objectives. Public awareness of his vision was imperative in achieving Gandhi’s liberation; hence, he brilliantly utilized his journalistic skills to write various articles about his vision. On the other hand, Steve jobs seldom interacted with the public in an attempt to product the originality, creativity and competitive advantage of his new products. He was noted however, to give public speeches at the launching a new product which was the only time he actually interacted with the public.

Which of the two was the more effective leader

Mahatma Gandhi was more effective leader with his communication skills; he was able to organised millions of people and convinced them of his cause which was freedom

Gandhi was fearless and eloquent with his words. He reached out to

What skills did they demonstrate?

They were many skills which Mahatma Gandhi displayed as being as a true leader

Firstly he had Faith in himself- Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t a great orator, didn’t had a very attractive physique, lived a life of simplicity and avoided limelight as much as he could, but still he is regarded as one of the Greatest persons to have ever walked on earth. The reason is he always believed in himself. He believed that he has a great responsibility to free his country and he had complete faith in himself. He knew he’d a play a significant role in the freedom of India and so he did. His faith in himself triggered the faith of millions of Indians in him.

Secondly he was very Resistance & Persistence in leading the Independence movement of a huge country such as India and that too with non-violence and against the violent and cruel British army. Gandhi was beaten a lot of times, a lot of times he was left alone, bleeding and lying on the ground and sometimes it seemed that he won’t see the sun, next day but each day and each time he faced the opposition, he resisted, he persisted and he got through all the opposition.

Thirdly he show Strength of Character-Mahatma Gandhi was a man of great character. He kept himself away from the materialistic desires, always favored the truth and honesty, he condemned violence, he was married but still he was celibate and was himself a pure vegetarian. He was celebrity and was covered on the front-page of all the important newspapers in the world at that time. But still he lived the life of simplicity and discipline.

In addition Truthfulness-“Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.”

Most of the people reading this post would not know that before becoming a freedom fighter, M.K. Gandhi was actually a lawyer. Most people would wonder that the profession of lawyer requires much cunning and lying but still Gandhi never resorted to lying. He promoted truth throughout his life. He always called truth as his most powerful weapon.

Furthermore he preaches the use of non violence everyday, he is known in the whole world for his principles of non-violence. He never resorted to violence and has won the war of independence of India just by non- violence. If human resort to and resolve their problems and conflicts peacefully, without violence and cooperating with each other, thousands of innocent lives can be saved, that are often lost in wars.

Last but not least Love but never hate-“Whenever you’re confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”

This is a quality most of the people would have difficulty to adopt. But this is a quality often found in great people. It was present in the Buddha, Christ and in other great spiritual leaders. This was something Gandhi adopted from his ideals.


“When you avoid a fight and instead walk out of the arena with your opponent, both having a smile on their faces: it might look stupid. But it actually works in your favor. Two things you’ve won- the fight without even actually fighting and a good friend that might help you in the ups and downs of life. Actions like this help in building everlasting relationships.”

3. Forgiveness-

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Mahatma Gandhi was thrown into jail, beaten on the roads; many people conspired about his death and tried to assassinate him. But he forgave them all. He always forgave the people that might have hurt him in any way.


“What people don’t understand is that forgiveness is not only a great quality but it’s also somewhat a selfish act; When you forgive the people that might have hurt you or caused you some problems, you let go of the negativity associated with that event. Also, forgiving people causes a long lasting positive impact on their lives and builds everlasting relationships. So remember to forgive everyone, issue a blank pardon and forgive everyone.”

4. he Learn from his mistakes-

“Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession.”

Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t perfect from the beginning. When he was child, he lied, he stole, and he fought and was too much after material things. Not all his actions were praised around the globe. Some of his actions were condemned in his own land. He made mistakes throughout his life but he never made the same mistake twice. He failed but he learned from it and achieved success.


“We’re all humans and making mistakes is a part of being human. But we should always stop and take a look at what mistakes we did and why they happened. If we learn from failures and mistakes, they’d eventually turn out to be as grand success in life.”

7. Conclusion

In concluding,

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