An effective leader recognizes each person as an individual with different values and beliefs. Such influences as childhood experiences, ethnic background, and religious heritage determine an individual’s personality, values, and beliefs. Because of these differences, you should be aware that the actions you take might affect one member of your work group differently than another. Your actions could have a positive effect on one person and a negative effect on a different. As a careful leader, you should try hard to identify and think about these differences while deciding upon a choice.
Steve Jobs: often called Silicon valley pioneer and the author of unique leadership
‘Innovation distinguishes between the leader and the follower’ (Deutschman, 2001) this quotation is the key to the leadership style of Steve Jobs; he has made innovations accessible to the customers so that they keep opening their wallets. (ICFAI,2006) However, is it so easy to be a leader and to be noted among the most prominent. America’s leaders as it may seem at first glance? Somebody may become surprised to know that Jobs has not graduated any college (he started his education but never finished it), devoting all his lifetime to new technologies and innovations in this sphere.
Apple may be seen as ‘personality-driven’. (Young, 2005) However, the question here is whether it is good or bad, is it really that Job is a cult, and how personality driven companies may become profitable and successful. While Apple had six CEOs through the period of 1977-1985.
Thus, one of the peculiarities of Jobs’ leadership style is that he sees the core company’s activity through the marketing prism. Jobs were able to restructure the company and return it to the normal performance through the development of new products and making them popular among consumers. ‘Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative
Professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings’ (Young, 2005) this is the mission statement which Apple follows at present.
Brand fanaticism and radical customer devotion
Steve Jobs has based the leadership culture of the Apple Company on brand fanaticism and radical customer devotion. Though Jobs is highly criticized for his leadership style, but his achievements (introducing mouse and graphic user interface) cannot be neglected. They have become revolutionary. Jobs are perfectionist, and he has been described as being intimidating by several publications. (Harvey, 2001) Another important leadership feature peculiar of Jobs is that he does not see only computers, but far beyond. He is demanding both towards himself and towards his employees. His deadlines often seem impossible to meet. One more important characteristics of Jobs’ leadership style thus is his ability to combine zeal and fear for his employees, who often state that they are afraid of him, but form any business, especially for the large companies, it is essential that the employees have the same vision of reality with the head of the company.
The digital technology to the masses given by more than anyone else, as a creative thinker, he realised that the computers might be much more than plain productivity tools. As a substitute, they could help unleash our creativity and total enjoyment. Since the time he was a kid Steve thought that his ideas can change the world. This is another feature of leadership within Steve’s character not only he has always been perfectionist, but he always believed into the need of his performance for his company and for the consumers; and his self-confidence led him to success.
Jobs is the example of the transformational leader, he is able to direct his people and make them do things which they have never done before, but these things are essential for the realization of Job’s vision and plans. He is seen as ‘egotist’, but this is again an integral part of successful leader. Egoism often appears to be a pushing force for striving to success in business; this egoism should partially be spread on workers, as it is seen, Jobs is egoistic towards himself, but he is also egoistic towards his workers in making them achieve what seemed to be unachievable before, and it is essential that this egotist feature has also become an integral part of Job’s success. Perfectionism, egoism and creating .killing products.
Despite the fact that Jobs is sees as egotist, he was able to create successful team of workers, which creates new products and works for the satisfaction of the consumer needs and demands. Consumer is the central player of the Jobs’ business scene, and this is why his products are so successful. ‘He knows that great business comes from a great product’ (Anonymous, 2006), but great product is impossible without a team, which will work for its creation and improvement.
Jobs impressions of the new Motorola phone with iTunes software, and he displayed this new invention as something from what they could learn something (ICFAI, 2006) this relates to the innovation in leadership, but innovation which is impossible without team work. The success of his team work is partially egotism and high criteria, but also the idea and the belief into the strategy through which this product will be brought to life. Sometimes Jobs is not understood in his choice of the products which he sees as future innovations; after he has been back to Apple, he stopped production lines for all products and concentrated his efforts on the four only, which have later become the major company’s success. (Deutchman, 2001)
Jobs perfectionism is seen through his vision of the company being not only a competitor, but the company which brings killing innovations into people’s homes: he supposes that killing products bring killing profits. (Benezra & Gilbert, 2002) Concentration on few products only is also followed by the concentration on their quality. For the creation of these products he needs small team but this team should consist of top talents, because his vision of leadership also presupposes that small team of talents is more useful and productive than crowds of less talented people. He was able to combine his great ideas with consumer desires, marketing visions and the skills of managing his team. These are the keys to his success as a leader. He has created the whole culture within his company, and this culture pursues innovation, devotion to great ‘killing’ products, marketing vision and concentration on quality. “You’d show Jobs something and he might look at one part and say that just waste of time”. But he never said ‘make that button bigger’. (Young, 2005) This is the expression of Job’s striving for perfectionism and his ability to carry his ideas to his team who has to make them real. While he calls his new iTunes Music store a landmark which cannot be overestimated (Erve, 2004), this phrase can be attributed to any of his innovations. His products are perfect and are ‘killing’.
The ability of Jobs to concentrate only on the most necessary features is seen through his adolescence, when he dropped out of college and kept going to lectures as drop-in, visiting only those he supposed he would need in the future; among those were the courses of calligraphy, which seemed to be wasting of time, but which later became the basis for the Mac typography, and as a result the basis for the multiple typefaces which all computers integrally have at present. (Jobs, 2005) Jobs trusts in his success as the leader and he himself states the necessity to trust, which will ultimately bring necessary changes into one’s life and make one the leader. One has to find the job he would love, and this will also create serious success in any area. He believes that as far as work takes greater part of our life, it is essential to believe that what we do is great; otherwise our activity is doomed to failure.
Summary of the key leadership features
Summarizing the core features of Jobs’ success as leader are the following:
- Trust in success;
- striving for perfectionism;
- Ability to create small team of top talents;
- Brand fanaticism;
- Radical customer devotion;
- ‘killing products’ bringing ‘killing profits’;
- Ability to express the ideas to the team for their realization;
- transforming self-interests into business interests for both the leader and his team.
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