Steve Jobs was one of the most well-known and innovative leaders of our time. In honor of Jobs and all of his amazing work, the following is a review of his leadership style and how it helped him (and can help you) become such an icon.
First and foremost, Steve Jobs would not have achieved the success he had without his charisma (which some say is a key aspect of leadership). Jobs had the ability to captivate audiences while giving speeches. He was very good at painting clear and descriptive pictures while enticing his employees and consumers. As a leader it is important to be able to captivate your audiences; because most of the time the audiences you are speaking to are the people who are following you or you want to have following you. Some of his charisma is fueled by his knowledge and passion for his field of work. Without passion or knowledge for your work you will find it hard to become a successful leader. People are not going to follow someone who cannot provide answers or are not excited about the projects they are working on. All of this inevitably created great enthusiasm throughout the company and can bring success and enthusiasm to any company.
Another factor that lead to Steve Job’s success as a leader was his overwhelming personalized motivation. He was very much motivated by his own goals and visions and not by the goals of others. To be a successful leader you must have your own goals to achieve. People want to see that you are capable of accomplishing your goals because they will then feel as though they will be able to accomplish theirs. He would often motivate with force and storytelling (as explained previously, Jobs would often create imagines and feelings through the stories he would tell to excite his employees and consumers about new products). Jobs wanted people to follow him, and he wanted success for the people on his team. The following is a quote from Steve Jobs that sums up his leadership motivation:
“My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better. My job is to pull things together from different parts of the company and clear the ways and get the resources for the key projects. And to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better, coming up with more aggressive visions of how it could be.”
Steve Jobs also had a very “entrepreneurial” mind set. Even as a multibillionaire, his work ethic never changed. It was said that Jobs brought an entrepreneur’s energy to every meeting, and never looked at anything as “beneath him”. In my opinion, as a leader this is one of the most important traits successful leaders can possess. As a leader you should never look at anything as though “that’s not my job”. You will gain more respect and more followers if you are willing to do even the smallest, tidiest job. Your team will do 80% of what you do, so you must always be giving 120% to have the success you are looking for. It is no surprise that Jobs often took risks and embraced the opportunities that came his way. One popular example of this is when Steve was forced to leave Apple, moving to Pixar and finding them great success, only to come back to Apple and turn them into the company that has revolutionized the entertainment industry. As a leader you must not be afraid to take risks, for under those risks are unlimited opportunities.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice; and the most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
The above quote from Steve Jobs highlights the positivity he brought to his team. As a transformational leader Jobs would often bring major and positive change with him wherever he would go (again his move to Pixar and back to Apple is a great example of this). Successful leaders do not concentrate on the negatives, rather they bring positive energy into the room; they bring the change that is needed for a team of people to be successful. Jobs knew he had to lead by example in order to achieve the goals he set. You cannot expect people to do as you say and not as you do, unfortunately this only works in the shoes of parents. If you want your team to be doing great things and thinking positively, you must be doing so yourself.
It was said that Steve Jobs was sometimes feared by his employees, but this must have been a fear in a positive aspect because at the end of his time with Apple he had a 90% approval rating by his employees. Why would this be the case? Jobs was a great leader. A person filled with enthusiasm for his work. He had an air of assertiveness about him that made people trust him and want to follow him. Steve Jobs was truly a great innovator and leader, and we can all learn something from his legacy.
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Facts and quotes came from http://davidkramer.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/leadership-behaviours-and-attitudes-of-steve-jobs/, an article by David Kramer based on definitions by Andrew DuBrin.