Great leaders come in many forms. From one point of view, solid leadership is a subjective thing, from another there are certain characteristics that are, by common consensus, typical for leadership. Leadership is the process of influencing people within the group to work hard towards, and be fully committed, to the common group goals. Newsweek names Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple as the best of the 10 Best Leaders of 2005. Let’s try to figure out what qualities possesed by Jobs caused him such a success.
Jobs is both adored and criticized for his skills of “persuasion and salesmanship”, as well as for being rough and hasty, witty and straightforward. But no matter whether he is admired or hated, every one would admit that Jobs possess the characters of the great leader, he is charismatic, bright and quick learning, motivated and not afraid to experiment, as he himself once said :“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
Steve Jobs dropped out of college and teamed up with Steve Wozniak in 1976 to sell personal computers in his garage. That was the beginning of Apple Computers that revolutionized the computing industry and made Jobs a multimillionaire at the age of 24. He was fired from the company in 1985 and started the NeXT Corporation, but returned to Apple ten years later when Apple purchased NeXT. Jobs soon became Apple’s CEO and sparked rebirth of the failing at that time company with products like the colorful iMac computer and the revolutionary iPod music player. Jobs became also the CEO of Pixar, the animation company that produced movies like Toy Story, Monsters and others. (Young, Simon)
Steve Jobs is one of the first leaders in the world of computer technologies who used stories and fairy tales to build a corporate culture that carries the “vision and ambitions of its leader.” To create a vision far beyond the scope of an individual, promoting his ideas, Steve Jobs used not only stories of good and evil, “where the pirates of Apple had the mission to stop the monopolist IBM,” he instinctively used a leader’s storytelling technique. (Tichy, Cohen)
Steve Jobs usually speaks very little about the financial success, preferring to talk of the ‘revolutionary’ mission of his creations. For example, “The Macintosh team”, as stated in Business Leadership Review “was obsessed by its quest to leave its mark on history. Hyper-conscious of the exceptional nature of their company, Apple men and women worked above all to make the Macintosh an outstanding opportunity for the whole world.” (BLR) And that wad definitely what drove and motivated them that was what convinced them that their work was worth the effort, and it was definitely Jobs’ credit as a leader.
Now Jobs is stepping into the Magic Kingdom, on January 24th, the stock of Pixar Animation Studios, where Jobs is chairman, CEO, and 50.6% owner, was purchased by Walt Disney Corporation. As part of the deal, Steve Jobs is going to become the largest shareholder at Disney and take a seat “on the entertainment giant’s board”. (Burrows, Grover, Green). Steve Jobs possesses industry-shaking, overwhelming energy that has raised Apple and Pixar to the skies; if he manages to do the same to Disney he could help the sedate corporation become the leading laboratory for “media convergence”.
Through all these sporadic ups and downs, Steve has remained obstinate and confident of his own decision-making and leadership style. But as Young and Simon pointed out in their book: “his years in the wilderness have made him more human”. Good/real leaders can take the knocks and bounce back for even more success and Steve Jobs is the best proof for that. The alliance with Disney is promising and without a shadow of doubt, Steve Jobs will come up with something innovating and exciting to offer the world in the nearest future.
Work Cited Burrows, Peter, Grover, Ronald, and Green, Heather, Steve Job’s Magic Kingdom, Business Week, New York, February 6, 2006, Issue 3970, page 62. Business Leadership Review, the forum for best practice in postgraduate management education, Association of MBAs, October 2004, Volume 1, Issue Tichy N.M, Cohen E.B. (1997), The leadership engine: how winning companies build leaders at every level, New York: Harper Business. Young, Jeffery S and Simon, William L, iCon Steve Jobs - The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005 ISBN: 0-471-72083-6
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