Steve Jobs was a highly controversial but extremely successful leader of one of the largest and most successful companies in the world. Jobs dazzled the business world and the general public with his drive for excellence, but annoyed at even angered many of his executives and employees with his single-minded vision. Jobs was remarkable and visionary, and he helped to revolutionize personal computers and the digital industry as a whole. Thanks for this, Apple enjoyed massive sales any time a new iPhone, iPad or iPod hit the market. All of this convinced the world in general and business circles in particular that this remarkable company was being led by someone who essentially never made missteps because of his fantastic leadership abilities. But the truth may be somewhat different. Jobs often seem to employee something referred to by his employees as the “reality distortion field.” In a sense, this was the kind of bullying, but it did convince people to achieve things they didn’t think they could, which served Jobs purpose (Goldsworthy, 2012). The following will examine the leadership abilities and approaches used by the unusual and ultimately successful Steve Jobs at Apple.
When considering the background of Steve Jobs, it’s easy to see the formation of many of the factors that made him a later success. Jobs was adopted on the promise to his birth mother that his new parents would find a way to pay for college. His new father taught Jobs basic electronics when he was young and Jobs enjoyed a moderately comfortable middle-class life. While Jobs was highly intelligent in school, he was also infamous for the pranks he pulled. As a college dropout after only one semester, Jobs chose to stay on a college by auditing classes and seemed a little concerned about what the future might bring. Having grown up in San Francisco, he may well have been influenced by both the antiwar movement and the hippie counterculture. But Steve Jobs is also surrounded by the beginnings of the high-tech Silicon Valley explosion.
As Isaacson pointed out (2012), Jobs had the unique capacity to motivate and inspire coworkers and employees with his passion and his conviction that they could accomplish virtually anything. Jobs’ own counterculture rebel attitude help to encourage a number of other entrepreneurs as well. Just as he is innovative ideas have been frequently copied, many others have tried to copy his leadership style as well. Jobs was driven by the idea of absolute perfection, regardless of the effect on the bottom line. His own driven nature pushed his people beyond their usual limits, and he expected Apples engineers to operate virtually as artists. Jobs went so far as to have them sign their work.
At the same time, Jobs was legendary for being unpleasant, inpatient and extremely rude. As a genius, he was perfectly willing to consult and antagonize others. Which begs the question: how did this individual with so many negative personality traits managed to...