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Leadership Behaviors and Attitudes of Steve Jobs

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Leadership Behaviors and Attitudes of Steve Jobs

2010-February-15 § 7 Comments

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(A discussion of Steve Jobs as a leader, based on Andrew J. DuBrin's definitions.)

Introduction

"iPledge allegiance to the Apple by the genius of Steve Jobs, and to the Quality for which it stands: one Fanboy under Tech, Indivisible, with Creativity and Style for all."1

This ode to the CEO of Apple exemplifies the influence and charisma extreme fans of Apple products (the so called "apple fanboys") attribute to Steve Jobs. However, apparently he is hated with similar eagerness by others, exemplified by the excistence of a "we-hate-Steve-Jobs" petition site2. So, who is this person that creates such extreme emotions?

Steve Jobs is a co-founder of Apple Company in 1976 (with a childhood friend Steve Wozniak)3. He was forced to leave the company in 1985, after internal power struggles, and returned twelve years later. Meanwhile, he had very successfully led the Pixar animation studios4.

Apparently, Steve Jobs is, despite his success, or maybe therefore, a controversial individual. Maybe a first approach to answering why this is can be found in a Harvard review blog entry by Bill Taylor: "So In terms of the impact his products have had on the world, Steve Jobs represents the face of business at its best. And yet, in terms of his approach to leadership, Jobs represents the face of business -- well, if not at its worst, then certainly not as something worth emulating."5

We will attempt to analyze his leadership style and his traits based on the information available to us:

Charisma

What is charisma? In Dubrins book on leadership he suggests that charisma "involves a relationship between the leader and the people being led"6. He furthermore points to the importance of "management by inspiration" as he calls it and he point to the different communication styles of a charismatic leader7. In essence, charisma is a key aspect of leadership, as Dubrin discusses.

Steve Jobs is famed for his ability to give speeches and captivate the audience' attention8. He is able to captivate his employees and audience with the ability of an evangelist. In this respect we can observe that he posses

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