Leadership Analysis Paper: Steve Jobs
Steve Job was a renowned technological inventor who is still reveredworldwide for his contribution in the Apple Company. He was aco-founder, chairman and CEO before his death in 2011 (Wilson 1). Thelife story of Steve Jobs is a winding path full of dramatic andconstructive pattern. Born in 1955 in San Francisco California, Jobwas given up for adoption few months later by his biological parents,Abdul Fattah Jandali and Joanne Carole Schieble, who were WisconsinUniversity graduate students (Wilson 1). He was taken up by Paul andClara. Paul was a mechanic and Clara an accountant who initiallylived in Wisconsin but later settled in Sunset District in SanFrancisco in 1952.
During his early life, Job developed a liking for technology afterbeing nurtured by his father who was a machinist and repaired carsfor fun after quitting the Coast Guard (Wilson 1). He was motivatedby his aggressive, skilled and hands-on attitude. The family latermoved to Mountain View in 1961, a town which neighbored the renownedtechnological town of Palo Alto in California which later became theSilicon Valley. As a young boy Steve showed a lot of interest inelectronics by dismantling and reconstructing various electronicgadgets in his father’s garage (Wilson 1).
Job’s early school life was very disappointing since he loathedformal education. He was a prankster and a cheeky boy in Monta Lomaelementary school to an extent of being bribed to study by his fourthgrade instructor (Wilson 2). Being an intelligent student he alwayspassed his exams and proceeded to high school. He enrolled toHomestead High where he met his future partner and Apple co-founderSteve Wosniak. After high school job joined Reed College in 1972 inOregon for two years(Wilson 2). During his first semester, Jobdropped out of college and embarked on his exploration journey toIndia where he studied eastern religions such as Buddhism.
Steve Wosniak designed his first computer, Apple I, in 1975. Jobfascinated with the invention, advised Wozniak to sell it and grossedalmost $1 million (Wilson 2). They later formed Apple ComputerCompany with Ronald Wayne who later moved out. Up to 1977, theyengaged in selling small electronic gadgets such as microbuses andcalculators. In 1977, they developed Apple II personal computer whichbecame a successful gamble selling many products and making theminstant millionaires grossing over $3 million in the first year and$200 million by the third year (Wilson 2).
Apple II was much smaller and filled the market niche that existedsince most companies produced mainframe computers which were verybulky, large and occupied a lot of space. This paved way to moreinventions in personal computers and by 1980 many companies producedthem forcing apple to be innovative to beat the competition (Wilson2). Later Apple Inc. produced Apple III, LISA and Macintosh modelswhich did not do very well due to their expensive nature and lackedother features seen in many personal computers.
In 1985 job was fired from Apple due to his expensive projects,reduction in market sales and revenues and leadership wrangles(Wilson 2). Job decided to form his own company NEXT, which unveiledNext computers meant for institutions and business people. Job boughtPixar in 1986, which was specialized graphics software which hepartnered with Walt Disney to produce animation films (Wilson2).Pixar was very successful and grossed a lot of revenues after thesale of Toy Story, Monsters and Bug’s Life animationfilms.
Job sold NEXT Company back to Apple Inc. in 1996 at an exorbitantprice of $486 million and assumed his previous position as chairmanand CEO (Wilson 2). From then till his death in 2011, Jobsleadership, marketing and management skills plus his innovativenessbrought in vigor and success to a collapsing Apple Inc. He introducednew products such as Mac OS X, iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, iTunesMusic Store and Apple store (Wilson 1). Jobs passed on in October,2011 after succumbing to pancreatic cancer. His legacy still liveson.
Steve Jobs is a legendary leader who is mouthed by people in allwalks of life. His leadership style was complex and unconventional.Jobs main attributes as a leader goes beyond normal leadersexpectations and include: focus, commitment, confidence, charisma,visionary, stubborn and shrewd, tyrannical, risk taking,innovativeness, passionate, precision and meticulous and effectivecommunication (Isaacson 72). Steve Jobs leadership wastransformative, visionary and unconventional leader. Job alwayswanted results and innovativeness. His style required and expectedpeak performance from employees and top management.
Since inception Apple Inc. had a total of 6 CEOs but none of themfilled the big shoes of Steve Jobs. Apple after Steve Job’s exit in1985 continued to lose market share and innovativeness and was in theverge of collapse in 1996 (Isaacson 73). The company lacked themarketing and technological acumen that was the main target of Steve.
Steve Jobs was very innovative, having come up with legendaryproducts such as Mac, iPhone, IPad and iTunes (Isaacson 92). Healways stayed ahead of the game in technological advancement.
Steve Jobs always saw beyond the horizon and anticipated all themarket changes. Through his marketing shrewdness, Job createdproducts that took up the market by storm (Isaacson 92). He alwayspushed his fellow co-founders in production of products that hadadded features from the previous. As visionary leaders at Apple Inc.,Steve had always directed the company to stay ahead of the othercompetitors by anticipating and implementing all the expected marketneeds. For instance, Apple products are the most secure gadgetsworldwide with very strict and hard-to-crack security systems.
Steve was goal-oriented and futuristic. He reviewed employeeperformance regularly, punishing those who did not perform throughfiring or leaves of absence (Isaacson 94). Many employees feared hisaggressive attitude. Jobs steered the company into exponential growthwith the LA Times and Fortune Magazine’s placing the company as themost profitable company in the world in 2012. The company had grownnits share value from $5 billion to $351 billion from 2000 to 2016(Isaacson 94). .
Steve Jobs did not believe in the formal management styles whereconsultations and consensus are the main order of business. He was ashrewd unconventional leader who wanted nothing less than excellence(Isaacson 96). He pushed many of his workers too had that some wereretained and others lost in the process. He made and unmade friendsin equal measure both in personal and business life. He bluntlycriticized anything that did not impress him.
Steve Jobs was known to humiliate and belittle any employees who didnot follow his idealistic visions of producing computers which wouldbe a tool for change (Isaacson 96). He was known to change his mindsuddenly whenever he found that the new idea was worthwhile, makingit hard for many people to work for him. Generally, Steve was agenius who wanted straight forward success without the need forbureaucracies following his predetermined path of success.
Steve Jobs is an ardent risk taker embarking of major projects whichhe didn’t know the market perception. Some of the main products heunveiled and failed terribly in the market were Apple LISA, AppleIII, and original Macintosh (Isaacson 98).All these projects took upmuch of the capital to build but they brought major losses to thecompany, a situation that cost his job at Apple in 1985.
Job, however, made breakthrough and successful products that broughta lot of income to the company such as the iPhones, iPads andMacBooks (Isaacson 98). Such risk taking, if carried out afterthorough market analysis, is very essential for any entrepreneur tosucceed in business.
Assertive in Communication
Steve’s form of communication was both assertive and aggressive(Isaacson 100). He always expected the best out of people and,therefore, provided strict guidelines to be followed. He bluntlycriticized anyone who was against them and fired anyone who did notmeet his expectations. Although he clearly demonstrated effectivecommunication through chain of command and regular memos toemployees, many feared his aggressive nature (Isaacson 102). This canbe a good and bad thing for the company but it depends on situationswhere it is used. Many employees learnt to accommodate such assertionthrough hard work and quality products.
3.0. Chapter Three
Analysis of Leadership Practices I: Leadership Style andOrganizational Goal Achievement
3.1 & 3.2: Five Leadership Theories and Leadership Styles
There are five leadership theories expounded by Northouse includingsituational leadership, behavioral approach, leader-member exchange,transformational leadership and servant leadership (Northouse 202).
Situational Leadership Theory: the theory popularizes thenotion that there is no single style of leadership which is the best.Effective leadership will always vary from one situation to anotherone person or group to another and one task or job to another(Northouse 206).Therefore the influence a leader has is based on thesituational outcome at the time. Adapting style is well emphasized inthis theory requiring change of leadership according to prevailingsituations and is composed of both directive and supportive aspects(Northouse 206). Directive aspect involves giving directives andestablishing objectives and role while supportive aspect involvesassisting employees through requesting for input and praising andsolving problems. Training and development in the organization isimportant in achieving such leadership.
There are four leadership styles comprised in the situational theory.Directing style (high directive, low supportive) involves leader’sfocus on objective achievement through directions communication(Northouse 206). Coaching style (high directive, high supportive)involves leader’s focus on both giving directions to achieveobjectives and employee support. Supporting style (High supportive,low directive) focuses on the employees by supporting them to achievethe set goals (Northouse 207). Delegating style (low supportive, lowdirective) does not focus on any directive or supportive aspects butrather entrusts employees abilities to achieve the set objectives.
Behavioral Approach Theory: The theory advocates for meetingcompany’s goals and objectives by getting the job done. Leadersusing this theory treat their employees respectfully and care fortheir needs such as promotions, good working environments, stressmanagement and appraisals (Northouse 210). There are two leadershipstyles in this theory which include paternalism or maternalism whichrequires leaders to accomplish goals in a family atmosphere withemployees/followers and opportunism which uses all presentingopportunities for own personal gains (Northouse 212).
Leader-Member Exchange Theory: This theory involves creationof a suitable relationship between leaders and followers (Northouse217). This relationship could be in group or out-of group. In-grouprelationships with followers are perceived to be more fruitful. Thereare two leadership styles in this theory which include: leader-memberexchange style (in-group and out-group) and leadership making stylewhich makes the relationship between leader and follower the same foreverybody with no due advantage to in-groups or out-groups (Northouse220).
Transformation Leadership Theory: the theory advocates aprocess to change or transform people. This theory is concerned withemployee’s emotions, values and ethics, standards and long termgoals for the organization (Northouse 232). The leader focuses onemployee transformation to become better and more innovative. Henurtures and pushes them to be the leading market players in aholistic approach. He encourages all the employees to actharmoniously in talent development and to own the company as theirown.
There are four leadership styles under this theory. These includetransformational leadership, transactional leadership, laissez faireleadership and pseudo-transformational leadership (Northouse 234).
Servant Leadership Theory: this theory advocates for commitment inmeeting the needs of the members before considering own needs(Northouse 242). This requires the leader to lead by example byoutlining the expected code of conduct and professionalism no matterthe prevailing conditions. Servant Leadership Theory has only onestyle of leadership which is servant leadership.
3.3 Leadership Style of Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs style of leadership was transformational leadership style.Steve was a leader who transformed the thinking, working andprofessionalism of many of his employees to meet the requiredobjectives of the company as well as their own (Isaacson 72). Stevein his quest for peak performance, focused on employee transformationto become better and more innovative. He nurtured and pushed them tobe the leading market players in a holistic approach.
He encouraged all the employees to act harmoniously in talentdevelopment and to own the company as their own. This made them loyalto the company and strived to fulfill the mandate and objectives ofthe company (Isaacson 85). Steve’s leadership style empowered hisfollowers and created a positive environment for them to thrive. Although Steve was hands on in all company activities, he delegatedfew responsibilities in the organization to capable managers andtalents and expected them to deliver under his control and directions(Isaacson 85). Job was known to reward all employees who performedwell through holidays, promotions and other desirable products.
Being very creative and innovative, Steve always directed the companyto stay ahead of the other competitors by anticipating andimplementing all the expected market needs (Isaacson 89). Steve,however, had shortcomings in his assertive and aggressive attitudes.He always expected the best out of people and therefore, providedstrict guidelines to be followed. He bluntly criticized anyone whowas against them and fired anyone who did not meet his expectations(Isaacson 89). Although he clearly demonstrated effectivecommunication through chain of command and regular memos toemployees, many feared his aggressive nature.
Steve always combined the knowledge and vision of the company throughproper marketing skills and absolute innovativeness (Isaacson 95). Heperceived the company’s activities and success via the prism oftechnological innovativeness and marketing. Until his return in 1996,the company has surpassed many companies both in quality products andinnovativeness in all areas of technology such as the Smartphone andpersonal computer industries (Isaacson 85). He reconstructed Apple toreturn it into profitability and market leaders. By 2011, Apple underhis leadership was one of the most profitable companies in WallStreet with more than $50 billion in share capital.
3.4. Leadership Style and Organizational Goals
The organizational goals of Apple Inc. are to produce highlyinnovative products with excellent designs and user interfaces aswell as creating a highly competent team of employees. Apple alsoadvocates for technological transformation with increased creativityand innovativeness (Heracleous 14). Apple Inc’s corporate culturecreates highly motivated employees who are always pushed to givetheir best. The employees are pushed to create innovative productswhich both cater for the aesthetics and excellent user experience(Heracleous 14). Motivated employees also steer the company’svalues allowing extensive marketing and sales of its products.
This corporate culture even after his death is still part of thecompany. Steve Jobs through his transformative and visionaryleadership was able to integrate many values into the company’sculture. These values include quality and good designs for theproducts, easy usability of products, teamwork, motivated andhardworking employees and the zeal to be the best (Heracleous 18).Steve has been the success story behind the multibillion dollartechnological company, Apple Inc.
The company has always adopted a rather closed form of production,where products are designed by small groups who work closely with nomuch interference from outside besides the management (Agarwal 5).Since inception, the structure of the organization has beenmaintained, and up to now with more than 60,000 employees, the sameformat is followed. This delegation of duty but with ultimate controlof it is part of the transformative nature of Steve Jobs which pushesthe group to produce the best through meticulous and innovativemechanisms (Agarwal 8).
All company’s management was answerable to Steve Jobs who appearedto be the centre of everything (Heracleous 74). The decision makingis centralized with the sore decision maker being the CEO (Heracleous94). His hands-on approach has enabled the company to steer wellsince he monitors and gives relevant directives to the involveddepartments. Steve created an organizational structure where he madeall the decisions and monitored every department including thesmallest ones. It is well notable that most of the teams are notpermanent in one organizational position and are usually reshuffledto other departments to embark of completely new products or projects(Heracleous 94). This promotes a culture of innovativeness to fightredundancy and boredom. This motivates employees to be productive andinnovative in equal measure since they are always working on newprojects.
Although he transformed the company to the highest ranks, Steve shortcomings were inherent. He was impatient and blunt critic of anyemployee who did not follow his directives (Isaacson 85). He alsointerfered with and influenced all the activities performed byvirtually all departments without the need to delegate. He was anauthoritarian and tyrannical leader.
Based on his shortcomings as an authoritarian who was hands-on in allthe company’s undertakings, I would recommend that a ratheraccommodative leadership style be adopted where delegation plays arole. Many employees feel undervalued if they cannot make their owndecision or have little influence over their work. It is importantfor a leader to give space and responsibility to the employeeswithout interfering all the time but rather request for regularupdates. Steve’s blunt criticism is also wrong since it can be asource for demoralization. Many employees do not require outrightpublic ridicule and criticism but an in-house and private problemsolving mechanism. I recommend that the leader take responsibilityand learn better problem solving skills.
Chapter 4.0: Analysis of Leadership Practices II: Delegation andDevelopment Levels
4.1. Necessary Conditions for Effective Delegation
Delegation is where leaders offers minimal input or support toemployees and let them achieve the set goals individually. The leaderhas minimal involvement in directing, controlling and planning. Foreffective delegation to take place the employees should betrustworthy, highly competent and highly committed to the company’sobjectives and goals (Northouse 234).
4.2. Development Levels of the Followers
The three main followers of Steve Jobs are Phil Schiller, TimothyCook and Craig Federighi. Phil Schiller has been a member of Applesince 1997 to date and is the senior Vice President of the companyinvolved in marketing apple products worldwide (Apple Inc. 1). Beinga highly competent and highly committed employee, Phil has been theambassador of apple products for more than 15 years. He is alwaysseen in the media to popularize the brand. Job trusted his acumen andhe delegated the marketing Job to Phil with regular reports.
Timothy Cook is the current CEO of Apple Inc. since the demise ofSteve Jobs. Earlier on he held various positions in the company(Apple Inc. 1). He was chief operating officer from 2005-2011,director of world sales (2002-2005) and has acted as senior vicepresident. Over the years he earned his competence and commitment asa follower and now is at D4 position of highly competent and highlycommitted. Steve Job recommended his appointment as CEO due to thetrust that he will steer the company to the right direction.
Craig Federighi is a member of Apple executive management occupyingthe position of senior VP of software engineering. He is acharismatic, committed and high competent executive.
4.3. Delegation Practice of the leader
Steve Jobs was an autocratic and tyrannical and did not likedelegating duties (Isaacson 85). Only the chief managers wereentrusted with their jobs but with constant and regular reports tohim. Many of them felt demoralized by his lack of trust in them butthey came to appreciate his leadership style since it bore fruitsmaking Apple a successful company. He did not delegate duties oftenespecially to junior officers and technology teams and was alwayshands-on on all the projects and departments (Isaacson 100). He madea habit to receive all reports on Mondays of every week to ensurethat the company ran smoothly.
4.4. Development Levels and Delegation Practice
Steve’s lack of delegation from the time he joined the company canbe looked at in negative and positive ways. On the positive, themanagers strived hard to fulfill their mandate and earn his trust.Other employees also strive to come up with the best products andinnovations to earn this trust. This developed them to be highlycompetent and committed. On the negative Steve’s lack of delegationdemoralized his employees and belittled their skills (Jobs and Allan23). They felt that he did not trust them in anything with someopting to leave the company.
Steve needed to believe in people and assign responsibilities to themwithout undue interference. By doing so, he would create a morecollaborative environment where employees could engage indecision-making instead of shying away from providing input for fearof criticism. He needed to build the trust for his employees andtrust them with daily management in their respective departments.
Chapter 5: Conclusion
Steve’s leadership style propelled Apple Inc. Company to success. Iappreciate his business acumen and how his transformative leadershipfull of innovation, vision and employee’s excellence transformedthe company to a multi-billion enterprise. I can borrow from hisleadership to become an influential and a charismatic leader who onlyexpects focus, innovativeness and excellence in everything.
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