Effectiveleaders use their skills, abilities, and knowledge to guide teams oftheir followers until they achieve some common goals. Leadership hasbecome a critical factor that determines the competitiveness of thebusiness organizations (Wart & Ziegler, 2014). In this leadershipanalysis paper, the abilities, skills, styles, knowledge, and traitsthat made Steve Jobs an admirable leader will be discussed. Jobsspecial leadership skills were discovered after he assumed theleadership of Apples Incorporation as the CEO in 1997. The use oftransformational leadership style, team building, innovation, focus,and courage are some of the key factors that made Jobs an admirableleader.
SteveJobs was a transformational leader who was able to leave a mark inthe technology sector. The transformational leadership style helpedJobs work with his subordinates in identifying the change that AppleIncorporation needed in order to make a breakthrough in a verycompetitive industry (Wart & Ziegler, 2014). In addition, Jobswas able to surround himself with dedicated employees who helped himexecute changes that enabled Apple to emerge as a key player in thetechnology industry. This is consistent with the basic principle oftransformational leadership. A transformational leader is able tocreate a participatory environment where each member has a voice indetermining the change needed by their employer. This is one of thekey factors that enabled Jobs to empower his team of engineers whoplayed a critical role producing innovative brands for Apple.
Thereare three key leadership skills that helped Jobs demonstrate hisability to act as a transformational leader. First, Jobs was aninnovative leader who managed to develop differentiated electronicproducts, including mart phones. Innovators are known for theirability to change the rules of the game and reinvent their respectiveindustries. Steve Jobs demonstrated this ability by stopping the useof data from market research as the basis for developing newproducts. Instead, Jobs established a team of innovators whodeveloped smart phones that none of the competitors could produce.Jobs innovativeness also transformed the entertainment sectorfollowing the development of iTune Store and iTune software (Wart &Ziegler, 2014).
Thesecond type of leadership skill that differentiated Jobs from leadersof other technology companies is "focus". Jobs invested inan industry that was full of possibilities, but managed to focus on afew aspects of technology. During the first two years of hisleadership at Apple, Jobs stopped the manufacturing of about 70 % ofthe products that the companies sold before he joined it (Wart &Ziegler, 2014). Many people viewed this as a crazy idea, but Jobsunderstood that focusing on a few products could help the companyinvest in creativity and enhance its competitive advantage.
Selfconfidence is one of the key traits that helped Jobs developedproducts that disrupted the market. Steve Jobs believed thatcustomers did not know what they wanted, and they could buy qualityitems that enhanced their lives. Consequently, Jobs opposed the ideaof incremental changes that is common in the technology sector, butfocused on the development new and innovative products that the worldhad not seen before (Isaacson, 2012). In other words, Jobs builtproducts that gave customers a completely new experience.
Thethird leadership skill that distinguished Jobs from other leaders iscourage. Courageous leaders are able to make tough decisions thatcould either damage their organizations or help them make abreakthrough in the industry. Referring back to an earlier example,it took courage for Jobs to scrap 70 % of Apple’s range of productsand retain with 30 % of all electronic products only (Wart &Ziegler, 2014).
Teambuilding is among the key abilities that help leaders increase thelevel of creativity by establishing a platform for followers tocontribute their knowledge and ideas. Steve Jobs is one of theleaders who believed in team building. He established teams ofemployees with a high level of intellectual ability, which was basedon his belief in the idea of having work teams of A+ players whocould bring innovation that a combination of the giant teams of B andC class players could not manage (Hanson & Giannantonio, 2013).Steve Jobs differentiated himself from other leaders by focusing onthe quality, instead of the size of work teams. Moreover, Jobs usedthe work teams as a platform to facilitate collaboration.Collaborative leaders empower their followers by involving them inmatters (such as decision making) that affect organizations andemployees.
Apartfrom the wide range of leadership skills and abilities (such as teambuilding, innovativeness, focus, and courage), leaders need to havesome knowledge that is relevant to the operations of theirorganizations. In the case of Steve Jobs, calligraphy classes that heattended at Reed College imparted him with the knowledge that helpedhim think like a modern artist (Hanson & Giannantonio, 2013).Although many people thought of Jobs as a college dropout, heattributed his ability to develop special designs for smart phonesand laptops to calligraphic knowledge and skills. The specialknowledge in calligraphy allowed Jobs to not only invite the ideas ofhis strong work teams, but also make his own contribution. Thisenabled Jobs to lead by example and pose a challenge to hisfollowers.
Inconclusion, Steve Jobs was a great leader who was not only known inthe U.S., but also in the entire world. Jobs’ desire to make adifference in the technology industry, instead of using theconventional business models to run apple revolutionized the sectorto a greater extent. The ability to build teams, inspire followers,and apply innovative skills helped Jobs lead Apple Incorporation tobecome one of the leading multinational corporations.
Hanson,E. & Giannantonio, M. (2013). Academic reflection on the life andcareer of Steve Jobs. Journalof Business and Management,19 (1), 1-59.
Isaacson,W. (2012). Thereal leadership lessons of Steve Jobs.Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review.
Wart,M. & Ziegler, A. (2014). Remembering Apple CEO Steve Jobs as atransformative leader: Implications for pedagogy. Journalof Leadership Education,13 (3), 52-66.