The term ‘leadership’ draws varied definitions perhaps due to the disparate responsibilities that come with it. However, of all definitions, the best one defines leadership as the mandate to serve at the forefront as others follow. This definition is superior to others as it defines all forms of leadership styles and characters in various life phenomena such as business management, politics, and religion among others (Kotlyar & Karakowsky, 2007). The world has had exemplary leaders whose leadership styles are admirable to the majority of people and in the world of business. One such leader is Steve Jobs – the founder of Apple. His leadership style made Apple Corporation the best working place for the last decade.
Steve Jobs’ Leadership Character and Style
Steve Jobs is one of the best business leaders that have ever lived. He had good interpersonal relations with other people and he upheld simplicity as a virtue, which a majority of world leaders lack. Followers do not look much at the success of a business to define the qualities of a leader. On the contrary, they look at the personal character of the leader spearheading the business in question. Jobs had all the necessary qualities of a good leader coupled with the ability to execute his role as a leader through the proper application of such elements (Isaacson, 2012).
A good leader espouses numerous characters. However, a good leader should be charismatic, action-centered, servant leader, transformational, courageous, risk-taker, innovative, and honest. A good leader is charismatic, thus capable of imposing inspiration to his/her followers. Steve Jobs was a charismatic leader because his good interpersonal relations inspired employees at Apple in various ways. He saw an asset in an employee rather than a liability and this perception enabled him to handle employees with dignity, which in turn inspired them to give their best towards the success of the corporation.
Also, a good leader is action-oriented. In 1997, Steve Jobs return to Apple brought in a dramatic change of events that saved the company from bankruptcy. The company was undergoing a financial crisis, but he did not concentrate on the challenge. On the contrary, he focused on the possible ways through which the events could be reversed. His character enabled him to devise a method in which the company would focus on four main products that seemed to have great market potential.
Moreover, a good leader is a servant leader rather than a leader to servants. This leadership quality revolves around the idea that everybody is a servant, but the one in-charge of others is the senior-most servant. This quality calls for humility and a feeling of responsibility from the leaders.
The world’s greatest leaders possess the greatest humility and they take responsibility for their actions under all circumstances. Steve Jobs did not exercise authoritative leadership over his followers at Apple, but instead, he led with great humility that enabled him to inspire all employees (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). He bore the responsibilities of both his actions and employees with great humility and loathed blame games in corporate affairs.
Additionally, a good leader exercises transformational leadership. A transformational leader “enhances motivation and morale of his/her followers through various mechanisms” (Kotlyar & Karakowsky, 2007, p. 39). Transformational leaders prioritize the needs of other people before theirs to make followers feel a sense of belonging and dignity. The Apple Corporation was rated the best working place of the last decade courtesy of the exemplary leadership from Steve Jobs, which is worth emulating. Steve Jobs had a good interpersonal relationship with staff members and he recognized their efforts at individual levels, which contributed to enhanced employee motivation and overall corporate performance during his leadership era.
As aforementioned, a good leader is courageous and s/he exercises courage in tough situations. Leadership is an involving task where a leader is looked upon by the followers during difficult situations with a high expectation that s/he must give a way out of such a situation. This quality demands leaders to instill confidence in their followers through strong character even when a situation is risky for the business. Steve Jobs is one of the leaders who possessed a courage that never disappointed even in very tough situations. As noted earlier, Steve’s ability to save Apple from near bankruptcy situation presented him as a courageous leader, and with great enthusiasm, he spearheaded the decision-making processes that saved the company from numerous risky situations.
Lastly, good leaders are innovative and creative. Creativity and innovativeness are key ingredients to the success of a business in the contemporary world. Every day, businesses are racing towards product developments, and thus only the creative and innovative leaders will retain a competitive advantage. Steve Jobs was a creative and innovative leader and he managed to lead Apple to be the most innovative corporation in ICT development.
His creativity enabled him to identify the types of products that consumers would want to have and by incorporating innovativeness, he came up with competitive products, which won the hearts of many customers across the world. Steve Jobs was creative to realize that customers needed simplified products as opposed to those produced by Apple’s competitors, which enabled the company to acquire a great competitive advantage.
Steve Jobs used both coaching and transformational leadership styles in his leadership tenure at Apple Corporation. He is credited for having made the staff members know where the firm had come from and where he wanted it to be through training and motivation. He was enthusiastic to make workers understand that he appreciated the origin of the corporation, but he made it clear that for the company to achieve its mission, they all had to work towards a common goal. This understanding opened doors for a transformational leadership style where he could see the staff members as drivers of the corporation towards achieving its goals, and thus they were of great value and their interests were to be prioritized at all levels (Northouse, 2012).
In conclusion, leadership is an ambiguous term, but the greatest definition is provided by good examples of leaders whose leadership has influenced the lives of other people. Steve Jobs is a great leader who should be emulated by anyone wishing to become a leader at one point, and especially in the business and management arena. A leader must possess good personal characters to influence the lives of other people positively. Hence, good leadership is a result of good personal characters.
Isaacson, W. (2012). The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs. Harvard Business Review, 1-11.
Kotlyar, I., & Karakowsky, L. (2007). Falling over ourselves to follow the leader. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 14(1), 38-49.
Kouzes, J., & Posner, Z. (2012).The leadership challenge. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Northouse, P. (2012). Leadership theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.