As Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of Apple Inc., Jobs met many ups and downs as a good leader. Throughout Apple’s history, such as when they Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne have just started their business in 1976 in the garage of Jobs’ foster parents, years later, they were a success. It only proves that with the right mix of leaders, they can start a company that will later on live with its vision. Apple Company had since then continued to hire many highly talented, creative, and innovative people (e.g., Mike Scott, John Scully).
With Jobs’ leadership and the highly competent people around him, they produced highly innovative Apple products, which made Apple Inc. a successful corporate business, not just in the US, but also in other parts of the world where they marketed their products. Nonetheless, just like most, if not all, good leaders, Jobs also had a leadership personality flaw considering his obsession for perfection, which proved positive, one way or the others.
In 1985, however, Jobs’ leadership traits and power struggle with Apple’s board of directors made him to resign his post as CEO. During that period of having ousted himself from Apple, he learned the hard way; nevertheless, he later admitted that his leadership flaws made him to change for the better. He continued to believe in his wisdom and vision. He founded another company, NeXT, which specialized in computer platform development.
Jobs never succumbed to the adverse turn of events, but overcame them. He used what was left of him, such as insight, resources, network, etc. Because of Jobs’ foresight, trend setting ability, and very impressive personality as a style innovator, NeXT also became a success. Hence, Jobs had showed again his proven and time-tested great leadership abilities (e.g., vision, charisma, brilliance) and minimized the negative effects of some of his personality traits as a leader.
In 1996, after Apple had nearly went bankrupt when its Copland operating system failed, Apple sent people to negotiate with Jobs’ NeXT Company. Apple turned to NeXT for its computer platform (that is, Mac OS X). Soon thereafter, Apple and NeXT became what they were from then until now. They were the products of a great leader whose vision never failed him. In 1998, Jobs returned to lead Apple again and thwarted Apple’s near bankruptcy (The Next Web, Inc., 2010).
If not for Jobs, what would have happened to Apple now? Perhaps, it would have just remained these days a part of the history of the corporate world that specializes in computer technology. Hence, it only had proven that a good leader like Jobs is what a company like Apple needs, in that, even when he will no longer be around years or decades later, his legacy is already a part of Apple’s DNA.
In connection to the above, Jobs had proven many times over that he had the leadership personality to change his mind for the better despite life’s hard lessons (such as, not being bitter). Although Jobs had laid off a few individuals when he returned from Apple, and later was badmouthed for that, he stood firmly to what he believed to be the right thing to do at the appropriate time (Deutshman, 2000). As an analysis, being a good leader is being able to maintain the good image, high productivity, and high expectations of a company a person leads.
Moreover, Jobs retained and delegated works to competent individuals within the company. Hence, for the succeeding decades, Apple increased its profitability, which later was dubbed as among the greatest turnaround in corporate history (Apple Inc., n.d.). He led or was the driving force behind the development of iMac, iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, and App Store. In 2011, Apple soon became the most valuable company across the globe and Jobs as the “greatest entrepreneur of our time” (Bilton, 2011; Meinck, 2012).
Jobs often used his critical thinking abilities prior to an undertaking. He used his leadership abilities to influence people around him to be at their best. Though misunderstood, he was a leader who walked his talks. He delivered what he had envisioned, the reason why Apple is known worldwide. No such good leader would have done that if not for what he believed in and produced. Nevertheless, Jobs had been regarded by a few individuals as a cold person, but many people close to him believed in his wisdom and vision and clanged to it. Other evidences that proved Jobs’ leadership style was by being friends of many influential individuals (e.g., Bill Gates) and most powerful world leaders (e.g., US Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama) (Dilger, 2002). Thus, Jobs remains as Apple company’s legendary icon and for the whole computer or technological world for his extraordinary cutting-edge and highly innovative style in making computer devices. He will remain to be known for his “reality distortion field” or consummate skills at charisma, salesmanship, marketing, and persuasion (Hertzfeld, 1981).
Aside from Jobs’ good corporate leadership and innovative skills, he was also a vegetarian and philanthropist. He had also given donations unbeknownst to many people because that was how he thought it best to give to charitable institutions. Hence, it cannot simply gleaned from the records where all his donations went. However, that was his discretion and the way he did what he thought was the appropriate way of helping other people have better lives or for others to save their lives.
Similarly, as a good leader and a family man, he showed how he loved his family. Jobs had cared for them that was why during the most trying times of his life while suffering from a terminal illness, his family and friends (not to mention other people) were just by his side, consoling him whether in person or over the internet. If Jobs had not been a good leader, how come he was so loved? He may have committed mistakes for what he believed was best for him, other people, and company, but those were not reasons to forget the good deeds he left behind.
Thus, in reminiscence and in view of Jobs’ leadership weakness, despite Jobs’ charismatic and persuasive leadership for Apple, he was temperamental and erratic leader. For instance, he was too workaholic and perfectionist (Sales, 2011). When disappointed with Apple Company’s sales, he experience relationship problems and power struggles with some staff and management (Seibold, 2011). Because of that, even Apple’s board of directors decided to have Sculley reassign Jobs to indeterminate position within the company despite remaining as its chairperson, which made Jobs to resign subsequently (Levy, 2000). Nevertheless, Jobs later on learned much from his leadership weaknesses and even called being fired from Apple “the best thing that  ever happened to [him]” because it made him a better person and leader (Kopun, 2011; Stanford University, 2005). Thus, only such charismatic and transformative leaders who can transform themselves that are truly good and great.
Despite anything negative above Jobs, he is a good person and a good leader. Just think of the contributions he made in his lifetime. He had founded, co-founded, chaired, and led various companies during his lifetime. Most prominent of these companies include Apple Inc., Pixar, NeXT Inc., and Walt Disney. As such, he is considered the “Father of the Digital Revolution,” a design perfectionist, a master innovator, among others (Hollywood Entertainment, n.d.; Mangalindan, 2011; Ostdick, 2010). When one search the Internet, there are more positive things said about Jobs than a few negative ones.
Just like in the reference sections, there are many good leadership qualities, attributes, characteristics, etc. that Jobs had. He may had not been the perfect leader another person might have in his or her mind, but Jobs is simply what he had shown himself to be. He remained true to himself despite a few detractors who may have not even made a name for themselves in this world, but are simply sour grape. But some people are like that, and Steve Jobs is just another kind.
Just consider the various awards Jobs received during his career and even after his death. Even at a young age, he was already very much appreciated for putting up a very successful Apple business. No ordinary individual with great leadership talents could do that for such a short time. Although the list is not exhaustive, some of the awards Jobs’ received included Time magazine’s Machine of the Year” (1982), which tagged Jobs as its most renown master artist (Golden, 1983). Jobs also received the U.S. Presidential “National Medal of Technology” (1985); US President Jefferson’s award for “Greatest Public Service” for individuals from age 35 and below (1987); and, Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Decade (1989).
Further, Jobs was also recognized as Fortune’s CEO of the decade (2009); one of Forbes’ magazine’s most powerful individuals (2010); posthumous Grammy Trustees Award (2012); among many other major recognitions (Burlingham & Gendron, 1989; Forbes Magazine, n.d.Jefferson Awards Organization, 2014; Lashinsky, 2009; The United States Patent and Trademark Office, 2014). If an ordinary individuals or even world-renowned figures have criteria befitting a good leader, Jobs would definitely fit in.
As a synthesis, even early in Jobs’ life and onwards, he had proven many times over his situational leadership abilities (e.g., telling, delegating) (Kent, 2001). He knew what to do with the persuasive, innovative and marketing abilities that he had. Likewise, Jobs was well-versed depending on people whom he can trust. The right persons he hired and others come to him, as well, especially when he needed them most. It could have been a stroke of fortunate events. This happened when he resigned at Apple and started NeXT. But when his former company that he has co-founded asked Jobs for help, he did not declined.
Jobs, in the duration of his leadership, did what he thought was best for his company and people around him (Deutshman, 2000). But as the cliché goes, “You cannot appreciate everybody.” What he had co-founded, he might have thought, was his legacy to the world. He was right: he did not abandon what he had started, especially, when the company he co-founded again needed him. In all that, Jobs learned that no leader, no matter how great his talents were, was ever indispensable. Everyone is needed by someone else.
Like all good leaders or even ordinary people, they die. In 2011, Jobs died of respiratory arrest due to his pancreatic, neuro-endocrine tumor. However, he left a legacy to the world like no other. He used and lived with his passion, energy and brilliance, which became sources of innumerable innovations that made our lives immeasurably better (Cotton, 2011). Moreover, Jobs’ genius profoundly changed the technological world and he will be forever remember for it (Fairweather, 2011; Roeper, 2012).
Last, but definitely not the least, Jobs was by far an exemplar among CEOs (Leading article: The sad loss of one of a kind, 2011). He has proven to the world that he can be the “greatest entrepreneur of our time” (Meinck, 2012) despite his business ruthlessness and near-fanatically controlling mindset, as well as, for having been among the many “leading egomaniacs” of Silicon Valley (Colvin, 2007; Luo, 2013; Rainey, 2011).
Even at an early age, Steve Jobs had shown great leadership potential. With training at an early age from his foster parents who are not college graduates, Jobs learned the passion for electronics and technology. Though he did not earn a college degree, it did not become a hindrance to his success. He co-founded and led not just one or two companies, but more. No doubt, Steve Jobs is the epitome of a good leader. He introduced many innovations computer in computer technology unmatched in his lifetime. This is because Jobs knew precisely people he can rely on as the one in-charge of a project or company. He also knew when opportunities knock, and what to do tactfully in order to be the driving for the success of the companies he managed and led.
In Jobs’ long-time experience, he did not fail himself to continue with his vision of putting up a new venture should the first one (e.g., Apple Inc.) do not need him anymore. He can put up a business from scratch and make it a success, just like all the other companies he led. Hence, people he worked with knew that he was more than just an asset to the company; hence, he was relied until the end. Although he manifested leadership flaws, he countered and learned from them. He had experienced highs and lows, but believed in never relinquishing his passion, vision, and projects. Thus, despite the countless trials in his life, he became more of a good leader. His foresight and calculating superior leadership skills made him stay on top of the challenges and frustrations that any leaders might encounter in their lifetime.
Lastly, Jobs did not just live his successes and fiascos in life, but triumphed over them until such time that he outlived them. It is hard to summarize in a few pages how Jobs have been a good leader, or better than just a good leader. He may have been a demanding perfectionist in his approach to success, but he delivered what he intended to deliver. There was not an instance that he ever failed himself, except that he may have been an one of the greatest egomaniacs so far in Silicon Valley. Thus, even when Jobs is already dead, his legacy will forever stay in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. People will always be reminded of the bite in the Apple that changed the face of the technological world and inspired millions of people worldwide.
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