Leadership Traits Steve Jobs


LeadershipTraits: Steve Jobs

LeadershipTraits: Steve Jobs

Leadershiphas revolutionized the world and has presented great lessons topeople based on the leaders who portray great traits. In the pastcentury and perhaps the centuries to come, Steve Jobs stands out as aleader and entrepreneur who revolutionized not only the businesspractice but the leadership practice. His skills in handling peopleand characteristics he portrayed influenced a generation of leadersas well as the future of leadership. This paper explores the traitsof Steve Jobs and presents the pros and cons of his leadership with aview to establishing an opinion on his style.

Oneof the greatest characteristics of Jobs leadership is the innovativenature of his influence on his business and people. He defined theessence of innovative leadership that seeks to solve problems byintroducing new ideas. Steve Jobs exemplified the way organizationsshould establish new business processes, ideas and products. Throughinnovative leadership, Steve Jobs established Apple as a company thatwas determined to lead in innovation and new products. According toEllionand Simon (2011), SteveJobs led the projects of developing the products of Apple byinspiring his staff to think outside the box and innovate newproducts. To achieve this, Jobs appreciated new ideas from the staffand gave them the autonomy to explore innovation other than followingthe conventional processes of technological production.

Accordingto Kalla (2012), Steve Jobs was one of the leaders who portrayed themost authentic element of vision. He was a visionary leader who sawthe future at the time when no one would believe or imagine how thetechnological world will change. Through the embrace of innovation,Steve Jobs became visionary about the computer and focused onbuilding a personal computer that would serve people with a graphicaluser interface (Kalla, 2012). His vision for better and fastercomputers was further proven by the developments he made to developthe famous Macintosh and the Apple computers. This character gaveSteve Jobs the authenticity of a leader in his time and a role modelfor future leadership in the years to come.

Inaddition, Steve Jobs presented his vision in a manner that itinfluenced the people around him. He became the center of thedevelopments at Apple Inc because of the value that he presented tothe company as the lead innovator. Through his personal vision forthe company, Jobs became the solitary person at the company that wasidentified directly with all the brands of the firm. According toEllionand Simon (2011),it is hard to think about Apple and not think about Steve Jobs, asthe two names are inseparable. This is the kind of leadership thatinfluenced the company and the world all at the same time. As aresult, his vision for the company became the definition of themission and vision of the firm.

Anothermajor characteristic of the leadership of Steve Jobs is his risktaking. He was a risk taker who invested his time, efforts and moneyto projects that had not been done by someone else in the world. As aresult of his smart ventures, Jobs became the pioneer in the industryby leading an organization that revolutionized the computer andmobile phone industries (Ellion&amp Simon, 2011).Jobs invested according to Rao (2013), Jobs was a smart and skilledrisk taker who will understand the dynamics of the businessenvironment before investing in the future. His influence at thecompany was not only focused on the development of the new products,but also trains his staff to venture into the future throughcalculated risks. This was the main belief that propelled Apple todevelop new products and devices.

Servantleadership is perhaps the most influential style of leadership thatis induced by the trait of being a servant. According to Nahavandi(2014), this leadership trait is founded by a person’s ability toembrace service to people as the main element of influence. As aresult, the leader participates in the decision making and theimplementation of the firm’s projects. This description reflectsthe exact character of Steve Jobs that made him very influential atApple. According to Kalla (2011) Steve Jobs was a true servant of thecompany and was involved in almost all the projects that the companyachieved. Himmel (2013) argues that Steve Jobs was the servant ofApple as a company and also the servant of the people that he workedwith at the company.

Asa servant, Steve Jobs was very committed to the projects that heenvisioned for the company. He undertook to develop the firstpersonal computer with a lot of diligence and commitment thatmaterialized in the birth of the Macintosh computer (Ellion&amp Simon, 2011).His involvement in the company led to the excellence of the productsthe firm produced, such as the iPod and the iPad. The iPhone and itsunique features were as a result of the commitment that Jobs engagedinto the development process. His servant hood led to thetransformation of the company and embrace of the attitude of work aswell as excellence of operations.

Transformationalleadership of Steve Jobs was uncured on his passionate commitment ofgrowing Apple as a company. Jobs was not only concerned with thesuccess of the company but was also passionate with the influencethat the products of the firm will have on the world. As a result,Jobs had an extraordinary method of driving his company and theemployees to work towards their limits and achieve the best resultsthey could (Himmel, 2013). It is for this reason that Apple became aleader in the industry, not just because of the efforts of Jobs alonebut the rest of the staff. The only thing that made him stand out washis incomparable leadership traits that made his influence so immensethat it could not be separated from the name Apple.

Tomaintain his stature as a leader, businessman, innovator and asuccessful CEO, Steve Jobs was a great communicator. According toNahavandi(2014),communication is a key element that improves the leadership skills ofan individual. In this regard, Steve Jobs was an effective leader whohad excellent communication skills that he applied appropriately inevery situation. He was a good salesman when he engaged withcustomers as part of his business development. On the other hand, hesold his vision to investors in excellent ways that convinced them toinvest in the company. According to Enconaet al(2014), communication provides a leader with means of selling his orher vision to the people he is leading. More importantly, he madevery appealing product presentations to the world when givinginformation about new products from the company.

However,there are some limitations associated with the kind of leadershipthat Steve Jobs portrayed. One of them is a perceived feeling that hewas overworking himself to maintain his position at the firm. Toachieve such leadership position, Steve Jobs might have spent moretime at the firm that it would be required if he had adoptedmentorship over servant hood. Adopting mentorship would have givenhim control over the firm through the leaders he trained other thanthrough his mission.

Accordingto Nahavandi(2014), mentorship helps a leader to develop several other leaderswho are like him, and who can be relied when in need. Nahavandi (2014) further argues that this is the main essence of handing over thebaton from one leader to another. Rao (2013) argues that one of thedifferences between managers and leaders is the ability to apply thetrait of being good mentors. While managers do not mentor theirfollowers to be like them, the purpose of true leaders is to developtheir followers and their successors. In my opinion, this is one ofthe traits that was lacking in the excellent leadership of SteveJobs.

Whilehe is regarded as the visionary and passionate leader, Steve Jobs maynot have developed other leaders who would act like he was acting.Therefore, the transmission of his vision and passion for futureleaders was not possible. This can be vindicated by the lack of anenthusiast like him in the current management at Apple. The followingis an enumeration of some of the pros and cons of the leadershiptraits of Steve Jobs.




Servant leadership-this trait made Steve Jobs a respected person at the company who was involved in implementing.

Servant leadership made him busy and overworked his schedule. According to Nahavandi (2014), a leader should always prepare the followers for leadership and encourage delegation. Any excessive servant hood is not good for a leader, as it may have affected his health

Highly committed to his work, and was involved in the programs of the company

His commitment to almost all the firm’s projects may have blocked other upcoming leaders and innovators from growing their leadership skills.

Visionary for the company gave Apple its business outlook and future

The vision of a single person is not more important than the vision of others.

Transformative traits made him the icon of the company

The leader does not have to be the head, instead, he should inspire others to become equal and better leaders

Innovative leadership that guided the company to produce unique products

Innovative leadership may block the ideas of the subject in the company. His ideas might have prevailed over those of his employees


Ellion,J., &amp Simon, W. (2011). TheSteve Jobs Way: ILeadership for a New Generation.New York: Vanguard Press

Himmel,R. (2013). WhatPersonality Traits Made Steve Jobs Successful?RetrievedFrom, &lthttp://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/226410&gt February 4,2015

Kalla,S. (2012). 10Leadership Tips from Steve&nbspJobs.RetrievedFrom,&lthttp://www.forbes.com/sites/susankalla/2012/04/02/10-leadership-tips-from-Steve-Jobs&gtFebruary 4, 2015

Nahavandi,A. (2014). TheArt and Science of Leadership, Seventh Edition.Upper Saddle River, New York: Pearson Prentice Hall

Rao,M.S. (2013). SmartLeadership: Lessons for Leaders.New Delhi, Delhi: Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd

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