Various characteristics are used to describe leadership skills. These include integrity, humility, enthusiasm, fairness, toughness, confidence and warmth. According to Adair (1-2), leadership is learned through experience which is in turn guided by certain principles as opposed to being taught, meaning that it is possible for one to develop his/her abilities as a leader. No one portrays this in a better way than Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Inc.
He was born in 1955 in Silicon Valley and adopted as a child by Paul and Clara Jobs. He was a smart child and developed an interest in electronics at a very early age. His entrepreneurial skills also showed at a very young age when his friends and him would develop devices and then would find ways of selling them for a profit in order to raise more money for other inventions. This paid off as these and other skills helped build Apple Inc to what it is today. Based on his character, Jobs has always been described as a rebel and an outsider but this has never stopped him from achieving what he sets out to accomplish.
According to Gillam (9), Jobs has managed to be a successful leader especially in business and this can be outlined as follows:
Job as a Master in Sales: As a sales representative, Job always seeks to market his products in such a way that makes them look better than those of his competitors. This is an important quality for someone seeking to make huge returns from his product inventions. How one sells his products in most cases determines the perception of potential consumers and can therefore break or make the success his products achieve in the market. Jobs has perfected the art of marketing his products which has ensured their continued success in the market.
Jobs as a Product Manager: As a CEO in Apple Inc., Job has continued to show commitment to innovation and has led his company to greater heights as far as product innovation is concerned. It is important for any leader to ensure the continued growth of his company and Jobs has done this by continuing to champion the innovation new and more efficient products in his company. The fact that he is a champion for his products and is always aware of all their aspects, shows characteristics of a good product leader, after all no one would go for products of a company whose leadership does not believe in its products. One of the products that helped accord Job and Apple Inc huge recognition was the iPhone released in 2007.
Jobs as a Corporate Leader: Jobs is a hands-on Corporate Leader as far as running the operations of Apple Inc and strategic planning for the company’s future is concerned. He is always not only in charge of the company’s staff members, but also works with them to ensure that the goals and objectives of the organization are met.
On this basis, there are always two aspects that come up about Job, on one hand he is known to have the ability to inspire employees to work extra hard and ensure they meet their goals while on the other hand he is said to be extremely demanding and harsh to his employees (Gillam 10-11). In as much as many do not agree with this aspect of his leadership style, they cannot help but agree that his ability to inspire and command respect has helped him achieve personal success, success for Apple Inc as well as the computer industry success.
Determination: Even though Jobs has been able to achieve great success, this has not always been the case. He has experienced his fare share of poor performance, especially during his early years at Apple Inc which were coupled with a series of failures which proved costly for the company as well as his reputation to some extent. But his determination and drive for success saw him continue trying and this helped get him where he is today, that is an accomplished and respected CEO in the computer industry (Gillam 11-12).
I believe that the best measure of a leader’s skills and abilities is the success that such a leader is able to achieve in his work over time. Even though I am opposed to the claim that at times, Jobs tends to be harsh on his employees, nonetheless, I agree with his leadership approach which has thus far worked for the benefit of Apple Inc as well as that of the company’s clients. If he was not in a position to guide his employees the way he has done, then all the success and reputation that follows him and the company would not have been achieved. This therefore qualifies his ability as a leader.
Adair, John. Leadership Skills. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 1998. Print.
Gillam, Scott. Steve Jobs: Apple & Ipod Wizard. Minnesota: ABDO Publishing Company, 2008. Print.