What made Steve Jobs so successful as a leader? How do you define his leadership abilities when the terms used to describe the legendary CEO of Apple run the gauntlet from visionary, charismatic, brilliant, the grandmaster, to ruthless, temperamental, a micromanager regaled as the “enfant terrible” (Burrows, Grover, & Green, 2006) of the technology world? This question will be answered by looking into Steve Jobs’ leadership traits and the function of his leadership using a myriad of quotes and descriptions from articles written about this iconic leader.
The functions of leadership include creating and communicating a vision, and the motivation to carry out the vision. It is to be an agent of change, and that was what Steve Jobs was when he returned in 1997 as the CEO to a sinking company known as Apple Computers from which he had been fired from some twelve years earlier.
Mr. Jobs had a vision, to lead Apple to the top of the technology world and redefine the way the world uses that technology. A lofty vision, but combined with his inherent entrepreneurial skill, it was believable. In 2009 Kohn wrote “The more we learn about this brilliant, dogged, at times merciless, and yet supple entrepreneur, the more we realize that he believes he is out to change the world.” The secret is that not only did Steve believe it, but others did as well.
This belief is not only the mark of a self confident man, but a man who was able to communicate this belief to others. How? Through his personal passion, his charisma and his pitch. He has been described as “America’s reigning monarch of marketing” (Leonard, 2010) and called the “Master of the Launch” and “Mr. Jobs the Grandmaster” by Khan in his 2011 article. Some of the most highly anticipated events within the technology world were the Apple product launches and subsequent product releases. It was more than hype; it was the understanding that what the “Grandmaster” communicates...