Technology has a very changing entity and in the last couple of daecades it made a lot of big companies disappear like Kodak or Nokia. Some of them died in emerge of disruptive technology while others dies because of a rival. In the other hand there are companies who survives during times not only by adapting themselves to the new situation but also by redefining and reshaping the technology. Apple is a great example of such a business.
What makes Apple very different with those which got extinct is leadership. Steve Jobs was a genius American entrepreneur, marketer, and inventor, who wasthe co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. He is widelyrecognized as a charismatic and design-driven pioneer of the personal computerrevolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronicsfields – transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies. Steve Job is one of the most successful leader of the time. His company has changed the shape of mobile phones and defined a new taste for the customers.
When the main trend in mobile manufacturing was to make a cellphone smaller and smaller his company came out with iPhones with bigger screens and fancy design. He combined art, fashion and technology to redefine the cellphone market. He was leaders where others was managers. Leadership Style The dominant characteristic of Steve Jobs was being innovative. It is a famous quote from him saying “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” or “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament. ” DuBrin (2010: 55) names creativity as one of the cognitive factors every leader should have. DuBrin(2010: 55) divides creativity in three levels.
On the top of creativity continuum are “business leaders who think of innovative products”. Here he names Steve Jobs as an example. Later in middle of the continuum have imaginative solutions to problems and finally at the end of this level there are leaders who inspire the group to achieve the goal of the organizations. “Stay hungry, Stay foolish” is a famous comment from Steve Jobs when he gave a speech at Stanford University. (Strauss, 2011). By saying stay hungry he means that no one should be ever satisfied with one has in life and instead try to make thing better. That’s maybe the best definition of being innovative. By staying foolish one feel that there is a lot to learn. Direction setting is one of traits and behavior of successful leaders. DuBrin (2010: 101) explains how “Direction setting” and “creating vision” is a major responsibility of a leader. Steve Jobs is an example of being visionary. Once he said “I’m going to do something completely different game. ” (Hedayati, 2013) Or again at Stanford university speech where he says: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice”. This shows how he set example for his employees and for the whole organization. Another attitudes of a leader is having high performance standards (DuBrin, 2010: 101).
Steve Jobs was perfectionist (Wasson, 2018). He leaded his engineers to get the highest standard possible. There is a story which talk itself the degree of perfection Steve was looking after. Once he got a prototype on Ipad from his engineers which he thought it was not small enough. When he heard from the engineers that this was the smallest possible they could came up with, he dropped the Ipad into an aquarium. When it touched the bottom then bubbles floated to top. Then Steve said since there are bubble so there is still some space in there, go and make it smaller! Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur and his type of leadership has properties of an entrepreneurial leadership. An entrepreneur is task-oriented and charismatic person. (DuBrin, 2010: 117). Steve Jobs admits that there are 100 individuals reporting him directly so we can consider his leadership as autocratic. Durbin (2010: 114) describes an autocratic leader “who retain most of the authority” to himself. Autocratic leadership is opposite of participative leadership who leaders share decision making with others.
Steve Jobs was one of a kind. His leadership style made Apple to a firm what we know today. He was charismatic, task-oriented and visionary. His style of leadership autocratic and entrepreneurial.