Having recently been awarded the CEO of the Year 2009, Steve Jobs is certainly a leadership profile that would be a worthy leadership lesson to study.
Steve Jobs, the CEO and co-founder of Apple is a highly autocratic, or CEO-centric leader. Rather than working alongside his peers and subordinates, Jobs choose to lead his team from the front, spearheading the innovation and constantly renewed products of the company. The autocratic nature of his leadership also bears some transactional traits, such as using verbal lashings at employees. Jobs was also infamous for creating an atmosphere of fear in the company when he carries out rounds of executions to remove less competent staff. This has led to some employees dreading to bump into him in the elevators, for fear of receiving a letter of dismissal subsequently. The success of the company and the CEO stems less from a participative or democratic style of leadership, but very much more from Jobs ability to continually innovate and make things happen.
This brings us to the next concept, of innovative leadership. Instead of resting on his laurels and be content with their market leadership, Jobs recognises the need for constant innovation and renewal in order to stay at the front. Being in market with viable alternatives and strong competition, Jobs understands that it is necessary to direct the focus on the company on innovation first, everything else later. This has resulted in Apple to be the first in many product categories, such as for iPhones, iPods and the recent iPads. In this case, his emphasis on innovation supersedes even the structural growth of the company.
A key trait born by Steve Jobs that make the Apple concept so wildly successful is his ability to create a vision for the company, one that each member can relate with and work towards. His vision, to start a revolution in the way the average person processes information, has led to the creation of a multi-million business from a mere idea or wish. It has brought into the hands of billions around the world, ergonomic products that wildly increase their accessibility to each other and information, as well as reshape their style of life. A strong vision like this is a common trait shared among successful companies, and it is absolutely integral for any leader who wished to unite his team and give his team direction to master.
While unlike the conventional transformational or participative leaders we have seem so far, Steve Jobs is certainly a leadership model worth learning from. Successfully utilising the autocratic style, compounded with a focus on innovation and visioning, it is evident how Steve Jobs can successfully take Apple to greater heights.