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Characteristics of Business Leadership: Steve Jobs Essay

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Updated: Sep 3rd, 2021


Modern human resource management has come to recognize the value of leadership in management. Leadership has been adopted in the modern organizational and business management to the level that it is replacing the word management. In the modern business world, there is need for business leadership more than we need business managers; because of the complexity of business environment.

The modern business environment is characterized by stiff competition, tough rules of taxation, changing forms of management that is moving away from personnel management and adopting human resource management as a form of managing employees, increasing logistics and costs of operating businesses among other challenges. All these aspects call for a lot of resilience in successful management of businesses.

Thus, this calls stronger leadership which goes well beyond what management can offer. Leadership can be defined as the progressive creativity; the ability to foresee the future basing on the present while at the same time putting in mind the past. It is the major component of vision. In business, effective leadership is defined in terms of the corporate culture. This leadership propels the business to maximize profits which is the major goal of all businesses (Scheer, 2009).

In the world today, there are a number of businesses that have achieved tremendous growth. These businesses have grown from scratch to become among the top leading businesses in the world. Most of the success in these businesses is associated with the leaders of the business. The leaders of those businesses have been argued to poses creativeness and excellent leadership skills that they have development with time (Cohen & Rath, 2007).

One of the leaders who are known to have leadership qualities that have helped the business they lead to grow to greater heights is Steve Jobs; who was the Chief Executive Officer of Apple. Jobs was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Apple Incorporated which is an information technology firm that deals in the production of computers and other information technology goods and services.

The company is worldly known for the invention of the iPod and iPhone technology products. This paper looks into Steve Jobs and his leadership skills that enabled him to lead Apple Company.

Steve Jobs and Business Leadership

The Apple Company underwent several transformations before it made the success it has attained under the leadership of Jobs. The company was started in 1976 by Jobs. In the year 1974, Jobs started the ‘Revolutionary Macintosh’ of which he ushered to the market. Jobs was later forced to step down by the board of directors of Apple in 1985.

He later went ahead to make NeXt Computer in 1986. In the year 1997, Apple bought NeXt Computers. He was nominated to become the chief executive officer. In the year 2001, the company invented the iPod that entered the market in a revolutionary way. In 2007, apple invented the 3G iPhone which was unique in the market and which gave the company much glory (O’Grady, 2009).

One of the best attributes of a good business leader is vision. Firms are founded by people who have vision. The vision of the organization has to be coupled with creativity for any growth to be realized, and Steve Jobs was a visionary leader. Jobs was well understood for the attitude of perfectionism which he always embraced.

This quality helped him to withstand business pressures; for instance, pressures arising from the adversity of the conditions in the market that needed a quick move. In 2002, the company was constrained in a big way. At this period, Jobs stood with the vision of the company. He always likened the future of the company to the superior inventions that the company had made for instance the iPod.

He involved himself in the Nitti gritty of the goods that the company produced. He had the ability to blend well the micromanagement skills, as well as the vision of the firm. A combination of vision and intelligence enabled the company to manage to come up with products that were of a revolutionary nature in the information technology market.

Notable attributes of visionary leadership are depicted in the personal computer concept, invention of revolutionary consumer information technology products such as the iPod and the iPhone. These products were applauded in the market by technology experts as products that utilized high technology in their manufacture, and that they were much far beyond the technology that was used in the invention of mobile phones.

Another indicator of visionary leadership is the three dimension animated movies. Job came out as a person with a lot of brilliance, and an innovative person who was able to come up with solutions for instance production of computers to aid in transforming the world.

He was a motivated person, through whom other workers got motivated creating a high morale work environment that encouraged performance to rise. Innovation is a key tenet of a good leader. It differentiates between who a leader is and who a follower is. Jobs was indeed a leader (Whitelaw & Wetzig, 2008).

Jobs had a good grasp of excellent skills of communication that leaders in the business world must have if they want their businesses to succeed. He was able to make and deliver keynote speeches that were written in a professional manner apart from being excellently rehearsed. He was well informed of the content of his speeches. The speeches he delivered articulated the information therein in an ecstatic way (Wyckoff, 2007).

Jobs portrayed his credibility skills though he was mostly known as being a secretive person in the sense that he did not seem to be fond of giving many interviews. He was however, known to be a person who held to his words. He delivered the promises he made. Steve was known to be an ‘Authority Obedience Manager’ when apple ousted him in 1985; he was then termed to be an arrogant leader. In 2009 however, when he became sick, he was able to pass his responsibilities for almost a half a year.

The running of the company went on without any constraints. This period led to a conclusion that he had mentorship skills of which he had used to mentor the followers to think, and make decisions in a manner in which he used to do himself. By this can be termed as being an excellent team manger (Caligiuri & Mendenhall, 2005).

Jobs had good relational skills. He did not seem to distance himself from the audience which comprised of customers and team members of the company. He mostly chose to put on simple attire like jeans instead of wearing swift executive attire that would distance him from the organization and its customers. The closeness he had with customers made him have a grasp of the needs of customers (Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt, 2008).

Jobs inspirational aspect was behind the success he achieved as the leader of Apple. He had a message that is referred to as ‘think different’ and a strong ability of making continuous surprises, and delivering on his vision for the firm (Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt, 2008). Jobs had a good grasp of what the business he was dealing with entailed.

For a person to be able to lead well, he has to have deeper insights of the products that he dealt in. Jobs had a good master of computer and information technology knowledge which he has combined with creative thinking to make the company to succeed. He had competence in the field, and therefore, he was actively involved in the invention of products by the company (Whitelaw & Wetzig, 2008).


Leadership is important in business management in the modern times. The current business environment is marked with numerous challenges, for instance high competition, rising production costs, tougher regulations from government and other regulators. This therefore, calls for more than just management but leadership. Leadership in business goes beyond management, and is the reason behind the success that has been made by various businesses around the world.

Steve Jobs is one of the leaders in business who have done pretty well in leading their businesses to becoming successful. Jobs who was the Chief executive Officer of Apple Incorporated had a mastery of excellent leadership skills that helped like good relational skills, as well as excellent communication skills combined with personal qualities to make the firm succeed. Though with numerous constraints, Job did so well in leading the firm to success.


Caligiuri, P., Bird, A., & Mendenhall, M. E. (2005). Global dimensions of HRM. Oxford: Blackwell.

Cohen, E., & Rath, T. (2007). Leadership Without Borders: Successful Strategies from World-Class Leaders. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Ireland, R. D., Hoskisson, R. E., & Hitt, M. A. (2008). Understanding business strategy: Concepts and cases. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

O’Grady, J. D. (2009). How Apple Inc. changed the world. Mumbai: Jaico.

Scheer, S. (2009). The entrepreneur as business leader: Cognitive leadership in the firm. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Whitelaw, G., & Wetzig, B. (2008). Move to greatness: Focusing the four essential energies of a whole and balanced leader. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey International.

Wyckoff, C. (2007). Top careers in two years: Computers and information technology. New York: Ferguson.

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