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Nature and Effectiveness of Steve Jobs Leadership Essay

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Updated: Sep 3rd, 2021

Steve Jobs was the CEO of Apple Inc. until his death on October 5th 2011 (Apple, 2011). While at Apple Inc, Steve was successful in leading the organization into the right path. Through the technical innovations that were unleashed by the organization coupled with its proper marketing strategies, Apple grew to be one of the leading corporations in the field of Information Communications and Technology (ICT).

To achieve all this, Steve Jobs had a rather unique style of leadership. His leadership style comprised of a mix of qualities and strategies that aimed at improving the operations and status of the organization in order to achieve the set goals and objectives of Apple Inc.

Steve was born in 1955. In the year 1976, he partnered up with Steve Wozniak to form the Apple Computer Company. A year later, the company released its second generation computer; Apple II (Wether and Chandler, 2006). Apple II was successful. It made Apple to be considered as one of the leading computer companies in the world.

As a result, the company went public in 1980. In 1984, the company released the Macintosh. This computer was the most user friendly PC at that time. It was easier to navigate through its operating system, it was smaller, had an attractive interface and most importantly, the computer ran efficiently (without making noise).

This was a game changer in the field of computer manufacturing. It influenced the production of other computers up to the present day.

Due to the growth of the company, Steve Jobs needed an experienced CEO to lead the organization. As a result, he hired John Scully who was the CEO of Pepsi Cola (Wether and Chandler, 2006). However, the differences between these two individuals led to the exit of Steve Jobs from Apple. He went ahead to form his computer company called NeXT. He also bought an animation company called Pixar that mainly focused on commercials.

Through his inspiration, Steve managed to lead these two companies to success. However, in 1997, Apple and NeXT merged and Steve Jobs became the interim CEO of this new organization. A few months later, he announced that he was the CEO of the company. The influence that he had, he led these two companies to success up to his death in 2011.

Steve Jobs was a visionary leader. He was able to lead the organizations that he headed or was a part of into desirable heights. Steve Jobs was the CEO of Apple Inc., NeXT and Pixar. When Pixar merged with Walt Disney, he became the board member of Walt Disney and influenced the production of several animated Box Office films.

When Steve Wozniak showed Steve Jobs the first apple computer, Jobs managed to convince Wozniak to sell the computer rather than giving its out for free which was the idea of Wozniak. This therefore led to the birth of Apple Computer Company in 1976 (Wether and Chandler, 2006).

Through research and innovation, Jobs and Wozniak released the second generation of the computer; Apple II. This led to the growth of the company and in 1984 the Mackintosh was released. These advancements in releasing new generations of the computers that were better and more efficient were all influenced by Steve Jobs.

Being a visionary leader, he aspired in coming up with better versions of computers and computers applications that aimed at making the life of man much easier on earth. When he fell out of apple in 1985, the company did not do well. Instead, it almost ran into debt.

However, his return to Apple in 1997 had a great impact in the operation, running and sustainability of the company. In the year 2001, Apple released the iPod. In 2007, the iPhone was released and the iPad soon followed. It is through his visionary leadership that the company was able to innovate and market such products.

A visionary leader articulates the desired status of an organization. However, it is the work of the employees of the organization to come up with means and strategies of achieving this desired state. Steve Jobs wanted Apple Inc to be the leading innovative company in the field of ICT. It is the motivation, desire, integrity and hard work of the employees at Apple Inc. that made this possible.

With the application of the expectancy theory, Steve Jobs managed to motivate his employees by giving them a chance to bring in their ideas and innovations into the company. At times, he gave his employees the chance to make decisions which he would finally weigh to see the impacts that they may have on the organization. As such, employees felt as being part and parcel of the organization and respected.

This in turn boosted their morale and improved their performance. In an interview, Steve Jobs stated while hiring employees, he had to ensure that they had love for the company.

He believed that once this is achieved, the rest would come in naturally. According to him, if the employees will not have love for the company, then they will be working to achieve their own individual goals and not the goals of the company. To guarantee that both parties benefit, Jobs ensured that the goals of his employees and the company are both achieved.

Other articles state that Steve Jobs was an Autocratic leader. In an interview, Jobs stated that there are over 100 individuals who report to him directly. As a result, he had to ensure that every activity within the organization conducted as per the expected standards. In most of the occasions, the expected standards were his way. Jobs therefore manipulated the activities and operations of Apple Inc.

He expected perfections and as a result, he only maintained members of staff that were not good but great in what they do. However, he embraced team work and affiliation among his employees. He also believed in diversifications of activities in his organization.

He also participated in the invention, production and presentation of new products to the world. Finally, unlike other CEOs, Jobs focused on changing the world to be a better place. He was not motivated by monetary gains but by innovation.

Establishment of Tim Cook

On taking over from Steve Jobs, Tim Cook needs to establish a strong leadership. This will ensure that the organization continues to operate in an effective and efficient manner as it was operating during the reign of Steve Jobs. First, Tim needs to deviate from the autocratic leadership style that was being used by Steve Jobs. Instead, he needs to adopt and implement democracy in the organization.

With this new style of leadership, employees will have the chance to participate in the process of decision making. This method will increase the participation of employees in key activities and processes of the organization regardless of their level of operation or qualification. This style will also act as an avenue to utilize the innovations and ideas of all the employees.

The organization will therefore stand a better chance of coming up with technical innovations that will change the lives of many individuals in the world. This will be in line with the current goals and objectives of the organization. In addition, democracy makes the employees to be motivated. This will in turn increase their loyalty and productivity to the firm.

Tim Cook also needs to adopt the pacesetting style of leadership. In this form of leadership, the leader of an organization is sets the specific standards of performance that his employees are expected to meet.

In order to maintain the traditions of that were set by Steve Jobs, Tim Cook needs to ensure that activities and operations are conducted in a better and faster way, effectively and efficiently. To ensure that this is achieved, Cook has to ensure that he maintains a competent staff. His employees should also work as a team. This will make the organization to achieve its goals and objectives much easily.

Tim Cook also needs to have a mix of interpersonal skills. He should have desirable listening and communications skills. He should also be charismatic, understanding, smart, wise, respectful, transparent and open. This will ensure that he behaves in a desirable way (Wether and Chandler, 2006).

These skills will also assist him to have good relationship with his employees and stakeholders. He will also be able to make wise decisions in tight situations. This will in turn lead to the overall success of the company.

Finally, Tim Cook needs to maintain a desirable organization structure, behaviour and culture within the organization. All the employees at Apple Inc. need to have respect for one another, work together as a team, and treat clients with integrity and respect.

Most importantly, they should work to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization as well as their personal goals and objectives. Once these considerations are put in place, Tim Cook will be a successful leader of a successful organization.


Apple Inc, n.d, Remembering Steve. Available at:

Wether, W and Chandler, D. (2006) Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders in a Global Environment. Miami. Sage

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