Henry Ford was a visionary who he loved his employees. He was well known for treating them very well. Ford was a very successful leader. Steve Jobs was tabbed as being narcissistic and harsh. He would often times treat his employees unfairly. Interestingly enough, Steve too was also a very successful leader. There is a plethora of books, websites and videos claiming to help individuals become successful leaders. Each of those resources has their own formula for success in a cookie cutter sort of way. If you do X, Y and Z, you will be successful in leadership. Steve Jobs and Henry Ford have totally different leadership styles yet both were successful. Comparing Steve Jobs to Henry Ford will validate that books, websites and videos which portray great leaders and their success as being a cookie cutter process is farthest from the truth.
A comparison of Steve Jobs and Henry Ford
A simple Google search for “how to become a great leader” will net over eighteen million results. Book stores as well as online articles describe specific ways to become a great leader. It is apparent each writer has their own plan to becoming a great leader. Their claims often time suggest that if one does X, Y and Z, they will become a great leader. While this might be a great way to sell books, reality often times displays a very different approach. Henry Ford was a visionary; he loved his employees and treated them very well. Ford was considered a successful leader. In contrast, Steve Jobs was not always good to his staff. He was known for treating many unfairly. He was considered to be narcissistic and harsh. Interestingly enough, Jobs and Ford had totally different leadership styles yet both were very successful. Comparing these two individuals will validate that books, websites and videos that portray great leaders and their success as being a cookie cutter process is actually not always true. Steve Jobs was not normal by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, anyone else using his management style would most likely be terminated. Steve Jobs in fact, “violated every rule of management. He was not a consensus-builder but a dictator who listened mainly to his own intuition. He was a maniacal micromanager. He had an astonishing aesthetic sense, which business people almost always lack. He could be absolutely brutal in meetings: I watched him eviscerate staff members for their “bozo ideas.”(NOCERA, 2011, para. 5) For example, Apple was working on a product called MobileMe. He was concerned with the direction of their MobileMe e-mail system. According to the team, Jobs gathered the development team and asked a simple question. "Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?" Having received satisfactory answer, he continued, "So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" He continued to berate the team over tarnishing Apples reputation. "You should hate each other for having let each other down”, he said to the team. “Apple also is a brutal and unforgiving place, where accountability is strictly enforced, decisions are swift, and communication is articulated clearly from the top. (After Jobs' tirade, much of the MobileMe team disbanded, and those left behind eventually turned MobileMe into the service Jobs demanded.) (Lashinsky, 2011) Switching gears, Henry Ford utilized the Principles of Scientific Management to help create a manufacturing process for the Model T. It was necessary to build them quickly and in a way so that the Model T could be driven easier; they also needed to be easy to repair.("Scientific Management," n.d.) In October 1908, Ford offered the Model T for nine hundred and fifty dollars. Over fifteen million Model T’s were eventually sold in the United States alone. “The Model T heralds the beginning of the Motor Age; the car evolved from luxury item for the well-to-do to...