GM591: Leadership and Organizational Behavior
January 24, 2012
Steve Jobs: Leadership and Management Style
Steven Paul Jobs (mostly known as Steve Jobs) was born on February 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California. During his childhood, Jobs exhibited behavioral problem that one time his fourth-grade teacher had to bribe him with money and candy to curb his behavior. Jobs graduated high school in 1972 and attended a regional liberal arts school named Reed College located in Portland, Oregon. However, he studied at this college only for a semester before he was drop out. Having no place to stay of his own, Jobs had to sleep at friends’ homes, and collecting and recycling cans was one of the ways he earned income to support himself (Finkle & Mallin, 2010). On the other hand, Jobs developed a passion for electronics during high school “with the discovery of electronic hobby kits”, and he found that electronics were not as complicated as they first seemed to be (Finkle & Mallin, 2010, p. 32). Soon Jobs started to attend lectures offered by Hewlett-Packard Company (also known as HP), and subsequently he found a summer employment at this company. Jobs’ employment at HP marked the inception of Apple Computer (Finkle & Mallin, 2010). Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple Computer) was working at HP at the time of Jobs’ summer employment. Ironically, Wozniak also was passionate about electronics and was a college drop out. Jobs and Wozniak together invented computer that can be viewed on a television set rather than monitor. Unable to persuade companies to take on their new invention, Jobs and Wozniak decided to manufacture and promote the computer on their own. While Jobs contributed $1,500 to the company by selling his Volkswagen van, Wozniak supplied $250 to the company by selling his HP financial calculator. As a result, Apple Computer was created and incorporated in 1977. In 1980, Apple Computer went public by offering its stock to public investors, and the company’s initial public offering was the largest in the last 24 years of that period (Finkle & Mallin, 2010). Today, Apple is a multi-billion dollar company with brands recognized across the globe. Apple provides wide variety of products ranging from telecommunication devices to personal computers to personal entertainment devices. For the year 2011, Apple earned $108 billion in revenues and made $26 billion in profits (Apple Inc, 2011). Therefore, what interesting to be explored in this paper is how Steve Jobs, a man with behavior problem, no college degree, no place to stay of his own, but just a passion for electronics and the desire to learn, managed to create and lead a multi-billion dollar company? What makes him so successful that his legacy will be remembered after his death? Leadership Attributes
Leadership can be defined as one's ability to get others to willingly follow (Webster). Every organization needs leaders at every level. Leaders can be found and nurtured if you look for the following traits. A leader also has to make decisions, take risks, build teams, possess self knowledge, communicate effectively and pursue lifelong learning (Maxwell, n.d). There are three key attributes what we look for when we label someone a leader. The three attributes are the ability to articulate the vision, the right kind of ambition, and the ability to achieve the vision (Swartz & Welch, 2011). Steve jobs held all three key attributes, which made him a successful leader. He had the ability to show people exactly what his vision was, and had a plan on how to achieve it. They must communicate clearly and passionately, as passion is contagious. A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his vision single-mindedly, as well as to direct his actions and those of the team toward the goal. He has been labeled as...