Lisa K. Larson, RN
August 15, 2012
The Leadership Style of Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, was a very effective leader. I knew little about his leadership style until just recently, when I read some articles about how he ran Apple during his tenure there. I was surprised to see how some people classified him. Whenever I saw him giving a speech or talking about a new product, he seemed like the type of person I would want to work for. Some people would disagree about his style, however, calling him dictatorial and aggressive. This surprised me, although it probably should not have. Henson (2011) stated, “Steve Jobs was far from perfect….It is well known that Steve Jobs could be arrogant, dictatorial and mean-spirited. Yet he was a great leader.” Is this the type of leader that is needed in today’s world? Is this the type of person I want as my leader? I’m not sure, to be honest. Of course, an ethical leader doesn’t have to be a friendly leader. Covey’s characteristics of principle-centered leaders (1991) include things such as “they believe in other people”, “they radiate positive energy” and “they are synergistic”, but nowhere does it say that they have to be friendly and affable. While most of us would like our leader to also be friendly, it is not necessary for a leader to also be your friend. Henson states, “leadership style is situational”, meaning that the leader can act one way now and a different way later, depending on what needs to be done at the time. He or she is still exhibiting ethical leadership, but doesn’t always have to be nice or pleasant. For example, if a person is in danger because of what he or she is doing, it is the leader’s job to immediately take action to stop the dangerous work. This may mean shouting at someone or pulling him or her away roughly. Are they being friendly at that time? No. Are they showing leadership? Yes....