05 Oct Was Steve Jobs a good leader?
All of us have had the opportunity to read a lot about this man. The way he manage the situations, how he made Apple jump up to the heaven….and also many other stories that, at least, make us to question ourselves how good in fact he was as human person, and also as a boss. It looks that he was really exigent. He was difficult in the relationship. He was special to so extent, that he prefers, probably not very conscious, to work more, before receiving the right medical treatment, that probably will give him more time among us and also with his family and friends. But probably he was too arrogant? Or he had this special way of doing things, to approach his own life, out of the normal rules, looking always towards perfection.
The truth is that always is difficult to follow this people. Arrogance many times finishes in high level of exigency and difficulty to understand others behavior, or just the way they do things or they approach the life.
Do not take me wrong. There are people with these characteristics that never will make an empire like Steve did with Apple. This man has also something special, which made him to be close to the geniality.
My concern is that he is being used and considered by many managers as example. Also there are a lot of stories and biographies about him, and how he did things. They are used in a lot of management courses, magazines….And for sure this is influencing a lot of managers that have important responsibilities in many important companies and administrations.
Having in mind this difficult personality, I wonder how difficult is to explain and to reuse this experience in others. Furthermore, if you read my article Technocracy and Leadership (Spanish) you will understand more my concern. It is not easy to be leader today in a world where all is measured and controlled using magnifying glasses. Steve was just Steve, something unrepeatable that happens one time. And he was him and his circumstances, very specials by the way. He hardly could find followers in Apple. He was the “alma mater” of everything in the company. He was so close to all the details that he had not time to take care of himself. He was difficult for many people who has to report to him. But he was respected, as he probably was a genius in his filed. Furthermore, he had also this vision of the future and the needs, required to create devices to be used by humans.
Reading today article we see how that company now is criticized because the market is waiting to see if Apple can survive without him.
But said this, he cannot be an example of leadership. A true leader is the one that is able to delegate, to take good and coherent decisions, yes, but also to create a winning team, being sure others can replace him if needed and that nobody is indispensable. This was not the case of Steve
Let me also draw your attention to other article I wrote, about RIM and Blackberry situation. Apple really did magic in the past. He manufactured a product more expensive than the average and was able to create the feeling among their supporters that they have to pay more for it. They were the first in the market bringing these features. And the quality was superb. Now they are leaders. But keeping that position will be very difficult. They are obliged to keep the quality standard and the perception on their supporters that their products are really differential. With so many followers at lower prices, and a technology more accessible to all, this means that they need to look for the excellence in the innovation. Not easy, we will see….specially if the spirit of Steve Jobs is flaying over the brand for many years more.