One of the most valuable personal qualities of our time is leadership. Whether you become successful or not depends on the leadership strength and the set of additional traits to go with it, Oxford dictionary gives the following definition: “leader - the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country”. ("Leader") Sounds easy, however, this is where reality clashes with theory. Leading itself will not get anybody far; there should be a secret weapon, a cherry on top. This cherry is unique to every leadership style, it is either total control and censorship, or excessive motivation, or even simply lack of those two.
There is probably no media in the world, which have neglected to write or speak about this person. It is not only because of outstanding things he did, it is because Steve Jobs lost his battle to cancer. His speeches, quotes, and gadgets inspired many people. Every newspaper or magazine, with at least a little self-respect, did a piece on Steve Jobs. They have praised, and keep praising his genius mind, creativity, and simplicity of his approach to life. Though his attitude towards life was simple, as a person he was much more complicated than one can imagine. He was much more than charismatic genius, but not many got that far. His fascinating hi-tech devices distracted most people. Very few, actually, dug deeper than this and looked for real key to his success.
Steve Jobs was a genius, no one could argue with that. Back in the year 2000, he came up with idea on a gadget, which had no keyboard and could be navigated simply with the touch of a finger. Who would have thought of something that innovative and groundbreaking back then?
There are two kinds of geniuses: one which half of the time lives in his wonderland, and another which thinks five steps ahead and rigorously controls the situation. He was most definitely of the latter kind. He meticulously thought through even tiniest details of his plans, presentations, and gadgets. Not a smallest detail could escape from his view. Taking into account the fact that he was a college dropout, it is fascinating, how he taught himself everything he knew.
“He was a jerk. Good for him.” Not many would have courage to say so, but this is true. Steve could easily drive them into tears, and it was not because he was mean. He always had a clear vision of what he wanted things to be, and how he wanted them to look. He knew how to push, and he pushed hard. What is the use of the most brilliant minds if you do not know how to get the best of them? Well, Steve Jobs knew. Even if it meant to drive employees to the breaking point just to get what he wanted, he did it. Though it is cruel, the outcome justifies the means. Without pressure on employees none of his projects would have succeeded, or would have come out with such a huge “Bang!”, as they did. Behaving like a jerk was one of additional but crucial qualities that led Steve to success. If he let go one of the tiniest details, he was so particular about, just because someone could not deliver the expected result, we would have things so much different. Knowing how to keep a firm stand on what you believe in, and knowing how to get all the resources together, and make them work like a clock mechanism, is crucial to the successful leader.
In addition, Apple Inc. CEO was well aware of what it takes to run the company and what is crucial for his projects to become successful. One of the factors was total control. Was it something in his nature or nurture, we would probably never know. However, these qualities made his every presentation a true sensation and success. A great number of people worked on iPhone, but only few saw it as a whole, fully functional, single piece before release. He kept every part and detail of his inventions in a secret. He knew that his genius mind was not one of a kind. Jobs was well aware that there were plenty of people being able to recreate his masterpieces when given the right idea. Being a jerk is what it takes when you want to obtain total control over information on your projects. People like him are strategic control freaks who envision no other way than “my way”. Think of it, a new product with its sensational features itself takes up roughly a half of success, the other, bigger, half - presentation, is worth much more. That is why he personally introduced his projects, for a controlling person like him it was crucial. Moreover, no one else could share his ideas better than he could.
A couple of media sources had mentioned that the employees of Apple Inc. were very cautious and fearful when handling inside information. “Inside Apple, there is a culture of fear and control around communication.” However, it concerned not only the internal approach to his organization. In the company, he has established a department called Worldwide Loyalty Team, it sounds pleasant, but it is not. This team was in charge of spotting and dealing with information leaks. Their work included confiscating cell phones, searching computers for compromising information, and sewing the sources that spoke bad of Apple Inc. products. Once, this team went really far pursuing the leads on missing iPhone prototype. They searched a man’s home in San Francisco, threatened him and his family with immigration problems. This clearly shows his issues with managing control problems.
“He had a dark side – quick to anger, long to forgive, often paranoid, cruel, in need of control as others need oxygen and water.” (Karlrgaard ) He was a very charismatic person and amazingly skillful leader. If not consumed by his creative approach to engineering, he had everything to become one of the greatest dictators. What would have happened if he had had to rule the country? His dedication and fascination with the subject combined with his need for control, which often danced with paranoia, would have provided him almost limitless power.
He was an adopted baby. It is hard to tell whether being an orphan contributed to the development of Steve, or was it his true self. We will never know. However, Steve Jobs changed lives of many people, giving them means, opportunities and inspiration. Looking on what he has done through life and his gadgets it is easy to forgive all his flaws and unpleasant qualities for one simple reason. If someone took away or suppressed one of those qualities, iPad would be just silly and made-up word to us. Leadership style is like a cocktail, each has a unique combination of ingredients, and every time it turns out to have a different taste. Steve’s ingredients were mostly bitter and unpleasant, but the aftertaste was one of the best in the world history of leadership cocktails.