Steve Jobs Leadership at Apple Corporation

Introduction and traits

Steve Jobs returned to apple after twelve years a revitalized leader having left the corporation in 1985 after an internal dispute. Thirteen years later apple has transformed through his leadership to the top computer company having surpassed Microsoft in year 2010. Much study has been directed to his leadership style in advent of the corporation’s success. Transformational leadership is what best fits Steve Jobs even though he has had numerous references as a charismatic leader.

The transformational leadership style exhibited by Steve Jobs has four main attributes. The first and most recognizable is the charismatic or idealized sway possessed by the individual. This trait inspires others to emulate the behavior and get on the passion possessed by the leader. Steve illustrates this in his ability to draw employee attention by the enthusiasm of his words and actions. Overtime he has exhibited the ability to come up with illustrations enhancing employee and customer comprehension of the products under development (Kahney, 2009).

Steve is also known for great confidence and zero tolerance for mistakes from employees. At his best, he is autocratic since he rarely runs an open system but makes decisions personally or with small group of senior managers. This instills focus and seriousness in the goal and vision attainment that are clearly expressed by Jobs. This ability to inspire others to vision and mission attainment forms the second trait of the transformational leadership style. Steve is not known for his democratic nature but for insisting on holistic participation of every employee in the vision established. In fact, as a company apple prides itself in having the least number of products but with the highest net worth where in year 2010 the company had only 30 products but grossed thirty billion in worth (Kahney, 2009). This is indicative of focus where Steve requires hundred percent focus on the established goals and ideas.

It is irrefutable the nature of intellectual understanding Steve Jobs has on Apple products both on the market and underdevelopment on customers. For instance, when explains about an Ipod or an IDVD, he is able to place its usage in the daily life of the customer. He has mastered the art of connecting with customers where he translates the complex technological metrics with simple to comprehend illustrations. For instance, while launching the thirty-gigabyte Ipod he exemplified its memory in terms of seven thousand five hundred songs or seventy-five hours of video. This is referred to marketing the benefit as opposed to marketing the product. The kind of enthusiasm he portrays is able to compel Apple employees to inspired operations. He is known as firm and very demanding consequently using both force of actions and words to compel his employees to productivity.

Jobs contribution to vision and mission

Apple vision is emphatic on innovative service and creation of an experience to consumers using its products. This is complemented by the mission to constantly research on innovations and primary computer systems. The company has two hundred and three patents and embraces a closed system where it does not permit outsiders to build on its innovations. This implies the company retains the only right to build on its systems and innovations thus operating a closed system development. Lastly, the company aims at transforming its employees to be the best at what they do and to fall in love with the organization.

Leadership in the organization is characterized by most of the decisions made at the top level with little room for self-autonomy created in the middle and low levels. Steve Jobs insists this is the key to focus creation and maintenance. The company executives pride themselves more on things and ideas they did not pursuit as much as those they pursued. As previously mentioned the company aims at creating the best computer and associated systems guaranteed to create constantly an experience to the user. Apart from the efficiency and high quality, the company aims at making stylish products from an aesthetic point of view.

To revitalize the organization on coming back in 1997, Steve Jobs changed the focus from merely profit maximization to product orientation. In the twelve year of his absence, the company had lost drive towards innovation and simply existed on patents of technologies it had brought about in the early 1990’s and late 1980’s (Sharma & Grant 2011). Through aggressive marketing and Steve Jobs micro management where he had more than a hundred people reporting directly to him daily, the company was able to prioritize product innovation.

The perpetuation of this product orientation required constant as well as adhoc meetings where the executive aimed at keeping every employee up to speed with everything the company was engaged operationally. Even thought most employees have not been involved in the initiation of ideas and problems they are kept at pace with what solutions are required of them constantly. Additionally, the company has a thorough recruiting process where Steve Jobs reiterates the emphasis is on getting the best and making them fall in love with the corporation.


The latest of the apple’s challenges has been the succession row and predicament. This issue has been propounded by Steve Jobs strong identical link to Apple. Given the fact, Apple has grown eight times bigger under Jobs; it is hard for the shareholders and other stakeholders to imagine the corporation on its competitive edge without the executive. However, his succession is eminent given the increased frequency of his health issues. Currently, Steve Jobs is working part time, as he is recovering from a liver transplant done last year (Sharma & Grant 2011).

Tim Cooks oversaw the Corporations operations as Jobs underwent medical and surgical procedures for almost a year. Tom together with vice president of overseas market has been rumored as next in succession. In the midst of pressure to publicize its succession plan, the company top executives have remained adamant terming the discretion as part of maintaining high stock prices and a competitive edge. On his part, Job has insisted his determination and ability to remain the chief executive declaring his improved health state.


            As a consultant, the company’s secret to a smooth succession first lies in disassociating Apple from Steve Jobs in terms of success and image. This is because the Corporation has one of the world’s most competent and efficient executive team. Secondly, bring the top executives to light who are not as known as Steve Jobs to accreditation for the corporations well being and success. Since one of the main concerns is the future continuity of the Corporations innovative and market leader qualities. In as much as the company has flourished under Steve Jobs it is only right to acknowledge he has not done it alone. Creating stakeholder confident is important in the succession plan.

Selecting from the internal bench is preferred given the Corporation has the chance to mentor and train other executives by exposing them to launches and international product marketing as has been the case in the last two keynote addresses. The major challenge faced by the company’s executive team in the succession is ensuring adaptability to the dynamic technological world implying the Corporation has to keep the innovation hits coming. Additionally, the next phase for the Corporation lies within the executive team as opposed to as single individual in the case of Steve Jobs. Recruiting from with in advised in this case given the company’s mission of making its employees fall in love with the Corporation to assure passion and commitment. Succession by a team in love with the company is a strong guarantee to perpetuate the product orientation reinstalled by Steve Jobs.



Kahney, L. (2009). Inside Steve’s brain: Business lessons from Steve Jobs, the man who saved Apple. London: Atlantic.

Sharma, A., & Grant, D. (February 01, 2011). Narrative, drama and charismatic leadership: The case of Apple’s Steve Jobs. Leadership, 7, 1, 3-26

Emerald Insight (January 01, 2002), Transformational leadership @ Apple How one individual style can save an organization.. Strategic Direction Bradford-, 18, 5-6.

Emerald Insight (June 19, 2011),Who has the top Jobs at Apple?: The problem of succession and how to learn from history.. Strategic Direction, 25, 8, 27-30.


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