Leadership plays a crucial role in giving directions to efforts and creativity to reach strategic goals. It is useful in motivating people to utilize their skills and talents to overcome challenges and perform efficiently. There are different types of leadership such as transformational, participative, and delegative leadership styles. This essay is going to analyze the transformational leadership case study of Steve Jobs. It will mention examples from the leadership practices of Steve Jobs in explaining transformational leadership and the factors related to this type of leadership. It will also show the practices of exemplary leaders considering Jobs’ behavior and leadership style.
1. According to Burns (1978), transformational leaders are attached to their followers and create natural motivation that leads followers to achieve their fullest potential. explain how Jobs did or did not maximize the full potential of those he led.
Transformational leaders work with followers to identify a need for change and create a vision to guide people through inspiration and participation in executing positive changes (Fischer, 2016). Jobs was a transformational leader, as he motivated his team of people working with him to innovate and explore new ideas to bring change. It can be seen from the examples shown in the case study that Jobs was always inspiring the people at the company to enhance their potential and utilize their skills in creating new products and services. For instance, initially, when Jobs and his friend Wozniak started a business, they created circuit board Jobs suggested selling it for profit. He always found a way to make money from a new idea. He also encouraged other people at Apple to explore new technologies and create innovative products to bring change to IT markets. It shows that he maximized the full potential of those he led.
Steve Jobs was a transformational leader, as he inspired people working with him to achieve shared vision and goals. As per the case study, transformational leaders and their followers have strong connections, which helps leaders to guide people in the right direction. Jobs also followed this leadership style, as he understood the need for change to create products that are innovative, attractive, and effective for changing market needs. He also motivated his staff and co-workers to utilize their potential in improving the quality and features of products to gain a competitive edge and establish a successful brand name for Apple in the markets. Jobs had clear goals and he knew that the efforts of other people would be required to reach those goals. He was always guiding people to bring new ideas and gave them the flexibility to share opinions about new technologies and innovation in the workplace. This approach helped him in achieving success by creating an effective team, where all team members were curious to try new technology and develop new gadgets to increase demand for Apple products in markets (Built al., 2019).
Jobs faced both lows and highs in his career, however; he always came up with new solutions for the challenges and performed better after every low in his career. It can be seen in his decision of leaving Apple in 1985. He and his former Apple colleagues founded NeXT and in 1997 Apple purchased the company. Jobs again became interim CEO of Apple. In the second phase, he worked on creativity and designs, to create some popular products of Apple such as iTunes software, iPod mini, and an app store for Apple. All these products and incidents indicated a positive attitude of Jobs towards failures and lows. As a transformational leader, he brought many changes in Apple products, culture, and brand identity through consistent efforts.
The case study has mentioned charisma as a special gift that is used by certain people to influence other people. There are different ways of showing charismatic behavior such as strong communication, risk-taking, confidence, and empowering others (Conger, 1999). Based on the definitions mentioned in the case study, Steve Jobs was charismatic. He was a risk-taker, as he took the first risk of starting a company at a young age with less experience. He showed confidence multiple times through his decisions and marketing strategies. He strongly communicated his visions and goals to people working with him to guide them about the changes. He effectively aligned his leadership style with his vision of creating new gadgets and IT products to become successful in markets. Lastly, he built a strong identity of Apple, as a successful company in global markets.
Their charisma of Jobs can be seen in his visions, decisions, and communication. He was clear about his goals and influenced others to put the effort into achieving these goals. From the examples in a case study, it can be seen that he encouraged others through examples to perform efficiently to offer quality and uniqueness in Apple products. As mentioned earlier, charisma is a gift and it is important to utilize it in the proper way (Choiet al., 2016). Jobs used his charisma in transforming his goals into reality. He also convinced others through his visions to become a leading IT Company in the world. He showed confidence in his team to develop products and strategies that contribute to the success and growth of Apple. Steve Jobs is an inspiration for many people and it indicates his charisma to influence the mindset of other people to perform better toward their goals.
During his career, Jobs worked with different people on different projects. It is important for a leader to influence people around them to follow common beliefs and values (Hunt and Conger, 1999). Jobs used his charisma to bring people together and work for common goals. His effective leadership approach and proper utilization of his charismatic behavior helped him in running a big company like Apple successfully for years. His achievements and awards show his efforts and capabilities as a leader. He made Apple a global premium brand and it has a loyal customer base due to the quality and reliability of its products and services. His charisma also evolved with time, as he learned from experiences and applied his learnings to his business and research. Hence, it can be seen from his journey that his charisma was an important factor in his growth.
Was Steve Jobs a transformational leader? Please discuss in terms of Bass and Avolio’s (1994) four factors of transformational leadership (Idealized Influence, Inspirational Motivation, Intellectual Stimulation, and Individualized Consideration).
Steve Jobs was a transformational leader and it can be seen from his career growth and achievements through his effective leadership at Apple. Four factors of transformational leadership are used to show the characteristics of a transformational leader (Kouzes and Posner, 2012). The first factor is idealized influence, which indicates the emotional aspects of leadership that are required for a leader to act as a role model. This factor is helpful in inspiring people through emotional support and setting examples. Steve Jobs inspired his staff members to work consistently in every situation. Many people such as new entrepreneurs and young engineers idealize him as their leader for his achievement as a successful entrepreneur. He is a role model for youth looking for new business opportunities and working on new technological developments. People can emotionally connect with his journey, as a college dropout and entrepreneur.
The second factor is inspirational motivation, which indicates the intrinsic motivation required to reach the goals of a leader. One of the important functions of the leader is to motivate people to perform effectively in the right direction (Suifanet al., 2018). Leaders work with specific goals and visions by motivating their followers to work towards these goals. Steve Jobs is considered an inspirational motivator, as his examples are used to guide students and employees to follow their dreams and goals. He also motivated his employees and co-workers to work for common goals. His achievements became an inspiration for people and transformations became an integral part of Apple products. The company comes up with new products with better designs and features every year. It has transformed the approach of people toward gadgets used on regular basis such as phones, computers, and watches. Hence, Jobs has been an inspirational motivation for businesses and people for years.
Intellectual stimulation is a factor that occurs when leaders give the opportunity to followers to use their own creativity and skills to achieve their goals. The growth of followers is important for a transformational leader, as it increases the knowledge and capabilities of teams (Díazet al., 2019). Jobs also stimulated the creativity of individuals working with him to bring new ideas and innovation to the company. Apple is known for its innovative and attractive products; hence, new ideas are required on regular basis for creating new products. Jobs offered flexibility to employees to share their opinion about new technology and designs for product development.
The last factor is individualized consideration which states the supportive behavior of leaders toward followers by coaching and guiding them to fully utilize their potential. This factor is also useful in enhancing the potential of people around leaders. Steve Jobs brought transformation by offering training and guidance to employees to identify opportunities and utilize technologies in creating new products for customers. He considered the growth of people working for him by allowing them to grow with the company. Regular training and interactions contributed to understanding and bond between leader and subordinates. Hence, Jobs helped the employees to use their skills and knowledge in effective ways (digital apple. in, 2020).
Kouzes and Posner defined five practices of exemplary leaders that contribute to transformational leadership. The first practice is to model the way, in which leaders align their actions with values. Clarity about actions and strategies is important to make others understand their roles in the performance. Alignment between actions and strategies is also important for moving in the right direction (Litchka, 2016). Jobs also aligned his actions with the visions by modeling the way for others to reach desired goals. He motivated others to function in a definite direction to accomplish organizational goals. This practice is helpful for leaders in maintaining clarity in actions and related roles.
The second practice is inspiring a shared vision, which states developing a clear vision that is easy to communicate and understandable by all. Leaders communicate their visions with followers to encourage them to take action in a common direction. Hence, the vision should be realistic and comprehensive for followers. A complex and unrealistic vision can create resistance and demotivate employees during performance (Tran, 2020). Jobs also created a vision that was practical and could be achievable by consistent practices. He kept updating the vision with the achievement of each goal, which kept the motivation levels of employees high with new ideas and practical goals.
The third practice is to challenge the process, which is important to adapt to changes and overcome challenges through creativity and critical thinking. A leader can inspire team members to think critically about an issue and use creativity to find an effective solution (McLaughlin, 2020). Hence, issues get resolved in less time, and consistency is maintained in functions. Jobs challenge the process multiple times in his career. He introduced new ideas and created new products and markets for Apple by resolving issues related to operations. He used innovative ways to mitigate the risks and resolve the issues. He also motivated employees to follow the same approach to face challenges and come up with effective solutions for the growth of the company.
The fourth practice is to enable others to act, which states giving responsibility and authority to others to develop a sense of ownership in team members or followers. This practice is effective in motivating employees by giving them higher responsibilities. It also provides employees with opportunities for future growth by showing their capabilities (Clavelle and Prado-Inzerillo, 2018). Jobs also gave responsibilities to subordinates to prepare them for big roles. His focus was to create a team that is capable of facing challenges and making effective decisions about team functions. Hence, he provided opportunities for employees to show their creativity in terms of designs, ideas, and technical skills to improve internal processes and product specifications.
The last practice is to encourage the heart by showing appreciation for efforts and celebrating small victories. It is crucial for leaders to recognize the efforts of team members to encourage good practices. Recognition for performance and creativity also motivates all employees to earn rewards and recognition (Weber, 2009). Thank you and appreciation help in creating a bond between leaders and subordinates. It also indicates the supportive behavior of leaders toward followers. Jobs also recognizes the efforts of his employees in finding solutions to issues or developing completely new ideas for products and marketing. Rewards and incentive schemes for creativity and efforts became part of Apple’s work culture.
No, Steve Jobs was not a pseudo-transformational leader. This leadership is determined with the intent of transformation such as for the organization, country, or leader himself. This style is more aggressive and rigid in its approaches to bringing transformation (Linet al., 2017). Jobs was rigid for perfection however, he was willing to encourage independent thoughts in team members. For instance, it is mentioned in the case study that Jobs was insensitive, egoist, and ruthless to get things done his way. He was critical of minute details related to logos and symbols used for the products and company. It shows his intent for the transformation of Apple and other companies owned by him. However, he encouraged other people to improve their performance and helped others to grow with his company.
Steve Jobs was passionate about his goals and he used both rigid and flexible approaches to the situations. His aim was to become a successful entrepreneur and create products that are required to improve the customer experience. For instance, he bought Pixar and made it a pioneer in the animation industry. It has been mentioned in the case study that he helped and hurt people to create a positive influence on business. His perfection towards small details made him a little rigid, which intimidated people sometimes. However, his approaches always contributed to positive change for businesses and the people associated with them. People who worked with him remember his intimidating nature and appreciate that he made them better. It can be seen from incidents that he desired perfection in work and he was ruthless in making things his way. However, it was one of the reasons for the success of Apple. He transformed his visions into reality through his leadership style. For instance, the success of apple is proof of the effectiveness of its leadership style.
Pseudo-transformational leaders are self-serving people and neglect the opinion of others to reach their personal goals (Kazmi, 2017). They exploit other people and situations for their benefit. On the contrary, Jobs motivated other employees to share their opinions, and utilize their creativity to grow in their careers. He identified opportunities in markets and work to utilize them for the growth of his company. It shows that he was considerate of other people’s efforts and worked for the growth of his company and his people. His behavior was intimidating sometimes due to his curiosity for perfection and creativity, which helped him in creating an effective corporate culture at Apple. The company is still utilizing the benefits of its approaches and work culture.
Thus, it can be concluded that the transformational leadership style is used to bring positive changes by inspiring people to work towards common goals. Steve Jobs was a transformational leader, as he brought many positive changes to Apple and the IT markets. He inspired people to utilize their potential for benefit of the company. His behavior was rigid due to his perfectionist nature. However, it is seen from the case study that he worked hard for the growth of his company and for reaching goals. He also provided opportunities for other people for showing their creativity through performance. His effective leadership style can be understood from the success of Apple in global markets.
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