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Since they decide how a company will look, management and leadership are essential for any firm to succeed. Differences and disagreements among employees or inside an organization may be important, and how they are resolved may matter, depending on the leadership and management of the company. Bel (48) says that leaders must motivate and give direction to the organization as a whole in addition to their subordinates. The fact that Steve Jobs was able to create Apple from virtually nothing and elevate it to the status of one of the most significant businesses in the world makes important companies in the world. To most people, Jobs is a unique leader and various leadership skills could be acquired from him to inspire many people. As a leader, Steve Jobs had good leadership and management skills and he motivated his employees and showed them empathy through his focus. He demonstrated good communication styles in the workplace while at the same time maintaining cultures and solving organizational conflicts.
Jobs did not finish his college education because he believed that he was making his adopted parents to struggle financially (Isaacson 93). After quitting College, Steve Jobs confounded Apple in 1976 in his parent’s garage. He was able to establish the company and after a while, it started to flourish. By 1985, he faced a challenge when he was ousted after a fall out with his board of directors due to conflicting ideas. When Jobs finally returned to Apple in 1997, he transformed the company from producing a random array of computers into a company that only focused on the consumer and the quality of their products (Lunenburg 4). Before then, the company was producing different kinds of peripherals and versions of Macintosh but he changed the firm through his leadership skills into creating only four great products as pointed out by Mullins (146). Jobs revealed his leadership skills by being focused.
One of the most important aspects he believed in was that when it came to making a choice, deciding on what one should not do was as important as making a decision on what to do. It is true for companies to decide what not to do as well as what to do even for their products. When he was finally in control of the company, Jobs would take his top 100 employees on a retreat every year. The final phases of the retreats were the most important to him since he would ask them what they wanted to do for the following year. He would get many suggestions but would finally choose the best three (Isaacson 95). Jobs would then only focus on the three winning results and would not rest until he was ready or satisfied that they were in order or accomplished.
In order to remain focused, he pushed away all that he considered distractions and filtered them. His Zen training helped him gain his personality as well as focus as pointed out by Lunenburg(4). When families and friends wanted him to deal with their issues, he would remain focused and refuse to shift his concentration from what he considered important. He was not interested in the number of products that the company produced but rather concentrated on their greatness. This made him a different kind of a leader since he maintained his consistent focus until he died in 2011. By the time he passed on, he had built Apple into one of the most valuable companies in the world. His ideologies helped in the transformation of seven industries, amongst them being digital publishing, animated movies and personal computing (Mullins 149).
Management and Leadership of Steve Jobs
Jobs’ management skills were unconventional and his approach was not consultative; neither was it consensus as pointed out by Isaacson (98). In addition he was a high-maintenance co-worker and he demanded excellence from his workers. As a leader, he had the ability to articulate his vision and when that was joined with his sheer genius, he made the company a great one. He brought investors, staff as well as customers on a journey of accomplishment as asserted by Lunenburg (5). His career setback also helped him to improve the results of his company since he had knowledge of what he wanted his company to be like and he knew what was best to his company and workers. Although he founded the company with his high school friend Steve Wozniak, he was fired in 1985. This was due to his demanding management style which was outstandingly distinct and unexpected to his chief executive person, John Scullery. However, when he returned in 1997, he renewed its sense of purpose through his leadership and management skills.
As a leader, Jobs focused on immensity of the company; a company that was started on a few thousand dollars turned out to be a huge company. Jobs and Wozniak had invested $1300 of their own money which was turned into a fortune by 1983. In 2000, Mullins (156) points out that the company was worth $5 billion in terms of market shares which was achieved over a short period of time. Since then, the company has grown into one of the biggest publicly listed companies in the United States with a market share of more than $ 350 billion. As pointed out by Isaacson (101), Jobs is described as one of the greatest business strategist of all times. He was able to predict the future in his business setting, and he always emphasized concern on what the customers wanted.
Griffin and Moorhead (129) asserts that Jobs was taught discipline and patience since he started from scratch and in the companies he transformed such as Pixar and a computing firm NeXT, he was always in charge. All the decisions he made were his own since he did not answer to anyone. In the quest for the perfection of his company and its products, he exerted control over every aspect of the business. For instance, Lunenburg (7) points out that before he accepted the prototype of iPhone, he had discarded two of them since he was interested in perfect products. In addition, although Toy Story in his animation house struggled for four years, he was always there supporting it financially. This demonstrated discipline and patience as a leader.
Empathy in Leadership
Empathy is an important element in leadership for the success of any business as pointed out by Bel (51). Empathy is also an important component of effective relationships since it allows us to bond and trust others. Empathy has a strong link with business such as increased sales and the development of leadership at the early days. As pointed out by Lunenburg (7), empathy is significant in team building and globalization as well as retaining of talents. These elements are important for the development of any company.
Steve Jobs is such a leader because he was able to build teams and increase the number of sales for his products year after year. Although he was blamed for pushing his employees too much, he always stated that he worked with top and talented people and if that was not the case, they should have left the company. He confirmed his empathy by retaining most of his workers who toiled with commitment to make sure that the company was doing great. He recognized his staff and as pointed out by Isaacson (102), took the top 100 to a retreat every year to as a motivational response to their hard work. This made his personnel to become more committed since they were always motivated.
Communication Style in Workplace
In a workplace, the ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill since there are different environments which need to be dealt with. Every individual has a unique communication style depending on the skills learnt as well as the type of experience received over time. In order to suit a particular situation in a business environment, a leader needs to alter their behavior. This flexibility in turn makes leaders to be knowledgeable, confident as well as empathetic in dealing with others (Bel 54). In communication, a leader needs to take an active role in the process as well as connect and empathize with others for the success of a business. There is also an important aspect of taking the time to think and respond to the communication given in addition to taking a logical path.
Jobs’ communication styles were unique since he had the ability to speak with passion and always made it memorable. He focused on a single idea at a time and his messages were simplified as pointed out by Griffin and Moorhead (143). Whenever he wanted to communicate in his workplace, he would use PowerPoint slides which contained images. In order to reinforce what he was communicating, he often accompanied his messages with real life scenarios. In an attempt to make sure that his customers were also included in the communication, he demonstrated what a regular person wanted in the products and he always connected at the human level although he was a tech person (Lunenburg 8).
His communication style in the workplace made him efficient since everyone understood his message. He usually walked on stage freely and comfortably. In the company, communication also followed a strategy where the higher levels received the information first as pointed out by Mullins (163). The lower levels got information through the company website and that way, everyone was able to clearly get the message and act upon it.
Organizational culture is defined by Lunenburg (9) as a set of rules and standards which yields behavior in the entity. This is achieved through interpersonal relationships as well the leaders predicting the future and also fostering the workers to change. Organizational culture can also be defined as a collection of beliefs that is developed to maintain a standard for the current as well as future employees (Mullins 165). These beliefs and values exist for a long time and an organization is mostly directed by it. Moreover, the behavior as well as attitude of the workers is influenced by them. In order to influence job satisfaction of the employees, leaders need to adjust their behavior to accommodate everyone.
Organization culture instilled by Steve jobs was simplicity, perfection, elegance as well as innovation (Lunenburg 9). These values and cultures have guided Apple Company for a long time and they were critical to Jobs since he relied on these virtues to improve the organization. Over the years, the products of Apple have been consistently excellent due to the core values of the organization. The employees at Apple Company are joined together by common values and purpose which direct them to work. Therefore, culture within an organization is vital in making a working environment a safe and happy place to work (Griffin and Moorhead 149). Steve Jobs and Apple have proven that a strong culture in a company is core in propelling a business even at the verge of bankruptcy. Due to their strong values and beliefs, Jobs was able to transform Apple into a multi-billion dollar company.
As a leader, Jobs was not concerned with ideological conflicts in the organization but he made sure that the departments were distinct in order to avoid conflict. In his attempt to reduce the conflicts, Jobs made sure that the workers had structured jobs. He also had precautionary strategies towards conflict management. For instance, he ensured that there was good communication skills among the employees. In addition, he initiated an industry in China and Mullins(166) describes it as a perfect way to avoid conflicts amongst the employees and the management.
Effective communication in the company was an important aspect to Steve Jobs towards avoiding conflict because he understood the harm that could be caused as a result of encounter. The leader was committed towards the objectives of the company and often condemned evil activities within the organization. He also used sub-division of units in order to avoid and manage conflicts. He maintained that as a leader, understanding how various subdivisions work in reducing interconnection is important for a company is conflict management (Griffin and Moorhead 198).
Leadership as well as management skills are important for the success of any business. Through his leadership skills, Steve Jobs demonstrated how effective an organization can be with enough leadership and management skills. Using skills such as empathy and effective communication style, an organization is destined to grow. Culture of an organization is also important in defining its purpose in addition to proper conflict management skills. As pointed out by Mullins (169), a leader needs to possess good skills in order to lead the company and the employees towards a positive direction.
Bel, Roland. "Leadership and innovation: Learning from the best." Global business and organizational excellence 29.2 (2010): 47-60.
Griffin, Ricky W., and Gregory Moorhead. Organizational behavior. Cengage Learning, 2011.
Isaacson, Walter. "The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs." Harvard business review 90.4 (2012): 92-102.
Lunenburg, Fred C. "Power and leadership: an influence process." International journal of management, business, and administration 15.1 (2012): 1-9.
Mullins, Laurie J. Management and organizationalbehavior. Pearson education, 2007.
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