Leadership Styles of Steve Jobs and Terry Leahy

Category: Research

One of the characteristics of modern organizations is that they work in an environment that is challenged by globalization and technological effects. This is unlike past organizations where organizations used to compete with local organizations only. This factor has demanded great leaders who will steer organizations towards global success. These leaders are not only great leaders, but they are leaders who are capable of balancing leadership and innovation for organizational success. These leaders are also great because of their capabilities in the area of employee management and meeting customers’ expectations. Different great leaders are known to have pushed companies towards their prosperity and growth in a variety of ways and using different styles. These leaders are not concentrated in one sector, but are there in different sectors such as technology, public and consumer sector. One of the leaders who is known for his leadership role in the technology sector is Steve Jobs who despite his demise a few years ago still remains to be one of the most distinguished leaders in this sector. His leadership, which are defined by both his personality and qualities could be observed right from his childhood to the time he worked in Apple. While Steve Jobs is known in the area of technology, Terry Leahy’s legacy in the retailing sector is known and celebrated. In order to understand and learn from the leadership styles used by different great leaders, a comparison and contrast of the leadership style, impact and potential legacy Steve Jobs vs Terry Leahy is important. 

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs also known as Steven Paul was is known for his entrepreneurship and leadership in the area of technology. Jobs is known for his executive and cofounding role in Apple Inc and other organizations such as Pixar Animations students. He was also a member of other organizations such as NeXT Inc and Walt Disney. Jobs is also famous for his pioneering role in revolution of microcomputer, which he started in the 1970s together with his partners such as Steve Wozniak. From these roles, job was given the praise of being a creative entrepreneur and his perfection and passion helped in the revolutionizing of six industries, music, tablet, phones, movies and digital publishing. 

Steve’s was born and later adopted after birth in San Francisco by Paul and Clara. He was also raised in the same area by his loving and encouraging family. His liking of engineering and computers developed at a young age and was mostly inspired by his father who was a machinist. As he watched and helped his father’s job, his love for electronics and machinist job grew. His bright side also helped him as he is explained as being bright to an extent that teachers wanted him to skip him several grades in order to attend high school but his parents declined.

While in third grade, Steve is explained as having a tendency to resist authority and misbehaving, which led to his suspension a few times. However, in the fourth grade, he explains that his passion grew because one of his teachers encouraged him towards education. Back at home, Steve observed his father work as a mechanic and he could see him mold anything that he wanted. His bright side fully came out in his fourth grade and this is time, his teachers managed to make him skip some classes. 

While in the fifth grade, Steve is explained as leading a lonely life and being bullied to an extent that his parents were forced to change his school. Steve continued with his studies and later joined highs school and this is when he first met his high school friend, Fernandez and Wozniak who would later join him in some of his entrepreneurships.  His earlier friends explain Jobs as being very smart to an extent that he was unable to join some bad groups. In high school when groups mattered, Jobs was more of an outsider. 

Jobs father enrolled him in an expensive college after high school and since he spent much of his parent’s savings, he planned to drop out of school. During this time, he lived on weekly free meals and during some times, he was forced to sleep on the floor in his friend’s room. He was also forced to drop one of his courses, which he later cites as helping him in making some of his electronics because he dropped the course for some others.

It is when in high school that Steve also met his future partner and the other friends explained earlier. Later he dropped out of college and he travelled to India in order to explore his other spiritual side. From the spiritual enlightenment he got from this journey, Steve developed his work ethics. He also developed some views towards life that were very simplistic although he observed that simple was not the same as complex as it was harder. This is because it needed efforts to make his thinking both simple and hard. However, he was once cited saying it is worth it since it can help in moving mountains. 

At the age of 21 years, he and his high school friend Wozniak joined hands in order to start Apple Computers. The computers were started at his family garage and he was forced to sell his car in order to fund the new business. His friend, on the other hand was forced to sell his scientific calculator for the same purpose.  The investment is explained as being a good investment since computers during this time were not only massive, but were also expensive. In addition, most families were not able to access computers anD with these advantages, Jobs and his friends provided their customers with much friendly machines. Steve became the head of marketing while his friend became the head of technical development and with this, the new company was able to sell small and cheap consumer friendly machines. One of the models Apple II is explained as being very successful compared to the first model, which led to the increase in sales. The company the two started was later publicly traded at a market value of 1.2 billion dollars. 

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Jobs Leadership and Management Styles

Transformational leadership is based on the focus on establishment of vision, inspiration and employee motivation. They always come up with new ways of motivating their subordinates. They also use vigor and enthusiasm in order to promote the mission company's mission and enduring success. This, however, is not the case with situational leaders as they put more focus existing problems and tests instead of putting more focus on the future. Transformational leadership style is mostly adopted when the company is facing changes since it helps employees in making transition to different states. Transformational leader is named so because he/she always influences his company and subordinates and the leader also inspires and motivates them his charisma and shows real concern for his/her people. Transformational leaders also intellectually challenge followers and through this style, it is possible to encourage employees towards achievement of the highest performance levels.

A look at Jobs styles of leadership shows that he cannot be termed a transformational leader because he did not transformed people on an emotional or personal level. Steve did not care about the impact he had on others especially emotional and ethical impacts. In addition, he did not focus on meeting the needs of all people especially customers because he believed that sometimes he did not focus on his customers. This is unlike transformational leadership, which focuses more on the followers’ needs. 

As explained earlier, transformational leaders have a characteristic that shows their charisma. This was not evident in Steve Jobs since he was an overbearing dictator. Sometimes, he is explained as being very difficult to tolerate. In addition, he is known to have yelled and cursed some of his employees when he was their CEO. In fact, he is known so much for his angry tactics since he used to confront his employees. At one time, he is explained to have fired an employee and even term others as idiots. This is unlike a transformational leader who has the exclusive ability to motivate others towards doing their best and also have the ability to confront himself or herself in order to and attain the common goals. Although he had some qualities since he inspired the formation of Apple and other companies, he failed to attain all qualities of a transformational leader. He also had some common goal that he shared with his employees and this included exchanging relationship in order to provide customers and the market with the best computer products. In most cases, transformational leaders works well with teams because of the ability to motivate them and they are allowed some autonomy. However, Steve believed in telling his employees what to do and he is the ones that instituted concepts instead of allowing his subordinates to do so. He expected his subordinates to follow these concepts and meet the needs. He also set some boundaries and rules, which subordinates were expected to follow. 

While Jobs may have failed to qualify as a transformational leader, he qualified as an authentic leader. In such a style, leaders are genuine and self aware. Leaders are also self actualized meaning that they have full awareness of their strengths and weakness. In addition, they are also aware of their emotions and they tend to show who they are without hiding to their subordinates. They don’t have to sides with one side being for the public and the other being elicited in their private life. Authentic leaders also rarely hide their mistakes for some reasons like being afraid of looking weak in public or to others. They also have a realization that self actualization can never be complete and instead, is an endless journey.  Such leaders are also driven by results and mission and they have the ability of focusing more on the organization and their goals more than they focus on themselves. In most cases, jobs done by these leaders is mainly done while focusing on results and not money, ego or power.

A look at this definition shows that it completely defines Jobs. He was more result oriented and did not hide his true self to his subordinates. This is why he was considered by others as being tough and sometimes wanting results from his subordinates. He also gave his all self to the work he did. For example, in Apple, Steve worked hard to make sure that the company goals were met, which is one of the reasons why he started successful companies. 

Sir Terry Leahy

Sir Terry Leahy was born on 28 February 1956 in Belle Vale, Liverpool, Lancashire, in the UK. He was raised in End brook Road, Belle Vale. His father, a merchant Navy, was injured in the Second World War and later worked as a bookmaker to earn for his family. Leahy attended Our Lady of Assumption Primary School then later obtained a scholarship grant to go to St. Edward’s College. He later joined the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology.  Leahy is an English entrepreneur and investor, previously the Chief Executive Officer of Tesco, the largest UK retailer and the third-largest trader in the world by revenues.

Terry’s leadership style while working at Tesco was a transformational leadership style. He is explained by scholars as having the energy to raise his subordinates to higher levels of motivation and morality. Terry has also been explained as creating good communication and maintaining a vision that is clear. He has also sought higher levels of development among his followers in relation to the organization. He was also capable of inspiring confidence among his subordinates and also communicated vision while emphasizing his followers’ strengths. In addition, Terry has been explained as having the ability to arouse a collective goal and vision sense.  In fact, his leadership styles helped the company in gaining a global leadership and recognition to an extent that his departure from Tesco was not celebrated by many.

Terry also respected his followers, which included customers and employees. When in leadership, the company’s mission was value creation for customers in order to win their lifetime loyalty. This emphasized on respecting customers and providing them with equal value of services and products as their money. 

Under his leadership, Tesco also used a flat organizational hierarchy, which works well with such transformational leadership. Because of this, there were massive communication at all organizational levels at Tesco. Through such styles of leadership, the company managed to overcome the fierce competition that faced it and also managed to earn profit in the same competitive market. Before he became the CEO at Tesco, the company was not the same as it was in his leadership in form of structure and employee motivation. However, he transformed the entire company and changed the company’s business landscape. He also redirected the company’s focus and emphasized that it focus on its people if success was needed. This aspect is mainly evident in his background since he had a working class background. Terry is also explained by other scholars as having four aspects of transformational leadership, which include idealized influence, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and individualized consideration.

As explained earlier, he believed that the organization needed to value its people. Using this principle, he valued partnership not only with consumers but with others in and outside the organization. He also knew how to negotiate with people in order to attain the best solution while his conflict resolution skills were also high. He was also flexible in his dealings with his staff members and his customers and genuine in his customers’ welfare. He believed in staff development and to him, this was more of empowerment. This was brought out well by his style of not believing in hierarchies but being more inclined to an organization structure that allowed information flow. Because of these abilities, Tesco became a global leader and also managed to gain success in various ways. 

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