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Analysis of Apple Company Employees’ Preferred Leadership Traits and Leadership Styles


Apple Company background

Apple Inc. is a multinational firm that makes computers, smartphones, tablets, computer software, hardware, and commercial servers and digitally distributes material (Trivedi, 2019). Apple also has a network of physical locations known as Apple Stores, which sell Apple products and are accessible through the company’s online store.

Apple Computer was founded on April 1, 1976, by Apple co-founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Apple Inc. was formally established on January 3, 1977, in Cupertino, California. After that, Wayne decided to no longer work with the company, leaving Jobs and Wozniak as the remaining co-founders (Heracleous & Papachroni, 2013). Apple’s IPO followed this on December 12, 1980, when shares were priced at $22.00. Since the initial public offering (IPO), the stock has undergone four splits, resulting in a split-adjusted IPO share price of $0.39 (Trivedi, 2019). Currently, Tim Cook is running Apple Inc. as its chief executive officer.

Apple Inc. first focused on the American domestic market. Over the past decade, the corporation has expanded significantly into new areas outside the United States (Heracleous & Papachroni, 2013). Apple is currently among the world’s most successful multinational corporations. As a leader in the personal computer business, Apple has cornered a sizable portion of the global mobile communication market. Apple Company has tried to be competitive through the non-competitive approach to survive and control a substantial share of the worldwide PC business. Apple Computers, Inc. was launched in 1976 and had locations throughout the United States (Trivedi, 2019).

There is no doubt that strong leadership is crucial to the success of any business, and Apple has shown remarkable innovation ever since it was created. Since Steve Jobs’s passing on October 5, 2011, Tim Cook has served as Apple Inc.’s chief executive officer (Trivedi, 2019). Many people feel that Apple has lost a beloved leader in Steve Jobs, who is widely acknowledged as the guy who founded and nurtured Apple from its infancy into its current status as a global powerhouse. However, the impact of Tim Cook in collaboration with other leaders within the company cannot be ignored.

Purpose and objective of the research

The extent to which a leader is preferred by his or her subordinates determines how effective that leader’s leadership style will influence employee performance. Businesses must find and implement the most successful leadership styles to maximize productivity. This research aims to identify the most sought-after leadership qualities in the information technology industry, focusing on Apple Company. In order to determine and recommend the ideal characteristics of a leader, this qualitative study employed the Full Range Leadership Model. Purposeful sampling was employed in this study.

Questions designed to be used in interviews were the means by which data was collected. Six (6) interviewees provided information, all of whom work at Apple Company. All respondents favoured the transformational leadership style because they experienced the most benefits from the transformational leader’s characteristics. It is recommended that the management team enhance its emotional intelligence and listening abilities to ensure its leadership is top-notch.

Section B

The role of leadership in a company is essential because it creates a shared sense of purpose, drives employee engagement, and ensures that the business is on track to achieve its objectives (Delay & Clark, 2020). According to Delay and Clark (2020), effective leadership is the key to gaining others’ trust. An employee plays a key role in the company as a whole, ensuring the company’s continued success (Asrar-ul-Haq, & Kuchinke, 2016). A leader has little value to an organization unless there is someone to do the task. That’s why it’s so important for leaders to set a good example for their followers. The result will be a more enthusiastic workforce. This section will focus on discussing the perception of Apple company employees on the current leadership trait of managers at their organization.

The Full Range Leadership Model

There are three primary types of leadership described by the Full Range Leadership Model: laissez-faire, transactional, and transformational styles.

Laissez-faire leadership

Leaders that adopt a laissez-faire approach put their faith in their staff and stand back to let them do their jobs. They refrain from being overbearing in terms of management style and oversight. Instead, leaders who adopt a laissez-faire approach encourage their teams to rely on their ingenuity, expertise, and resources to succeed.

Leaders who use a laissez-faire approach find success when their teams consist of professionals who are used to working together in a collaborative setting, such as staff experts or consultants. Accordingly, teams may perform better when they set their timetables, tackle tasks without being micromanaged, and reach choices collectively rather than waiting for the CEO’s approval.

Transactional leadership

Managerial leadership, often known as transactional leadership, is a management style in which higher-ups utilize financial rewards and punishments to encourage subordinates to perform to their full potential (Saeed & Mughal, 2019). When a leader engages in transactional leadership, he or she and his or her followers engage in a two-way conversation. When subordinates carry out their duties following their superiors’ directives, they are rewarded monetarily, in the form of bonuses and promotions, and socially, with increased status (Alrowwad & Alqatawenah, 2018). Khan et al. (2018) subsequently observed that leadership studies were often framed as monetary transactions or cost-benefit analyses.

In particular, transactional leadership theories are predicated on the idea that leader-follower relationships are established via a series of trades, or more precisely, on the implicit contracts between leaders and followers (Saeed & Mughal, 2019). These clarifications point to the leader as the go-to person if the job itself or the work environment falls short of providing enough inspiration, fulfilment, or focus. Notably, these flaws can be rectified only by the leader’s actions and behaviours (Alrowwad & Alqatawenah, 2018).

Transformational leadership

Leaders who adopt a transformational leadership style inspire, motivate, and encourage their teams to make changes that will boost the company’s future prospects through innovation and creativity (Busari et al., 2019). Transformational leaders can execute novel ideas by embracing a more malleable and universal approach to influencing and perpetually bettering those around them (Atan & Mahmeed, 2019). Leaders who use this style of management focus on their employee’s personal growth and development, intending to increase everyone’s intrinsic drive. According to Busari et al. (2019) boldly, inspirational leaders try to get their teams to buy into the importance of their big-picture goals and their vision for the company’s future (Alrowwad & Alqatawenah, 2018). By providing vivid descriptions of his plans and actions and outlining his sincere personal views, a transformational leader demonstrates to his followers that he shares their values and inspires loyalty. These outcomes are possible because transformational leaders share common traits.

Transformational leaders clearly grasp their strengths and convictions and use them to guide their organizations forward (Alrowwad & Alqatawenah, 2018). People who believe in themselves and their talents are more invested in the company and more likely to stay engaged (Alqatawenah, 2018). They are highly self-motivated, enabling them to establish a feeling of organizational purpose, which influences the organization’s followers, who in turn assist in moving the company forward (Atan & Mahmeed, 2019). They are self-motivated, which allows them to see themselves as successful people who do not depend on chance. These insights into their nature enable them to affect positive change in their communities ( Busari et al., 2019).

Another quality of transformative leaders is their capacity to comprehend the people in their immediate vicinity, particularly those who report to them. Atan & Mahmeed (2019) asserts that a transformational leader is one who not only thoroughly comprehends but also thoughtfully influences and motivates his team members to fully comprehend the objectives and work together towards achieving that goal, as he helps his team members recognize the true value of what they are working for.

The perception of the employees on the current leadership traits of managers at the organization.

Employees have a favourable impression of the current leadership because they emphasize transformational leadership qualities. The features perceived, however, are viewed differently by each interviewee. Most respondents who described their leader as having a transformational management style also believed that their leader encouraged them to be more creative and problem-aware. But only one of the interviewees said the leader inspired them to commit to the vision. Also, none of the six interviewees mentioned feeling comfortable with micromanaging leaders explaining that in the Apple organization, micromanagement is rare.

Five respondents painted a picture of a leader with idealized influence, one who inspires people to look up to them and take their cues from them. This is because employees have more faith in their superiors and are, therefore, less likely to fight organizational changes (McCann $ Sparks, 2019). It agrees with Busari et al.’s conclusions that transformational leadership will cause highly motivated workers and infuse a feeling of fairness, loyalty, and trust. In a nutshell, Apple’s support personnel views its leadership as having a revolutionary approach.

A second interviewee agreed, saying their leaders emphasize individual care and idealized influence. Except for one, all those interviewed fit the profile of being intellectually stimulated by having a leader who encourages them to share ideas in an environment where leaders’ creation of a concept of a participatory approach is crucial to the organization’s success. That is to say, it promotes a culture where subordinates are encouraged to think outside the box when confronted with a challenge (DeLay $ Clark, 2020). Leaders that can inspire their teams, make bold statements about the future, and provide their employees with opportunities are invaluable to any firm.

Furthermore, another interviewee mentioned that the leader should provide a clear view of the future to their subordinates, supported by McCann & Sparks (2019), where the charismatic and visionary type of leader can inspire their subordinates for their benefit and the benefit of the organization. Atan & Mahmeed (2019) claim that individual attention occurs when individuals are treated differently and uniquely based on their knowledge and abilities, which, according to Interviewee 2 and Interviewee 5, necessitates the leader to stimulate the followers on an individual basis.

The preferences of leadership styles in the organization by the employees

Workers at Apple Inc. favoured a transformational rather than a traditional management style. As was discussed previously, transformational leaders are committed to creating an environment where employees are highly motivated by recognition and praise for their efforts. The majority of interviewees favoured this leadership style because of the positive effects it had on their lives, such as the preference’s emphasis on inspiring employees to coordinate and achieve the set objectives. They also added that they preferred leaders who ensure their teams have clear goals for the near future and know what they need to do to succeed. Last but not least, when faced with an issue, a leader takes action quickly to find and implement the best feasible solution so that output increases are preferred.

Moreover, the respondents claimed that through transformational leadership, the motivation of employees is quite high, driven by both benefits connected with productivity and a sense of belonging in the workplace. Leaders who transform their teams foster an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and is open to contributing their ideas. Interviewer X asserted that employees working for such managers maintain a high level of motivation because of the trust they place in their subordinates and the recognition they give for good work. Since they have come to expect little from their bosses, such workers tend to stick around for a while. Similarly, Interviewee Y also claimed that employees become more productive by focusing on meeting their goals and reaping the benefits. Since highly motivated workers have a shared purpose, are content with their supervisors, and consider themselves an integral part of the organization, they are less likely to conflict.

Most respondents valued leaders that exemplified idealized influence attributes like reliability and charm to inspire their teams. Others who provided input favoured leaders with inspiring motivation qualities, who could inspire their teams and provide a clear picture of the future so that workers might find purpose in their job. One other desirable quality is the ability to stimulate the mind. Leaders in today’s organizations must be in tune with their teams’ issues and be able to inspire their followers to think outside the box and provide novel solutions.

Personal leadership experience and preference for leadership styles

I have solid leadership experience gained at home, school, and work. Leadership is an aspect practised in daily activities. As a team leader in the workplace, I have experience leading and leading. In my opinion, leadership can contribute to a project’s success or failure, from the simplest to the most complex ones. Through my experience, I have learned that it is essential to develop and implement a suitable leadership style that suits the individual.

We had to work on a marketing project in four groups recently for class. We were assigned to write a 15-page paper and give a 10-minute presentation about a new product. Our project’s ultimate objective was to export the product from Belgium. I volunteered to organize the group discussion about how to divide the workload and set deadlines for each person’s contribution to the project during our periodic meetings throughout the semester. I could rapidly win over the group’s support because I was the one to initiate the discussion and already had a game plan in mind. I collected everyone’s email and set up a group inbox so we could all maintain tabs on each other’s progress and offer support outside of scheduled meetings. My colleagues and I finished the semester with a project grade of 95%.

When I was in charge, driving the team toward a common goal was my priority, which I achieved by motivating and inspiring the team. So that I may best convey the value of a proposed goal or change to the group, I have taken the time to learn about each member’s unique motivations. I carefully gave them compliments and criticisms in equal measure to boost their efficiency. When I speak to my team, they always respond because they know my actions back up my words.

As a result, I prefer the transformational leadership style from my experience as a leader and being led. I prefer this style because it has proven to be effective and productive. Those that lead in a transformational way motivate their followers to go above and beyond their expectations. Members who undergo this kind of change often assume leadership roles themselves. Leaders capable of transformation provide each person with a unique reaction that strengthens their agency and allows them to reach their full potential. Positive results from transformational leadership tend to stick around for a while.

According to Psychology Today’s analysis of available research, teams led by transformational leaders perform better and are more satisfied with their work than those led by leaders of other styles (Alqatawenah, 2018). Positive mental states are fostered, and a deeper sense of purpose in the members’ work is achieved. They get a healthy perspective on themselves and the goals they’ve set for themselves.


Based on my analysis, the Apple company’s management is effective since most of the interviewees were positive about it. However, I would make two recommendations to the company that would enhance the leadership skills: enhance their emotional intelligence, be active listeners and adopt the management style where the general manager is in charge of business units. Throughout the interview and analysis, it was noted that the majority of the employee were sensitive to how the leaders communicated and treated them. Therefore, I would recommend the management of Apple Company enhance their emotional intelligence and listening abilities to enhance their leadership skills.

Regarding emotional intelligence, I contend that effective leadership begins with a correct mindset. That mindset is founded upon an individual’s willingness to lead, to serve others. An effective leader desires the opportunity to step up to be involved in controlling not only his or her actions but the actions of those being led. This leadership attitude flows from a reasoned choice; it is a conscious decision to take on the role with all its rights and responsibilities (Hossain, 2015). Effective leaders can demonstrate a fixed purpose through natural chaos and interpersonal interactions. Such leadership is determined to ensure that personal goals are reached and, more importantly, that the group achieves its objectives and fulfils its mission (Hossain, 2015). Those who seek to lead in place must be compelled to lead no matter the personal cost.

Many of those interviewed also expressed anxiety about their leaders’ listening abilities. Leaders can’t lead successfully if they do not listen to their staff. Effective communication lines are crucial to reaching your personal and professional objectives. It takes two people to have a conversation. Leaders who are good listeners are essential for successful communication. Effective listening is at its peak when practised in its purest form. Negative effects on self-worth, confidence, and originality directly result from poor listening skills.

A second recommendation is for the company to adopt a management structure where business units are under the control of general managers. We think one factor is how challenging it is to implement the change. It requires getting past complacency, shifting authority, adjusting an incentive structure focused on individuals, and developing fresh methods of working together (Podolny & Hansen, 2020). That’s scary, especially for a corporation facing enormous external pressures. Cultivating the experts-leading-experts paradigm may be an intermediary step that can be taken even inside a business unit structure. Instead of looking for the greatest possible general manager to fill the next senior management position, consider someone with extensive experience in the field. However, true change calls for a shift to a more functional leadership structure. Most research demonstrates that the benefits could outweigh the dangers. The method has the potential to yield exceptional outcomes.


Transformational leadership is the most preferred leadership approach. This demonstrated that workers at Apple Inc., an IT company, favour leaders who are not just dynamic and imaginative but also capable of going above and beyond to serve the interests of all parties involved. It is recommended that the management team enhance its emotional intelligence and listening abilities to ensure its leadership is top-notch.


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Alrowwad, A. A., & Abualoush, S. H. (2020). Innovation and intellectual capital as intermediary variables among transformational leadership, transactional leadership, and organizational performance. Journal of Management Development.

Aschbacher, M. C., & Sablik, J. (2019). Innovative leadership style for industrial companies. Science Journal of Business and Management, 7(2), 45.

Asrar-ul-Haq, M., & Kuchinke, K., P. (2016). Impact of leadership styles on employees’ attitude towards their leader and performance: Empirical evidence from Pakistani banks. Future Business Journal, 54-64.

Atan, J. B., & Mahmood, N. (2019). The role of transformational leadership style in enhancing employees’ competency for organization performance. Management Science Letters, 9(13), 2191-2200.

Busari, A. H., Khan, S. N., Abdullah, S. M., & Mughal, Y. H. (2019). Transformational leadership style, followership, and factors of employees’ reactions towards organizational change. Journal of Asia Business Studies.

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Heracleous, L., & Papachroni, A. (2013). Strategic leadership and innovation at Apple, Inc.: Case study. London, UK: Pearson.

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Khan, S. N., Busari, A. H., Abdullah, S. M., & Mughal, Y. H. (2018). Followership moderation between the relationship of transactional leadership style and employees’ reactions towards organizational change. Polish Journal of Management Studies, 17.

McCann, J., & Sparks, B. (2019). The effects of leadership styles on innovative work behaviour and the role of locus of control in the manufacturing environment. Journal of Organizational Psychology, 19(1), 79-94. Retrieved from https://search.proquest. com/doc.view/2211266361?accountid=40705

Podolny, J., & Hansen, M. (2020). How Apple Is Organized for Innovation.

Saeed, M., & Mughal, Y. H. (2019). Role of transactional leadership style upon performance: Mediating role of culture. Journal of Managerial Sciences, 13(1), 47-57.

Trivedi, S. (2019). A Study on Development of Personal and Management Skills in Apple Inc. International Journal of Human Resource Development and Management, 9(1), 1-9.



Part A: Personal Information



Education level:

Job category:

Years employed at the organization:

Are you full-time or part-time?

PART 2 – Leadership Behaviors

  1. For employees to do their work effectively, they need to be micromanaged

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. Employees should be fully engaged in the decision-making process

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. When a challenge arises, leaders should allow workers to work out the challenge on their own

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. A good leader is someone who can offer direction without exerting undue pressure.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. Being a leader means not interfering with the tasks of those under you.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. Most of the time, if leaders want their employees to work hard toward the organization’s goals, they will need to offer them some form of financial incentive or disciplinary action.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. Most employees would appreciate the leadership that keeps them in the loop and is always on their side.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. Managers should encourage their staff to take ownership of their tasks.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. Managers should trust their employees to figure out issues on their own.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. The leader has the most weight when evaluating the team’s performance.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. Generally speaking, employees would rather have little interaction with the leader.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. People have a natural ability to do well when given responsibility.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

  1. Leaders who excel at their jobs issue instructions and explain policies.

Strongly disagree             Disagree            Neutral             Agree            Strongly agree

Part C: description of the character trait of a preferred leader

In more than 200 words, please describe the character traits you desire from your leader(s).


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