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Analysis of Leadership Style of Steve Jobs


Leadership style can be defined as a strategy employed by leaders in encouraging and directing people to attain the best of their abilities. Leaders often exhibit leadership styles in different fields, including business and politics (Isaacson, 2012). Leaders are conceptually characterized by numerous conceptual abilities, including interpersonal tact, domain knowledge, innovation, confidence, agility, and judgment. Lussier and Achua (2015) highlighted the main leadership styles, including autocratic, transactional, demographic, transformational, and laissez-faire styles. This essay focuses on Steve Jobs’ leadership style.

Steve Jobs’ leadership style

Steve Jobs’ leadership style can be described as autocratic. An autocratic leader is usually an individual who is in charge of everything. Such a leader collects all the details from the team members. More importantly, an autocratic leader acts as the one mainly responsible for decision-making in terms of ideas development and implementation (Isaacson, 2012). This leadership style is provided Steve Jos with numerous opportunities for success as a leader. For instance, Steve Jobs was reluctant to delectate any work to his subordinates as he wanted to be involved in even the finer details of the company (Katzenbach, 2012). Consequently, this enabled him to become the backbone of the company by remaining at the forefront of every new opportunity (Isaacson, 2012). As a corporate leader and CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs wore different hats in the company. Steve Jobs was aware that creativity was an effective strategy to keep people connected, and he believed in safeguarding creativity away from critiques. He achieved this by being extremely passionate about Apple Inc. In autocratic leadership, a leader establishes the structures and clearly outlines what subordinates expect (Cherry & Susman, 2020). The consequences of meeting or failing to meet the desired objectives are well-defined. The philosophy adopted by autocratic leaders like Steve Jobs is that workers are not self-motivated and have to be instructed and monitored constantly to complete their tasks (Cherry & Susman, 2020).

Specific examples of why the leadership fits Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs ‘autocratic leadership style suits him well as the CEO of a high-tech company like Apple, where speed means a lot and aggressiveness yields great results (Katzenbach, 2012). High tech firms are highly competitive, and autocratic leadership can help in making quick decisions and developing and testing new products. By being the sole decision-maker at the helm of Apple Inc. Steve Jobs managed to create highly innovative products, which immensely contributed to the company’s success (Katzenbach, 2012). Job’s autocratic leadership style also suited him well because he was highly creative, innovative, and a perfectionist. Jobs was willing to take risks and push Apple Inc. ahead of its competitors. More specifically. Jobs had the capacity to think outside the box about ways in which the company outdid those of its competitors. This made Apple develop groundbreaking inventions such as iPhone and iPod, which revolutionalized the smartphone market (Katzenbach, 2012).

Strengths and weaknesses of the leadership style

The autocratic leadership style adopted by Steve Jobs has numerous strengths and weaknesses. The main strength is its clearly defined chain of command in which subordinates are required to comply with their supervisors’ orders. In turn, supervisors are required to comply with supervisors’ orders. Therefore, an autocratic leadership style adopted by Steve Jobs has a clear corporate hierarchy in place. This means that each organizational member is aware of the boss to report to, eliminating the chances of miscommunication and messages being lost in transit. The strength of the autocratic style is that employees are always aware of what is required and the consequences of their failure to perform as expected (Lussier & Achua, 2015).

As an autocratic leader, Steve Jobs made expectations and consequences for failing to meet them clear right from the outset. This ensured that there was no grey area for employees, and this ensured always had no comfort zone. Second, autocratic leadership is the most suitable for leading inexperienced employees. A company’s employees who are largely inexperienced can most effectively be managed through autocratic leadership. Inexperienced employees mostly require hands-on guidance to learn how to effectively work within organizations (Isaacson, 2012). Working under supervisors who set all expectations from the onset makes it easier for employees to perform their tasks. Moreover, the autocratic leadership style is associated with a quick decision-making process as only the leader plans and makes decisions. Autocratic leaders do not involve their subordinates in decision-making, and this makes decision-making quicker, especially during high-stake high-pressure scenarios (Lussier & Achua, 2015). Therefore, an autocratic leader who is knowledgeable and experienced in a certain field forms the greatest wealth of an organization.

However, autocratic leadership has weaknesses, including little or no flexibility. Since the leader’s opinion is final when it comes to decision-making and strategic planning, employees may feel frustrated by failing to work in ways they feel best suit them. The absence of flexibility in companies led by autocratic leaders could discourage creativity and reduce motivation among employees. This could result in having lazy and unmotivated employees as the only individuals remaining in an organization. Autocratic leadership style may cause workers resentment (Lussier & Achua, 2015). An autocratic working environment is often unfriendly to outside-the-box thinking and innovation, which could make workers feel intellectually stifled. This could make employees feel neglected and that supervisors are uncaring of their individual needs.

Success in terms of leadership of people, resources, and teams

The immense success achieved by Apple could mostly be attributed to the leadership of Steve Jobs. More importantly, Steve Jobs was confident in his ability and understood how to handle his followers. He used to be strict with employees and often assumed to be naturally reluctant and tended to avoid work (Isaacson, 2012). As an autocratic leader, Steve Jobs achieved consistent performance by being harsh from time to time since punishment and fear are the main motivating factors to work among non-motivated followers.

Whether the leadership style would work in my company

Steve Jobs’ autocratic leadership style would work for me as I believe in the need for the leaders to have the responsibility to make decisions on their own. An autocratic leader is usually an experienced person who has undergone numerous working stages. Moreover, an autocratic leader is supposed to make decisions involving different and difficult scenarios within an organization that might be efficiently addressed by a follower (Isaacson, 2012). Autocratic leaders also believe in making decisions and tackling most of their work alone. This means that autocratic leaders are held accountable for the outcomes even when they assign some duties to subordinates. Steve Jobs understood that creativity was important in connecting and bringing followers together within one framework (Isaacson, 2012). It is for this reason, I believe the autocratic leadership style would work in my company.

Lessons learned from the leader and their applicability in my current professional career

There are numerous lessons I have learned from Steve Jobs’ autocratic leadership style. First, autocratic leaders acknowledge that leadership is a dynamic and complex process that leaders experience from time to time. The autocratic leadership style also involves encouraging groups of people to fulfill their objectives. In case the set objectives are not fulfilled within the time required, then an autocratic leader has to be strict with subordinates. I believe the immense success attained by Apple Inc. to date could be attributed to Steve Jobs’ autocratic style of leadership. If Jobs had delegated or assigned his job to his juniors, then the company’s fate would have been different. From Steve Jobs’ leadership style, I have also learned how a great passion for work can help achieve success. Steve Jobs was not afraid of thinking outside the box, as this enabled him to be successful.


An organization cannot sail in the right direction without a proper leadership style. A leader has to lead by example, going by Steve Jobs’ example. By analyzing the leadership style of Steve Jobs, I agree that he had to be strict with his employees, and his leadership would have worked in my organization as I believe in the need for leaders to be experienced and responsible for their actions.


Cherry, K., & Susman, D. (2020). Autocratic Leadership: Key Characteristics, Strengths, and Weaknesses of Autocratic Leadership. Disponibil la https://www. verywellmind. com/what-is-autocratic-leadership-2795314, accesat la data de12, 2021.

Isaacson, W. (2012). The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs. Harvard business review90(4), 92-102.

Katzenbach, J. (2012). The Steve Jobs Way. strategy+ business.

Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2015). Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development. Cengage learning.


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