Leadership and Steve Jobs
December 1st, 2014
Leadership is the process of inspiring others to work hard and accomplish important goals, (Schermerhorn, 258). When we refer to a leader, we do not only look at the aspects in which he inspires others. We also focus on the capacity of the leader to have a vision. This concept is better known as visionary leadership. Visionary leadership is what brings to any situation a clear sense of the future and an understanding of how to get there, (Schermerhorn, 262). Leaders who possess this vision usually have other attributes which aid for the implementation of well-structured and finalized tasks. Some of these characteristics are: drive, self-confidence, creativity, cognitive ability, honesty and integrity.
While developing this topic of leadership, we also took a look at what types of leaders exist and what their characteristics are. As a result, we found that leaders can be: human relations leader, democratic leader, and autocratic leader. First, a human relations leader is someone who emphasizes people over task. This type of leader makes sure that employees are emotionally and socially well while completing their tasks. On the other hand, a democratic leader encourages participation among employees with an emphasis on task and people. This type of leader believes that there should always be a balance between work, and the relationships among employees. When this balance is on the right level, employees are most likely to follow through with the tasks a leader assigns. The opposite of both human relations and democratic leader is an autocratic leader. An autocratic leader acts in an unilateral command-and-control fashion (Schermerhorn, 263). This type of leader is closed off emotional and socials connections and well being of the employees. This type of leader believes that if employees are assign a structured task with very specific instructions, there will less room for errors or failure to complete the task. In other words, the less interaction between employees and managers and the less say employees have, the more employees will complete their tasks efficiently and effectively.
In this paper, we will study the leadership characteristics found in Steve Jobs. We will focus on his autocratic leadership style, and how this can be further explained through his work at Apple Inc. For this analysis we will use the White and Lippitt leadership model, which further supports the concept of autocratic leadership. We will also implement an alternative solution through the "Fiedler's contingency model." After, we will conclude our analysis on leadership with a recap of Steve Jobs and his legacy as a leader. White and Lippitt Leadership Theory
Lewin, Lippitt, and White first described this leadership style in 1938. They constructed an experiment where boys at the decision-making club were led by adults who acted one of the following three ways: autocratic, democratic, and laissez faire. Autocratic leader told the boys to follow his or her decision. The leader sometimes praised or blamed them without any comments for completing the task in an instructed manner. The democratic leader discussed the situation with the boys and let them make their own decisions. Laissez faire leader minimized involvement in the boy’s decision-making process. The purpose of this study was to see completion of tasks by subordinates depending on the type of leader they were assigned.
At the end of the study, boys with the autocratic leader were more submissive and finished the most work. Boys who followed the democratic leader came up with the best idea out of the three groups because it was a more work-people environment. Laissez faire group had the least work done because they were left at free-will and this resulted in an inefficient application of leadership.
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