Steve Jobs is the co-founder of Apple Computer. Known for his quality as a visionary and staunch believer aiming always for the highest standard in every business and project that he handles, he is also known as a leader who gives harsh criticisms to his subordinates whenever they fail to meet up to his expectations. Yet, inspite of this negative impression on his style of leadership he gains cult followers from his employees and customers alike. In this light, there used to be a debate regarding his ‘reality-distortion field’ style of leadership will emerge effective during the times of well-balance economic atmosphere. The reason for this is the fact that his leadership stands well on a harsh environment where perfection and ability to sway people to come with his perception of how thing should and ought to work is much appreciated. But recent developments in the field of Information Technology, his company Apple Computer is leading the pact, and more than that his other projects like his ventures in animated films is proven to be successful. There is a question now of what is the true nature of Steve Jobs leadership style.
1. Using the Michigan studies framework, describe the leader behavior of Steve Jobs. Is he likely to be an effective leader? Why or why not?
Though Steve Jobs is a charismatic and visionary leader, if we will base his leadership behavior according to what the Michigan studies framework discovered, his type of being the man on the reign can be described as production oriented.
If we would follow the history of how Steve Jobs is catapulted to the few and chosen leaders that dominate the present state of Information Technology industry, his main concern really is not to hone people or develop a cordial relationship with them. What drives this man to his success is the fact that he is production driven.
What production driven here means is the fact that what he want to pursue in every project that he is involved in is high standard in the production of whatever product he is creating or building. In his company Apple Computer, the image and efficiency (also the class and style) of all its products is built on the notion that it (the product) should be the best of the best in the market any consumer can hold on. It is not a surprise that series of Mac notebook and Apple personal computer in general is seen as the Jaguar of personal computer because of this.
Steve Jobs is very keen and particular with the product that he comes up with and along this line is where his leadership behavior falls. He seems mad and a harsh critic in front of his subordinates, but this outburst of anger of what-ever-you-may-call-it is directed primarily to conform to the standard that he has set for every product that he creates.
For this reason we can say that he is an effective leader in bringing out the best in each and every one of his employees. The reason for this is the fact that his employees avoid being berated by Steve Jobs for a mediocre work so what they do is they do their best.
2. A manager who has very high expectations can be most effective in what types of situation? Use path-goal theory to explain your answer.
Probably the best situation where a manager, who has very high expectation, can be effective is during the time of crisis. Explaining this using path-goal theory is very simple to illustrate.
Given that the pervading atmosphere in the industry is stark and harsh, yet a manager still has a very high expectation from his subordinates, this can be done by simple steps that is inherent in a leader with a path-goal orientation. Since this leadership theory is simple yet very effective in making one’s subordinate work a way to solve things up, the expectation that is set at the onset of a project can be best dealt with even in times of hardship and challenges.
First and foremost, what is does this mean? The manager who has a very high expectation can pave the way or path on where his subordinates should go. Second, he will remove any obvious obstacles that come along the path of achieving the goal. And lastly, the manager so that his expectation can be met accordingly, will use the trick of “increasing the reward along the route” (“Path-goal Theory,” n.d.) as the project is underway.
If a manager will do these simple, yet effective, steps to reach his high expectation then even if the environment is harsh or not conducive for the product or the service, achieving the goal is still highly possible.
Based on your answer to the previous question do you expect Steve Jobs to be an
effective manager at Pixar and Apple? Explain.
The answer to the question is obvious and already discussed indirectly in the case study. Yes, of course. Steve Jobs will be an effective manager at Pixar and Apple and he is already. This can be seen at the result of the numerous successes of Pixar in releasing animated movies like Finding Nemo, The Incredibles etc. Apple on the other hand is already an established computer brand that I will repeat it again that it is already tagged as the Jaguar in the field of personal computing.
All of these successes if one will study where these companies come from and what type of a leader Steve Jobs is are achieved during the times when the market is shaky if not harsh for the product itself to attain its importance and credibility.
Since we talk about Steve Jobs as a visionary and charismatic leader, he simply set the direction as to where and what path his subordinates should follow. Like a very effective captain, Steve Jobs stirs his ships and tells his men where and how to get there.
“Path-goal Theory,” (n.d.). changingminds. Retrieved on November 18, 2008 from http://www.changeminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/path_goal_leadership.htm