Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s Leadership Style, characteristics, personality traits, qualities & More

Steve Jobs is one of the most influential and successful business moguls of all time. 

He was behind the most successful technological brand Apple with revenue of $327 billion. 

The co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs was known for his consistent innovation and visionary ideas. 

His leadership style is something worth digging in, assess and decode what traits and qualities made him found the largest tech giant brand in the world. 

He was definitely infamous for things like being impatient, high expectations, and obsessive passion towards his company. 

So here we go further to decode his personality, his traits, qualities, and leadership style as well. 

Steve Jobs’s Leadership Style & Personality Traits 

steve jobs leadership style

He was Innovative 

Steve Jobs and his entire team were completely independent and strived to come up with revolutionary products. 

Innovation was, in fact, the key component that stood out with the idea that Steve Jobs presented in the initial days. 

He never feels accomplished, always on edge to push things further down the road to make them better. 

It won’t be wrong to say that innovation was the key to success for APPLE. 

He was the first to come up with the unique idea of having an interface where an end-user can see the computer’s operation. He also thought of having a screen and keyboard as one unit. 

He was the one to bring utter simplicity and an easy-to-understand user interface with faster navigation to the computers. 

And then, one by one, innovations started adding up to what you see Apple products today. Still, Apple innovates with its products. 

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

He had an insatiable hunger to keep doing things and foolishness to innovate and come up with seemingly crazy ideas. 

That’s where his famous lines, also his belief  “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish ” came from. 

The “stay hungry” means one must never get satisfied with what they have at the current moment; always aim to achieve better. 

“Stay Foolish” tells about how one should be foolish enough to try more new things in life, learn and learn more to be better. 

This was also the very thought that makes Steve more interested in innovation as he is hungry to do more and foolish enough to seek new. 

He was A Wonderful Thinker 

There have been many entrepreneurs in history who also were great thinkers, offering the world the wisdom gained in their journey. 

Steve Jobs also was one of the most notable thinkers of all time, the entrepreneur. 

His thoughtfulness comes from his idea of exploration and deep-rooted interest in spiritualism. 

He always knew that people were afraid of new ideas, and even with everything around them, they are far from the vision he could see for the world. 

He was a showman and knew exactly how to demonstrate new ideas and thoughts to the world. 

The Ideology Of “Nothing is impossible.” 

Steve jobs, overall, romanticized the idea that “nothing is impossible”. He truly believed that impossible things are things that haven’t been done yet. 

His ideology says that just because someone has been successful or tried it yet, it doesn’t mean one cannot. 

According to Jobs, when a person creates an illusion of knowing everything, he paralyzes his growth by losing opportunities to learn something new. 

It is better to be down to earth and always feel that you have a lot to learn yet. 

He wasn’t much Friendly with Media 

Steve Jobs wasn’t really much of a media person. He was certainly not one of those personalities, one would count among the most down-to-earth and amiable. 

He wasn’t very cooperative when it came to media interaction because he wanted to control the image of Apple in public. 

That’s why he preferred to himself be the advocate of the company for the launches or anything that comes out from the company in the public records. 

Apple even sued Nicholas Ciarelli for his blog written on revealing some secrets about Apple’s upcoming products. 

He was a Zen Follower 

Steve came to know about his biological parents only late in his childhood, and that’s from his adoptive parents only. 

It was something that always bothered Steve Jobs and disturbed him from his core. He lost his peace of mind and became restless. 

That’s when he decided to become a follower of Zen so he could attain peace. In fact, peace of mind is something that truly matters to Steve since his childhood only. 

After his long tenure working in the tech industry, he traveled to India for 7 months in the quest for spiritual enlightenment. 

He was interested in spiritualism and felt more inclined toward meditation. Steve Jobs even liked to walk barefoot. 

He was a Serial Reformer 

If one really looks at the life of Steve Jobs, his journey from a college dropout to the founder of Apple and further raising the empire, he certainly appears as a reformer. 

He always has been. Steve Jobs never invented anything; he instead utilized the existing concepts fused with his unique vision and ideas. 

He reformed the way people think about things, and that’s how Apple computers, MAC, were born in the first place. 

In fact, Bill Gates already had a concept of a visual-based operating system from Xerox which was called XerodPARC. 

Steve Jobs had that and reformed its core principle with his ideas with tons of enhancement to meet his vision. 

He believed that good artists copy, and great artists steal. He was indeed very confident in his approach. 

This was the first big example of how he is a reformer, but even after he was kicked out of his own company, he again reformed PIXAR and made it a huge success along with a new company NEXT. 

Failure Never Stopped Him 

Steve Jobs always believed that the path to achieving greatness comes with several stops of failure. 

When Apple started growing as a company, he appointed John Sculley. At the board meeting, Steve was kicked out of his own company which he had founded. 

This must be so devastating, but it didn’t stop Steve from moving further. Rather it became a nexus point for him to grow even further and better. 

After he was kicked out from Apple, he started a company called NEXT and also jump-started PIXAR with extensive financial backup and vision, which, further down the line, became highly successful. 

When Apple purchased NEXT stocks, Steve Jobs was back to Apple, where the combination of NEXT hardware along with Apple resulted in achieving operating systems like IOS on which the iPhone works. 

This persistence, perseverance, and act of not giving up is certainly the core part of Steve Jobs’ personality. 

He was a Perfectionist 

Steve Jobs was known for being obsessed with every single detail of things done in his company or team. 

Everything must be done according to him perfectly, down to the very small detail of it.  

There were certain expectations that needed to be met with him, and he demanded them from his engineers, designers, and other employees. 

One of the most prominent examples known to be is  :  

Steve Jobs once rejected the IPOD prototype of hardware on the basis of its weight. Engineers told him that it is impossible to reduce the weight or make it small.

He dropped the iPod in the aquarium, where as soon as it touched the bottom, bubbles started floating to the top. 

He said to the engineers that unless there is space for air in there, they can still make it smaller. 

He was Narcissist 

Narcissism has to be one of the most crucial and defining parts of Steve Jobs’s personality. 

He wasn’t really known as a caring person or someone who had a great love for others but rather for himself and his company. 

In fact, there are some personality and behavior traits he shows that mark him in the same light. 

Like he used to park his car in the reserved section dedicated to the handicapped. He was also not very good at following rules. 

He hardly listens to people, and it is something many of his co-workers and employees share. 

He believes everything happens for a reason  

Steve strongly believed that everything one learns in his life contributes further down the line in one way or another. 

All you need to do is develop a sense of confidence in the work you are doing. Steve put it as connecting all the dots. 

But he also says one can only connect the dot by looking back at what happened over the years and seeing what happened and why. 

You can actually notice how everything that happened to you contributed to your success. 

Steve also believes if he hadn’t dropped out of college, he wouldn’t have entered the Calligraphy class, and it could never have become the reason for extraordinary typography in Apple products. 

Anything that might seem unusual or unnecessary at the moment will be a contributing factor for you to learn something, grow or get successful. 

He Always Had A Strong & Clear Vision in His Life

Steve Jobs never believed in the rudimentary beliefs or the dogma of beliefs of the people.  

In his opinion, people have very limited time in their life that shouldn’t be wasted in order to live up to someone’s expectations. 

Steve advocates the idea of following one’s inner voice toward the vision the person has in their mind. 

Such believers always tend to have a strong mind with a clear vision regarding what they seek. 

This is something reflected in Steve jobs’ personality at a very early age. He knew that he wanted to do something really great and big in the world. 

Over time, he developed a sense of clarity on his goals and vision, knowing exactly what he wanted.

He Believed In Secrecy 

Steve Jobs believed in secrecy when it came to his corporation Apple. According to the restriction that prevails in the walls, Apple Inc is not supposed to be out in the world. 

The coding programmers in Apple are not allowed to actually see the final product. 

All the product design and development groups are broken into further groups to work on particular areas separately. 

So, they couldn’t know what exactly they were working on, and the secret stayed inside until the launch. 

People in the company were also fired without any prior notice as they were sharing any sort of details of the company’s inside information with anyone outside. 

He was not A Philanthropist

Steve Jobs, in the earlier years of Apple Inc, always avoided all those programs of the company that were related to philanthropy. 

It was added considering a particular stage when the company will gain enough profit to run the philanthropic programs. 

Apple definitely became a huge success, but despite it, the philanthropic programs in the company never got to action. 

Steve Jobs’s Leadership Qualities  

steve jobs leadership style

Clear Vision 

One of the most powerful leadership qualities is the clarity of vision of the leaders. 

Steve Jobs, just like other innovative entrepreneurs, wasn’t just going to create something that already existed. 

Clear vision in this case, becomes even more important that needs to be communicated to everyone who is potentially interested in the idea. 

Before even the word ‘personal computers’ existed, Steve Jobs envisioned a world with personal computers and their potential advantages and applications. 

Obsessions Towards Customers 

One of the very highlights of Steve Jobs’ leadership and business style is his obsession with customer service. 

One of his quotes talks about getting closer than one can ever get to your customers. 

According to him, brands have to get so close to their customer that they can tell them what product they need before they even realize it. 

It definitely came out as one of the success factors for Apple as they were spot on with what customer requires or would require. 

Invent To Simplify 

One of the recurring qualities that have been seen in the leadership and management style of Steve jobs is his admiration for invention. 

He himself owns or co-inventor of around 241 patents, amongst which some of his ideas are the iPod (2001), iOS(2007), and magic mouse (2009). 

The idea he strongly follows, and actually the idea behind Apple as well. Is to innovate something and then simplify it. 

Apple never believed in complicating things. Their design to their user interface, their machinery to their fonts used in software, everything is very simple and yet brilliant. 

Steve Jobs always believed in making things easier for people. Innovate that can change people’s lives for good. 

That is very much also reflected in his leadership style and what he expects from his employees and team members. 

Get The Best Hired For The Job 

Steve Jobs once said in an interview that the greatest people are always self-managing and are not required to be managed. 

So, he certainly didn’t believe in micro-managing his team members or employees. 

He was definitely extra careful and critically picky with hiring the best employees as per the requirement. 

Hiring the best and then developing them further was his ideology about what was called least to be ‘people managing’. 

Not to confuse with the fact that he was particularly accurate with the things he wanted, so he was a perfectionist and wanted specific things from his employees.

Still, he gave ultimate freedom to the people as he believed that they knew the best way to get what one is hired for. 

He even went on to say that it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; rather, they are hired to be asked what to do. 

Deliver Results 

Apple is known to be delivering results in the world, and Steve Jobs is certainly the man behind it. 

The company is reported to be the most valuable technology company in the world, with a revenue of $327 billion as of 2020. 

It is a transformational brand in the world that adopted the concept of personal computing and brought it to the end-user. 

Apple has a doughnut-shaped headquarters in Cupertino, California, with a value of $4.17 billion, one of the most expensive buildings in the world. 

All of this comes from the leadership quality of Steve jobs, that were very particular and adamant about bringing results. 

Focus 

Focus is a personality trait as well as a leadership quality that played an integral role in the entrepreneurial journey of Steve jobs. 

The only focus in the life of Steve Jobs was to make Apple great. He had the ability to be selective with his tasks and do what was of utmost priority or needed at all. 

Again, everything he has done or done was to propel the company to the next step. And that’s why Apple is where it is today. 

He focussed on very few products in Apple, too, preferably one at a time. The first thing he did after rejoining Apple in the late 90s was scrapping all the useless products that were in development. 

He focused on very few but the best products in apple and made them perfect, and that’s what Steve Jobs was all about focus, simplicity, and perfection. 


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