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A defining factor in a leader is
the way they interact with the members of their team, to foster team building as
team building can distinguish between a successful and unsuccessful leader.
According to Dubrin, there is a stack difference between a team and teamwork. A
team is a group that must rely on collaboration if each member is to experience
the optimum success. Teamwork on the other hand is the work done by a team with
a focus and commitment to accomplishing organizational goals. Developing and fostering
teamwork requires dedication and attention of leaders. For example, in the game
of soccer, the defender, striker, or goal keeper cannot hope to win a game by
working alone. They have to work together as a unit (team) to defeat the
opponent. The work they do as a unit is teamwork. In a typical work place, it
takes more than one person to deliver product and/or service to the end
customer. It usually requires a team working together to accomplish a set goal.

In certain occasions, a leader’s
character can foster teamwork. Other times it requires more of the leader to
foster teamwork (Dubrin, 2016). Team development is also highly dependent on organizational
structure. Stating the general goal of the needed team or teams will greatly
aid in establishing an organization structure. The concept will provide the
information needed to establish the proper team for completely the goal at hand
(Dubrin, 2016).

From several reported sources Steve
Jobs’ ego made him a relatively difficult leader to work for. He however
understood the importance and necessity of teamwork. This was his foundation
for creating the atrium in Pixar. After abandoning the idea of separate
structures for staff members in Pixar for a single large space in which all
staff members can interact and build relationships from working together. Basically,
driving them to communicate daily in order to develop and maintain a team
atmosphere. Jobs maintained that the best creations occurred when people from
contrasting fields were connected together, when our distinct ways of seeing
the world were brought to bear on a singular problem (Lehrer, 2011). Eventually,
this approach, way of thinking and teamwork led Pixar to become a Billion
Dollar company. In the end Steve Jobs’ thinking and basic team approach aided
in Apple’s rejuvenation.

Once asked which Apple product he
was most proud of. His response was, “you know, making a product is hard but
making a team that can continually make products is ever harder. The product
I’m most proud of is Apple and the team I built at Apple. (Big Think, 2014)”
While Steve Jobs was renowned for being hard to work with, one of his most fundamental
skills was his ability to work with and foster loyalty within his team of
experts. Jobs ultimately brought his open space idea from Pixar and promoted it
at Apple as well. He made sure the brightest minds in the building couldn’t
help but bump into each other in the halls. He truly believed so much more
could be achieved by working together in person opposes to emails or phone
calls. (Big Think, 2014) In conclusion, it would be an oversight for any leader
to forgo team building and teamwork as they are vital to the success of a leader.
Steve Jobs understood this concept very well. He actively wanted his teams
working together, side by side, promoting the best possible ideas.

Executive team

Steve Jobs gathered employees he saw fit to
make up the “top 100”, for a meeting to discuss strategy and development for
Apple. They had the most frequent contact with Steve, and the topics and
discussion points of all meetings were top secret as he shared his vision with
Apple’s next generation of leaders. According to Lashinsky, “the Top 100
meeting was a part strategy and part legacy-building exercise.” His passion for
perfection and push to work with only the best of the best made him notorious
for being rude, impatient, and tough on his employees. He wanted to work with
people just as passionate about Apple as he was. He believed that talented and knowledgeable
employees did not need to be managed as they would know full well what to do
and how to execute the task. He ultimately earned both their trust and loyalty
as Apple enjoyed low employee turnover on its executive team.

Best Practices

His three most outstanding qualities as a
leader were; an ability to, stay focused, simplify, and have a clear vision.
Using these qualities, he ensured that all employees bought into and adopted
his vision for Apple. His passion led employees to follow his leadership. Focusing
on developing a couple of products at a time, ensured that he was able to
perfect each one without rush or being overwhelmed. His focus was closely followed
by his knack for simplification and simplicity, in design meetings he drove to
always eliminate unnecessary material or steps in products. Perhaps his push to
get rid of the power button was the most shocking idea he put forward to his
team, “At one point Jobs made the simplest of all suggestions: Let’s get rid of
the on/off button. At first the team members were taken aback, but then they
realized the button was unnecessary. The device would gradually power down if
it wasn’t being used and would spring to life when reengaged. (Issacson, 2012)”
His employees stayed because they were intrigued by the endless possibility, innovation
and idea of new products.

Planning, Organizational Vision and Culture

The success of any business,
company or organization is built on an idea, a vision and a predetermined plan
to build and accomplish the vision. The predetermined plan in this case is
known as strategic planning. According to Dubrin, strategic planning can be
used to guide the overall future of a company or in its application shape
certain aspects of said business. This planning typically involves things such
as; setting a vision and choosing a direction for the company, helping advance
policies, and launching ground-breaking ideas.

Prior to his death in 2011, the
achievements of Steve Jobs’ were renowned. These achievements and successes,
catapulted Apple to become one of the most valuable companies in the world by
considering its market capitalization. Even today most leaders aspire to
achieve that which he had, while other struggle to figure out and understand
his success. From all my research into this great leader one theme is common
across the board, “Jobs was both a dynamic and controversial leader and his
success relied heavily on the genius of Jobs the innovator.” (Katzenbach, 2012)
The complexity of his leadership style cannot be overstated. He was compelling
enough to enlist countless employees and customers in the relentless pursuit of
his aspirations, intensely focused and confident enough to take risks. He was
marred by his personal flaws such as his impatience, stubbornness and overcritical
of those around him. Despite those shortcomings “Steve Jobs was, most
certainly, a willful and driven leader that was able to develop and
commercialize products and services that have changed the way many of us live.”
(Katzenbach, 2012)

His organization vision was built
on the simple idea that he wanted to be the best. Being a highly motivated
individual made the idea achievable. His groundbreaking ideas and creation were
also a trusted ally which when backed by marketing lead to his success. He had
a persuasive personality which he applied to lead many driven individuals to
follow his aspirations and chase his goals. Steve Jobs’ strategic plan was
simply to provide the world market with new products that they had never
experienced before. His ultimate goal was to be bigger and more improved than
every other company. This goal remained a pinnacle during his tenure at Apple
and also at Pixar. Finally, in my opinion Steve Jobs’ organization vision and
strategic plan were based on his personality and achievements. Jobs’ flaws and
shortcomings generated opportunities for peak performance as much as they destabilized
it. He innately understood the power of cultural influence in sustaining the
strategic plan of innovation to accomplish his goals.

In his pursuit of “A-list” talent
to meet his strategic plan, Jobs missed out on the potential contribution of many
people that could have assisted. Jobs pushed his teams to the limits, often
expecting them to reach beyond limitations. According to Katzenbach, his forward,
strong leadership style led to the development of strong people rising to
become top workers and highly driven by the pride resultant from striving to
meet his challenge. However, most times it often left the weaker feeling
needlessly frustrated and not good enough leading to the loss of good
productive people. Ultimately, not a lot of top tier leaders pay as much
attention to product and design detail as Jobs did. That was his organizational
vision. His strategic plan was to seek out the “A-listers” of his market and
provide innovation that the world had never seen before.

and Conflict Management

Problem Solving

Steve Jobs’ problem-solving
skills started when he founded Apple to eliminate the need of bulky and
huge computers. The tools, methods and strategies he used were his
extensive knowledge, his passion for innovation, and convincing personality to
build and create undoubtedly the largest and most successful computer brand
name of our time.

Steve’s invaluable technology industry
knowledge and skill with problem solving along with his idea that he could get
anyone to figure out any potential issue or problem made him push his team’s
way past their limits. He never shied away from a problem and he was
comfortable dealing with them, various articles and posts have reported him to
be confrontational and a face-to-face problem solver. He always had his ears to
the ground, seeking out new opportunities to advance product quality at Apple.
In an instance, Steve Jobs once insisted that the screens on the iPhones
required a different glass material, when some executive personnel suggested it
was impossible, he decided to have the glass company work on accomplishing that
goal, so they did. His persuasive and charismatic personality has been
described as him having a “reality distortion field” since he could persuade
and convince both himself and others to believe in his vision through sheer
persistence and determination. To Steve no was never an acceptable answer.

On the other hand, my approach to problem
solving is very much different as over time I have come to the realization that
I am a confrontational problem solver only when absolutely necessary. I avoid
calling people out unless its unavoidable. My positive attitude and outlook
encourage lateral communication as opposed to downward communication. This
positive personality allows for a stress-free work environment and that in turn
promotes creativity.

Being positive and open-minded means that I
can listen to and accept problem solving ideas when better than mine from
co-workers and team mates helping advance creativity. I’m a firm believer in
the power of the team and have always used discussion groups to facilitate
problem solving due to the diverse opinions and varying mindsets of each team
mate. At Apple, while Steve encouraged creative and innovative ideas he
ultimately believed he was right all the time. This in my opinion does not help
contribute to a stress-free work environment

Conflict Management


The competitive style of conflict management
was Steve Jobs’ choice. According to Dubrin, in competitive style of conflict
management the leader placed their own goals higher than that of the other
party, thereby winning almost all the time. A person with competitive style is
likely to engage in win-lose power struggles. Steve was known as a high
conflict person and the competitive style meant that he engaged in win-lose
power struggles. This translated to him being very difficult to work for. He
was consistent and unchanging in that he blamed others when expected results
were not meet. His rage and tantrum are typically always directed at others
with no shared blame to himself.

His focus on his goal meant that he cared
less about being liked and more about accomplishing set tasks and goals at
Apple. His unique perception allowed him to focus on the use of conflict as a
driving tool. He used “creative abrasion”, which he wrote that “Friction
between individuals and groups is typically thought of as something harmful. Creative
abrasion recognizes the positive dimensions of friction, the requisite role it
plays in making things go. Without it, engines would not work, a crucial source
of heat and electricity would be eliminated…Recognizing, marking, and
transforming pregnant moments of friction and collision into opportunities for
breakthroughs are the work of creative abrasion.” (Michelson, 2011)

conflict is almost inevitable in everyday life as well as in the working
environment having the skill and knowledge to handle the situation is important
in every leader. I handle conflict by practicing the collaborative style
approach to conflict management, this style evaluates both option and reaches a
compromise between the ideas provided. This style encourages open communication
between team mates. The interactions and outcomes at Apple would be
considerable different if Steve Jobs practiced this approach to conflict
management. He probably thought any other approach would have bred complacency
within the organization.





Think Editors. (2014). Walter Isaacson: Steve Jobs’ Favorite Product Was the
Team He Built

At Apple. Retrieved September 04,
2016, from

A. (2016). Leadership: Research, Findings, and Skills. (8th Edition). Boston,

Cengage Learning.

Michelson. 2011. One Lesson from
Steve Jobs We Missed – Embrace Conflict. Retrieved

on January 18, 2018 from

J. (2012, May 29). The Steve Jobs Way. Retrieved January 5, 2018 from

Adam (2011). How Apple Works: Inside the World’s Biggest Startup.

            Retrieved from

J. (2011). The Steve Jobs Approach to Teamwork. Retrieved December 15, 2017

Isaacson. 2012. The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs. Retrieved on January

2018 from

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