An unusual yet highly successful CEO, Steve Jobs set an entirely new precedent for leadership which has become something of a legacy. Many critiqued his stubborn and arrogant nature, but the results speak for themselves – there’s no denying that Jobs commanded the utmost respect from all who encountered him as he carved a new path for technology and entrepreneurship.
He expected greatness from everyone
Jobs saw the potential for greatness in everyone who worked with him, no matter what their role was, and made it his business to maximise his employees’ potential as much as possible by never expecting anything less than brilliance. As a result, he found that colleagues usually strived to live up to his very high expectations, and achieved greater results than they had thought possible.
He wasn't afraid to ask if he didn’t know the answer
When Jobs wasn’t clear about something, he had no qualms about admitting he didn’t get it. This leadership style requires the self-confidence to admit limits in one’s own knowledge, and an openness to learning from people in all different fields. Furthermore, by cultivating a work environment where its okay to accept that you don’t know something, Jobs inadvertently gave his employees permission to ask questions and learn from each other too.
He paid great attention to detail
One of the things that makes Apple stand out from the crowd above all else is the fantastically fine-tuned details; from the authentic Italian flagstones used in Apple Stores to the precise design of the the title bars on top of windows and files. Of course, this is all down to Jobs, who instilled this careful precision in every aspect of his business, and believed that everyone should share his obsessive attention to detail. Famously, Jobs phoned up Google’s Vic Gundrota on a Sunday with an ‘urgent’ issue; the ‘o’ in ‘Google’ on the iPhone wasn’t the right shade of yellow.
He listened to other people’s opinions
One of Job’s greatest leadership qualities was his humility and willingness to take on board what his colleagues and employees said. He was strong willed and stubborn at times, yes, but unlike many other CEO’s he was always open to different points of view.
He did his research and was firm in his ideas
Photographer Doug Menuez recently talked about what it was like to work under Steve Jobs, and concluded that one of the reasons the genius entrepreneur was so successful was that before proposing anything he’d always done his homework and was confident in his idea. If employees took the same confident and considered approach as Jobs they might have been able to persuade him, but if they backed down and faltered they didn’t stand a chance.
He encouraged strict accountability
Jobs retained control by forging an office culture of personal responsibility for tasks at all levels, meeting with executives every Monday. The agenda was to run through every single product currently being designed and developed, meaning Jobs could keep a firm grasp on exactly who was doing what at every step, and therefore root out any problems early.
He was always one step ahead
Jobs was a compulsive innovator, always pushing the boundaries and striving for new levels that other companies couldn’t even comprehend. The first iPhone entirely broke the mould for previously smart phones, as did the App Store, iTunes and the concept of cloud storage.