Celebrity Leadership – What do Steve Jobs, Martin Johnson and John Terry have in common?

Part 1: Steve Jobs
More Catch up in my hotel room in Mumbai – can’t sleep.
They all got to the top!! A basic problem is that we humans need very different behaviours, characteristics and conscience to have the talent to get to the top compared with being a great leader once at the top. And no theory has come close to working out how we get the right people to the top!
I don’t know Steve, Martin (England Rugby Team Manager) or John (England Football Captain) personally or their organisations intimately so my views are my intuition from which I will try to eliminate bias and prejudice.

Steve Jobs is really interesting. The most successful leader of a technology company in his generation if we measure it by the performance of the company while he was in power. But there was no question that he had many failings too, especially in his behaviour towards others. From where I am coming from on my views about how leaders should lead, he is a nuisance – he gets in the way of my theories. I don’t want people like him to be successful because too many people will try to be like him – and fail!!
In a way I think he epitomises the best and worst of the hero leader. He has something exceptional that cannot be duplicated or learned – and fundamentally most people would not want to BE like him (he had some bizarre habits) – just SUCCEED like him. But that won’t work. I think Steve Jobs was so very good in his vision and inspiration and determination that design should rule engineering, that his significant behavioural weaknesses were accepted. Most of us can’t get away with it.
The biggest question mark about his leadership though will be the legacy and the sustainability of the organisation. He already left Apple once (thrown out) and it almost went into bankruptcy in his void. Has he learned from that experience? Is Tim Cook the man and even if he is, will that be because SJ planned it that way? What will the new leader have to do to make the best people want to stay at Apple?
Finally, just imagine what kind of leader Steve jobs would have been if he had had a little more humility and empathy. Would he have been even more successful … or not?

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