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Leadership Qualities of Steve Jobs

Leadership Qualities of Steve Jobs
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  • 0:03 Steve Jobs
  • 0:55 Leadership Qualities
  • 4:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

If you're looking for lessons in leadership, you couldn't do much better than a peek at the life of Steve Jobs. In this lesson, you'll learn more about some of the qualities and traits that made him an innovative leader.

Steve Jobs

Let's say you wake up at 5 a.m. for your workout before heading off to the office. Most mornings, you listen to upbeat pop music while you exercise, but today rock music sounds more intriguing. With the push of a button, you can access thousands of songs to match your mood, all without having to carry multiple devices or CDs.

The innovator behind this simplified music-on-the-go phenomenon was Steve Jobs, whose iPod transformed the way we incorporate music into our everyday lives.

Jobs was first and foremost a successful innovator, or someone whose products changed the way live, work, and play. However, it was his leadership qualities that made people want to follow him and work on projects that could benefit the world.

In this lesson, we'll examine some of the leadership qualities of the man who led Apple to greatness.

Leadership Qualities

Jobs' leadership wasn't without struggle. He famously had a falling out with Apple in the mid-1980s that caused him to leave the company. In addition, some of Apple's early projects failed. Mistakes were made. Yet through it all, these leadership traits help shape the success his companies enjoy, even after his death.

1. Focus

Jobs' ability to focus on getting fewer projects done helped to propel Apple to the successful brand it is today. When Jobs went back to Apple in the late 1990s, he was shocked to find the company was making more than a dozen Macintosh versions and a wide variety of other products. He helped the team focus on a smaller product line, which is a hallmark of the brand today.

Go into any Apple store and you'll find a sleek interior with long tables featuring a minimal amount of products. Why? Because Jobs' vision was to identify a need and then command all energy and development into making a product that fulfilled the need. It gives people a singular goal to work toward achieving.

'People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on,' Jobs once said. 'But, that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.'

2. Adaptability

Jobs has said he learned some of his best lessons about being adaptable, or being able to handle abrupt changes, when he was fired from Apple in 1985. He used that time to adapt not only his personal skills but his professional ones to become a better person and leader.

During his final stint with Apple, Jobs was noted for being a difficult boss, with little care or empathy for his employees. That was a big reason for his termination. In a speech at Stanford University in 2005, Jobs said, however, that being fired was the best thing that ever happened to him.

'The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life,' he said.

During that period, Jobs founded his own computer company called NeXT and invested in a little computer animation company called Pixar, which he later sold to Disney for $7.4 billion.

3. Vision

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