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Why Apple’s iPhone 8 Announcement Demonstrates Steve Jobs Was Actually a Good Leader

How well a team does after you are gone, is a sign a great leadership.

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BY John Eades - 12 Sep 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Everyone loves to argue about the greatest's of all time (best known as the GOAT.) In many areas, there are legitimate debates like tennis (after Rafa Nadal's latest US Open title) but there are a few that where the facts just speak for themselves. For example, Michael Jordan is the GOAT of basketball, Tom Brady is the GOAT of NFL Quarterbacks, and Steve Jobs is the GOAT of Entrepreneurs.

Jobs' brilliant innovations continue to impact us today some 6 years since his passing, with Apple's iPhone 8 Announcement and keynote (which is unbelievable in today's fast paced technological environment.) But just because he was a great entrepreneur and innovator it doesn't necessarily mean he was a good leader.

In fact, a large number of people who worked for him while he was alive used terms like; rude, insensitive, antisocial, and cruel when referring to him. While I am sure all of these had some truths, current Apple CEO Tim Cook has argued that Jobs, "matured significantly during the later part of his career."

In a recent conversation on the Follow My Lead podcast, Author of Turning the Ship Around David Marquet said something that had me changing my view of Job's being a poor leader.

"True leaders embed whatever their genius is within their company and the company sails on without them"

When you look at the facts, sure Jobs was a brilliant entrepreneur, visionary, and technician but by Marquet's definition, he is a guy who was a good leader too. He built a company that continues to do what it did when he was there and they are doing it extremely well. Apple currently has the largest market cap in the world of $815 billion. They are releasing more products year after year than ever before and they don't appear to be slowing down (new iPhone, Airbuds, iPad Pro, MacBook).

What can you learn from this?

The only way to ensure a company or team sails on without you is to focus on developing other people. At the end of the day, the best leaders or what we call Welder Leaders develop more leaders, not more followers. While it was clear Jobs didn't think about this early in his career, as he got older (and sick) he began focusing on getting the next generation of leaders at Apple ready for when he was no longer there.

"Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them." - Jobs

The earlier in your career you begin thinking about serving and empowering others to become the best version they can be, the higher the likelihood your company or team will sail on without you when you are no longer there. At the end of the day, it's the people that do this, that make an impact and create a legacy that goes well beyond their time on earth.