Steve Jobs’ Leadership Style And Apple’s Success


A big part of being a leader is anticipating and being ready to face unforeseen situations. However, what matters is the skills and creativity of people. A leader’s flexible mindset is far more important than any rigorous technique or philosophy. Leadership is a very responsible business and often means influence and recognition. Not everyone can decide on this because the leader is responsible for his actions more than any person: not only his success but also the success of the whole team depends on his decisions. Steve Jobs’ general approach to leadership can be summarized as authoritarian. As an effective leader, he was meticulous in detail and surrounded himself with like-minded people who followed his example.


Jobs believed that to achieve great success and revolutionize the world. One must learn to prioritize at the intersection of technology and the humanities because that is how the best ideas are born. His creative awareness and meticulous attention to detail have been the driving force behind Apple’s success. What has made Apple such a prominent brand among high-growth tech companies is its simplicity, which is the main driving force behind the brand. However, Jobs was not only known for his artistic perfectionism; moreover, he was a man of his ‘people’ (his colleagues), a hard worker, and a creative person who deeply loved and appreciated his work (Ghaffari et al., 2019). The Apple leader was an entrepreneur who continued to inspire generations of business people long after his death.

In terms of academic leadership styles, Steve Jobs’ approach is best defined as autocratic. He had a way or a significant approach to leadership and felt responsible for the decisions and direction of his team (Muenjohn et al., 2018). He knew he was in charge and did not need to rely on the cooperation and input of his team to move forward. Jobs believed that work becomes more efficient and effective when the leader makes all the choices.

Steve Jobs is often cited as the epitome of authoritarian leadership, much of which stems from his high expectations. The leader set a high model for the people who worked under him and was known for being ruthless at best. For Apple to succeed, Jobs knew his team had to succeed. As such, he was unwilling to compromise his expectations. Employees often had to work long hours, abandon ideas in response to negative feedback, and endure harsh criticism (Gurman, 2022). There are many legends about how he fired interns after sharing elevator rides, but none of them has been conclusively proven (Whitehead & Peckham, 2022). Jobs was extremely impatient and wanted his employees to take action immediately: he wanted them to work hard — and work hard now.

Leader Focus

Innovation was a top development priority for Jobs, who spent his entire life striving to change the world. Steve Jobs changed not only technology but also the world, which is what he wanted to do. Jobs was a true innovator and had a very specific vision for the future of Apple. He reportedly saw the future with a computer on every worker’s desk (he was just around the corner) and relentlessly pursued that vision. Thus, he had some of the qualities of transformational leadership as you define and implement change. Jobs wanted to improve things, not accept them for what they were. Apple revolutionized the world of personal devices by introducing the Macintosh in 1984 (Gallagher, 2022). Currently, Apple is a global leader in innovation with iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and Apple TVs (Apple). Apple’s four software platforms — macOS, iOS, tvOS watchOS, and — ensure that all Apple devices work seamlessly together and provide users with unique experiences, including Apple Pay, Apple Music, App Store, and iCloud (Apple). Apple members are still devoted to creating the best products and helping make the world a better place than before.

There is an opinion that the work of Steve Jobs at Apple before his dismissal left much to be desired. However, when he returned, it turned out that he could not be wrong, and in the end, he helped the company find a new direction and purpose. Each new product released, while not necessarily innovative, responded to the needs and desires of the target market. Devices such as the iPod took the company in a unique direction as a personal computer company (Gallagher, 2022). Apple took the competition by surprise, and they struggled to catch up to compete (Edwards, 2019). Apple eventually got to the point where they were ahead of the game and dictating the rules, not just owning a small corner of the computer market.

During Jobs’ absence from Apple, the operating system and hardware design were licensed to third parties. It allowed Mac clones to be sold at a lower price than those supplied by the Cupertino company (Dormehl, 2022). However, Jobs was not satisfied with this and believed that it weakened the brand and introduced instability (Gallagher, 2022). His leading theory was that by keeping the product line and the operating system closed to outside companies, the company could maintain a high-quality standard. Thanks to the tenacity and perseverance of Steve Jobs, as well as his commitment to one idea, Apple is still one of the leading businesses in the world.

It is said that Jobs’ management style was complex. He was extremely focused on his projects and was so charismatic that he was able to inspire many of the staff (Malahat, 2022). However, according to various sources, Jobs behaved immaturely even in adulthood: impatient, stubborn, overly critical, and sometimes angry (Isaacson, 2021). Although biographer Isaacson describes Steve Jobs as the greatest manager of our time, Katzenbach adds that he was also capricious, demanding, and autocratic (Isaacson, 2021). It would seem that the leader of Apple does not have almost any of the qualities of a successful leader that scientists describe. However, Steve Jobs understood better than most leaders how significant cultural influence is to a company’s success. With Apple, he wanted to build a sustainable company where people are interested in making great products and will keep it going for a generation or two (Isaacson, 2021). The next few decades showed whether Apple could last that long.

Opinion and Commentary

Jobs’ ability to focus was accompanied by a kindred instinct to simplify things by focusing on their essence and removing unnecessary components. “Simplicity is the ultimate in sophistication,” stated Apple’s first marketing brochure (Apple). It is impressive that he still professes the same principles years later. The right motivation and love for your work allow you not only to develop in world markets but also to stay afloat for many decades. It is hard to find significant changes in Steve’s core principles other than he’s getting better and better at using them. Jobs was one of the first to understand that to succeed in today’s world, it is necessary to combine creativity and technology. Many who worked at Apple and directly with Jobs personally learned a lot from him regarding product development and marketing.

Steve admitted that in his life, there were both failures and actions that caused regret. But the ability to learn from life lessons and ‘take a hit’ is the mark of successful people. Thus, Jobs managed to regain his position thanks to perseverance and self-confidence. Half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the masses is persistence, and the only way to do great work is to love it (Haden, 2019). In addition to the qualities listed above, decisiveness and audacity of Steve are worth noting. He often took risks, doing things that other, more prudent people would not dare, for which he received proper lessons from life.

A memorable product name guarantees at least notoriety. It happened with a photocopier, diapers, sneakers, and adhesive tape – the brand name has become a household name. However, for these companies, successful naming eventually turned into a problem: a name that has passed into common use loses legal protection and ceases to be a trademark. Apple managed to find a happy medium. There is a mobile phone – and there is an iPhone, there is a tablet – and there is an iPad, there is a player – and there is an iPod. Apple has succeeded in creating services for its customers. The corporation has AppleStore, IOS, iTunes, and much more (Apple). In addition, all products are compatible with each other – and officially incompatible with products from other companies (but for artisans, of course, nothing is impossible).

Many other well-known companies have made attempts to poach Apple users more than once. For example, Microsoft and Blackberry in the mid-10s also began to change Apple gadgets for their products, but the majority of brand adherents remained faithful to the brand (Edwards, 2019). Moreover, in 2013 the company launched a trade project for the exchange of used Apple equipment for new models (Edwards, 2019). The essence of the project is not to let go of loyal users but to create special conditions for them (or their visibility). The company has built its marketing in such a way that the buyer has the illusion of elitism within walking distance. Ordinary people advertise the brand, but they convey the idea of exclusivity. One wants to join them, to become ‘cool’ – this makes a potential client an adherent of the brand. That is an intelligent and effective marketing move developed/approved by the company’s leaders.


Jobs’ passion applied to both big and small issues. Based on the literature analysis, it is safe to say that the head of Apple has always adhered to his exactingness towards others and himself. One of the outstanding features of Jobs as a leader was his ability and willingness to think through a comprehensive strategy, as well as focus on the minor aspects of production and supply. Passion for business, the desire to change the world, and attention to detail leave no doubt why Steve Jobs was able to achieve such success.


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Gallagher, W. (2022). Apple launched Macintosh on January 24, 1984 and changed the world – eventually. AppleInsider. Web.

Ghaffari, M., Hackley, C., & Lee, Z. (2019). Control, knowledge, and persuasive power in advertising creativity: An ethnographic practice theory approach. Journal of Advertising, 48(2), 242–249.

Gurman, M. (2022). Apple CEO Tim Cook credits Steve Jobs with fostering culture of privacy. Web.

Haden, J. (2019). Steve Jobs said 1 key trait truly sets successful people apart: 8 ways to develop remarkable perseverance. Web.

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Whitehead, J., & Peckham, M. (2022). Network leadership: Navigating and shaping our interconnected world. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.