If you really want to excel as a business leader, you need to come back down to earth and be more you and less Steve Jobs.
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Steve Jobs is all but deified for his leadership style and abilities. So much so that many entrepreneurs look to him as an example of how to be a successful leader.
True he was brilliant at product development, pushing product excellence in design and simplicity, he drove Apple’s vision with focus and without compromise, and he was extremely marketing savvy, but his combination of characteristics and strengths were quite rare – which is what made him extraordinary.
For the rest of us business owners with different strengths and weaknesses, trying to live up to his leadership heights can be counter-productive in the sense that you’re not harnessing your own leadership strengths, making allowances for your weaknesses, and being your authentic self. In fact it was Job’s authenticity to himself that made him stand out.
Authenticity is the key to leadership greatness
Jobs was famously hands-on in his company, particularly in product design and communication. So when it came time for training sales people on how to sell the new iPhone, he got hold of the text document and edited it himself in order to ensure the product positioning was right and send the right message.
Steve Jobs had an incredibly rare strength set of being a tech geek and marketing extraordinaire. For the rest of us, transitioning so seamlessly from one field to another is not easy. Sometimes responsibilities should be left to the experts.
If you’re in need of financial information, ask your accountant. If you’re embarking on a marketing campaign, let agencies do the talking. They often have the expertise and experience to do a job far better than you can.
Another legacy of Jobs is to not be hung up on labels. He hated words like branding and marketing as the label put people into selling mode instead of teaching mode, which was far more effective in getting the market to accept, use and ultimately embrace Apple’s products.
In this same way, because you’re labeling yourself a CEO and/or an entrepreneur doesn’t make you a leader. It makes you the boss.
What makes a great leader?
Use your own strengths to drive these traits and you’ll find yourself admired and respected as a business leader, with a healthy business to show for it too.