Leadership is the ability to influence others to achieving goals by providing direction, guidance, encouragement and feedback. For this, individuals need to possess certain qualities, which are identified as the leadership qualities…
In this essay, Steve Jobs and Richard S Fuld will be compared for their leadership qualities and accomplishments. Learning from this study will be applied to understand own leadership qualities and key qualities that could help in becoming a better leader will be identified. Conclusions will be drawn based on learning obtained from this entire study. It is first important to understand the background of Steve Jobs and Richard S Fuld. Firstly, Steve Jobs was the co-founder of Apple Inc, the world’s most admired company. He co-founded Apple in 1976, and has ever since been innovating and revolutionising the PC technology. His contributions to this revolution came in the form of ground-breaking personal computers. Jobs’ association with Apple was initially very challenging as Jobs was very clear about how to run his business, which others did not seem to be convinced. In spite of immense growth and success, Jobs continued to face differences with his colleagues due to which he had to depart from Apple Inc. He later started another company, Next, which also did excellent business for almost 10 years; during this tenure, Jobs was able to successfully create another computer platform development company and created numerous computer-animated feature films that became very famous. During this time, Apple had realized its loss and asked Jobs to join back as its CEO. Jobs again created history with this return to Apple through his innovation in the form of ipod, iTunes, iMovies, Apple TV, ipad, and iphone (Lussier & Achua, 2009). Secondly, Richard S Fuld is the ex-CEO of Lehman Brothers that filed for bankruptcy during 2008 recession. Fuld is known for his competitive spirit and his traditional style of leadership. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers was announced, Fuld is known to have escaped from the press and did not want to answer their questions, which many found it unethical; he also did not accept that he had done anything wrong (Koch, 2008). His failure is also mainly due to his high risk-taking actions and risky business decisions; his arrogance and overconfidence can also be blamed. It will be interesting to study the leadership styles of these leaders. Both leaders exhibit certain leadership characteristics such as energy, intelligence, knowledge, decision-making, confidence, enthusiasm, independence and desire to lead (Daft, 2008). However, qualities such as honesty and integrity probably lacked in Fuld’s leadership based on the outcomes seen post Lehman Brother’s collapse. Some common leadership traits can be identified in Jobs and Fuld’s leadership such as, risk-taking behaviors, aggression and confidence, passion, and competitive spirit. However, Jobs also had other traits such as passion, creativity, empathy, and vision. On the other hand, Fuld is less courageous, more authoritative and demanding. According to theory, these traits are that of an autocratic leader (Daft, 2008). Steve Jobs also showed some traits of democratic leadership, such as encouraging others, participation, and dependence on subordinates’ knowledge and abilities. Jobs continuously encouraged his team members to create something new and he was immediately drawn to something different that his team made in terms of technology or products. However, he always looked for perfection and high quality. It was very difficult for the team to match up with Jobs’ expectations. In spite of these findings, Jobs’ leadership can be said to be autocratic and not democratic. Daft (2008) explains that team members tend to ...
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