I recently completed consuming the recent biography of Steve Jobs. What an amazing story! Clearly, he was a man of incredible vision, conviction, and persistence. The book also doesn’t hide his many faults, either. In fact, if you haven’t had a chance to dive into this just yet, I bet you’ll be quite surprised to discover how many faults, eccentricities, and character weaknesses this one many had. Yet, despite all of these qualities (which the vast many of us would consider as ‘obstacles’), he was completely able to achieve his vision and tremendous goals.
The true reason for all of his success was his attitude. Throughout his life story, it is quite clear how his attitude and mindset was slowly evolving. He ‘knew’ he was destined for greatness. In his earlier years, he wasn’t quite sure what that greatness was going to be. Yet, he just KNEW. He didn’t question this ‘truth’ at all. He possessed incredible belief in himself and in what he knew to be his destiny.
Aside from this unshakeable belief, his attitude provided him tenacity and persistence. These qualities, one could argue, became the engine for what has evolved into the most powerful brand and company in our world today. Steve Jobs definitely ran across his fair share of challenges, upsets, and failures. In fact, some of his failures were tremendous. I don’t want to spoil the story if you haven’t read it yet, but suffice it to say that to overcome some of his huge failures must have taken massive amounts of character strength. His ego was shattered to smithereens on many occasions. A good number of ‘ordinary folk’ would not have been able to get back up, let along get back up and valiantly determine to lead and conquer. This character trait of Steve’s, his persistence and tenacity, is perhaps one of his most admirable qualities. And, certainly, one could argue that these qualities are perhaps his most valuable business building assets.
Another strong leadership quality of Steve’s was his extreme commitment to high quality. Cutting corners, short cuts, and believing ‘good is good enough’ were ideas that were completely foreign to him. It was ‘perfect’ or it was a ‘no go’. He was adamant about this. Clearly his ultra-high standard was extremely difficult for many people he worked with, as you can imagine. He was a tyrant at times, people reported. Yet, as we all know, his commitment to perfection is exactly what has created the amazing products and services that we so cherish from Apple.
Despite his many eccentricities and emotional outbursts, which tend to be qualities that are associated with a poor leader, Steve Jobs in fact was loved and respected by so many. How could this be? Truly, as you go deep into the book, you will understand exactly how challenging his personality could be, and how incredibly challenging he must have been to work for. So, given that the vast majority of our society absolutely detests working with someone with these qualities, how is it that he could be so loved and respected? Easily. Steve’s passion, his all-out commitment for excellence, his relentless determination are qualities that everyone admired. In fact, if truth be told, I would venture to guess that many envied these leadership qualities. Combine these qualities with Jobs’ natural abilities in design, creativity, and integration, and the amazing achievements became inevitable.
So, what lessons can we learn from Steve Jobs? A lot. For starters, I do hope this article has opened your eyes to some of the necessary and critical components of leadership. You CAN become a strong leader. No matter what your eccentricities, personality style, or any other obstacles you may perceive you have. You absolutely can overcome these. People can love, respect, and follow you if you tap deep into the qualities you already inherently posses, and can further develop. I encourage you to take some time and recognize and develop your clear vision, your commitment, your determination, your tenacity, and develop a clear strategy to share this passion effectively with others. If you truly focus on these qualities, your leadership and business success will be guaranteed.
Lastly, if you haven’t read Steve Job’s biography, please do so. If you’re intimidated by it’s huge size, I encourage you to purchase the CDs. You can listen to the book while driving, working out, cleaning the house, or whenever. You’ll be surprised how it can captivate you. I actually purchased both the book and CD. The CD is excellently produced, with a powerful voice-over that I found to capture my fascination immediately. Enjoy the lessons and inspiration I know you will receive!
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