| 19 October, 2021 | 5 Min Read

From a garage to a multi-million dollar company - Steve Jobs leadership style changed the game for Apple

From being a successful entrepreneur to being a role model to the masses, Steve Jobs built a life worth remembering. Just like everyone, Steve Jobs had his own set of ups and downs. But what made him get through and stand out was his exceptional leadership style at Apple. Let’s explore the learnings and approaches that made Steve Jobs successful.


eadership for Steve Jobs was based on vision, passion, people, and doing something that you love. By building a successful business like Apple, he proved his business abilities and leadership skills that were put into action to manage a huge workforce that worked relentlessly to achieve the company's success.

The thing that made Steve Jobs' leadership style stand out was the innovative quotient and uniqueness. As a leader and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs believed in things that may seem small to the rest but withhold the power to create something huge.

This approach helped him and the co-founder of Apple hit milestones like - 700 percent increase in sales after the launch of Apple II and gather an estimated market value of $1.2 billion after going public. The little things together made Apple and Steve Jobs reach the top while creating a healthy and high-performing work culture for their employees.

About Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was the king of innovation, a perfectionist, and an advocate and believer in teamwork. He had a knack for computers and electronics that started at a very young age. Leading his passion for technology in 1976, Steve Jobs founded Apple from a garage with co-founder Steve Wozniak, and changed the face of the personal computing industry!

But almost after a decade, there was a major drop in sales of Apple products caused by the rival IBM. This resulted in a fallout between Steve Jobs and Apple's CEO John Sculley, after which the former resigned from the company.

Right after which he followed his interest and started a new software and hardware company called NeXT, Inc. Along with the new company, Steve Jobs also invested a chunk of money in a small animation company - Pixar Animation Studios. Steve Jobs's leadership style made Pixar a big hit and soon Apple acquired NeXT making Steve Jobs a CEO.

After years of success, the famous writer Walter Isaacson wrote a biography about Steve Jobs that covered his rollercoaster life, including professional and personal. Along with that, he shared huge details about Steve Jobs' inspiring personality as a successful entrepreneur across seven industries.

Grove HR - Steve Jobs leadership style


  • His unique leadership style

Steve Jobs loved to challenge the impossible, which explains why it was called his reality distortion field. This term was in reference to a Star Trek episode in which the aliens created an impossible reality through determination. There were many instances like this in Steve Job’s journey that did justice to this term given to him.

After becoming Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs changed the narrative of the company culture at Apple. He introduced the employees to new ideologies and tactics that made Apple what it is today. Let us look at Steve Jobs' leadership style in detail.

Mixing creativity with technology

Steve Jobs, as a leader, loved people who were creative and intelligent. He believed in hiring competent people to get more to the table - somebody who wants to create the best things in the world. While creating innovative work, he also encouraged employees to do the same.

Empowering employees to be the best

Unlike traditional leaders, Steve Jobs knew that controlling and ordering employees would not get significant results. Instead, he decided to get his hands dirty from time to time. He became a role model for the Apple employees by performing fieldwork every day, taking active participation, checking up on team members, and much more, even after being diagnosed with health conditions.

Working on things that you love and feel passionate about

Computers and Technology was Steve Jobs' passion, and he loved what he did. His goal as a leader was to always lead employees in the right direction and help them find something they love. He asked employees to build the courage to follow your heart, which keeps you motivated in the long run.

Grove HR -  Steve Jobs leadership style quote


Why did Steve Jobs’s leadership work?

From a garage to a multi-million dollar company, Steve Jobs' leadership style stood the test of time at Apple. His ideology of considering Apple employees as their biggest asset and driving force helped them create a high-performing company culture. This not only motivated employees but made them put their heart and intuition into the work they did.

The perfectionist attitude helped him create a high-quality product that turned into a high-end market. The innovation and creativity that Jobs and its employees brought to the table allowed Apple stores and products to stand apart from the herd and revolutionize the technological industry.

How to apply Steve Jobs' unique leadership style?

Steve Jobs's leadership style changed the game for Apple. By adapting his tactics, you can do the same for your company. Are you aboard? Let’s dive into it.

  • Encourage your employees to be their best version

Steve Jobs had FAITH IN PEOPLE, especially his employees, and he would give them free will. Build a business model that lets your employees be risk-takers and decision-makers, innovators, and the best of themselves. This will help in creating room for the growth of employees and the company. 

  • Promote teamwork within employees

As said by Steve Jobs, Apple has a robust teamwork model from the top level to the bottom that allows the company to take big steps. To do the same for your company, establish teamwork within the team members and 

  • Hire smart people

A company’s success majorly depends on its people and having the right set of team members is a must. Steve Jobs believed in hiring ‘Smart People’ that not only manage their own work but also share ideas, feedback, opinions, and vision that benefit the company. 

So, the first step of being an excellent leader is to hire the right people that lead the way smartly and share the same values your company believes in. 

  • Follow your passion and encourage employees to follow theirs

When a person is given a chance to follow their passion, it is like an adrenaline rush that passes through their veins, motivating them to achieve their capabilities. Steve Jobs knew this feeling as he pursued his passion and preached to employees in doing the same. Passion gives you the urge and perseverance to follow the unattainable.

Become the next big thing

Apple would not have been what it is today without Steve Jobs and there is no question about that. Although the approach used by Steve Jobs may or may not be suitable in recent times. The reason being a competitive market, poor leaders, perfectionism being extinct, and much more.

So, you can either choose to create your own leadership style or adapt Steve Jobs's leadership style, only if it relates to your business model and goals.

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