Throughout the history at different points, it has been argued that leaders are not made up of their characteristics and intentions rather actions and decisions that these people come up with differentiate them as a leader. Leadership literature is full of such examples such as leading from the front and leading by example. However, no specific answer has been formulated as to how a person should lead. On the other hand, history leadership lessons suggest the attributes and decisions that should not be developed in a person to become an effective leader. The aim of this article is to demonstrate and analyse a leadership model which is successfully exemplified by a history leader based on the strengths and weaknesses (Nuneaton, 2006).
Many contemporary leaders have exemplified different leadership models based on the circumstances, characteristics, personality traits and skills they had developed. Such leadership styles include autocratic leadership, democratic leadership, laissez-faire leadership, transformational leadership and transactional leadership. There is no leadership style which can be called a universal leadership model. However, one specific leadership style has been proven to be adopted many successful leaders in the business. This leadership style is effective, and it is widely applied in military, as well.
The leadership model designed is based on the leader’s personal integrity and ego issues to pursue goals and objectives developed by them. In historical literature of leadership, many leaders have been labelled as selfish who prioritize personal goals over organizational goals yet they turn out to be a success story. Such leaders may include; Steve Jobs of Apple Company and Adolf Hitler who were “selfish” in their leadership style. Both these leaders have been successful with their leadership approaches. Selfish leadership style is a pattern of leadership behaviour that draws upon and promotes both positive and psychological capacities and positive ethical climate. The sole motive behind following such leadership is to gain personally rather than for the employees of the organization. In the short run, selfish leadership can have many adverse implications on employees and the organization itself. Selfish leaders have a very strong will and intentions to make their ideas a reality and accomplish their vision. The selfish leadership style can be developed through:
- High level of self-awareness.
- Strongly internalized moral perspective.
- Balanced processing of information.
- Relational transparency on the part of leaders working with the followers.
People with a high level of integrity are found to be selfish and self-centred in nature which is reflected in their management style. Such people have very deep sense of what they are trying to achieve, and robust willingness to lead their lives according to the core values developed in them (Fieste, 2011). According to Georgia Fieste, people who lead a selfish style of management generally have the willingness to aid other people. This leadership model is based on empowering people who prefer making a difference over money, power or prestige. This leadership style focuses on purpose, values and meaning along with maintaining strong personal relationships with the subordinates. Leaders who are self-centred and selfish are generally consistent, strong and reliable and, people have the tendency to believe in them because they have high levels of personal integrity.
In contrast, there are some situations created by internal and external environment in which being selfish is the only option left for management. Such situations demand imperative and quick decision making. For example in stressful and pressure circumstances, personnel management may require authentic leadership approach from the supervisor (Hudson, 2003).
Selfish leadership style brings in many advantages with it, which are as following:
- Leaders, who are selfish in nature, have great insight into the matters. Selfish leadership style is a visionary style; however, most of such leaders have an exclusive orientation to the future. Moreover, selfishness comes with wisdom and acumen. Selfish leaders have the ability to stay calm at pressure situations, get to the clarity of issue and find a plan of action to be followed.
- Selfish leadership exemplifies initiatives. Selfish leaders hate to be at the side-lines, i.e. they have the natural urge to be first at everything. In selfish leadership, refusal is not an option; therefore, such leaders opt to execute work themselves to make an example for other people.
- Influencing other people is one of the main key advantages of selfish leadership. Such leaders are for real and contagious. Such people are drawn to their own vision and values. Selfish leaders have great people following only if they manage to communicate their vision to their subordinates, and they are able to make people to act.
- Leaders who make an impact, at the end of the day. Selfish leaders make a difference. The world has changed dramatically because of such leaders; examples include Steve Jobs and Adolf Hitler. These leaders were able to create a real and an ever-lasting change.
- Selfish are people full of integrity, and they also try to implement it among their subordinates. Such people have great insight, initiative, impact and influence, yet their lives do not demonstrate the highest degree of integrated values. Integrity of the basis of authentic leadership (Hyatt, 2012).
On the other hand, selfish leadership can turn out to be really bad example of leadership depending on the personality, traits and circumstances in which it is practiced. In practice, it has been observed that asserting values and importance on being self-centred can turn out to be a really unprofessional excuse by the leaders who fail to accomplish.
It has been argued that selfish leadership is not effective if employees are unwilling and non-adaptable to change. Selfish leadership style often faces resistance. Subordinates are comfortable with the way procedures are conducted; therefore, are not willing to come out of their comfort zone. Lastly, selfish leadership does not consider the opinions and ideas of other people because such a leader feels superior to others. Selfish leaders believe that their vision is flawless and of utmost importance. Therefore, in some cases selfishness and a high degree of self-centeredness can really back fire (Zander and Gruenfeld, 2001).
The above model of leadership is further applied in the real world business, or other, scenarios by many great successful leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Steve Jobs and Mao Tze Tang. Further analysis is conducted to show how this leadership helped Apple to become one of the giants in the technology industry.
Steve Jobs is a co-founder; Steve Wozniak is the other co-founder, of Apple Company, which was founded in 1976. In 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, due to internal power conflicts that he founded some nine years ago. Steve Jobs is a very controversial leader in the business environment. Regardless, Steve Jobs still managed to make an impact at a global level with his innovation in technology. However, it has been disputed that even though Steve Jobs represented the technology business at its prime, but still he business and leadership approach is not worthy of emulation by other people.
Steve Jobs was a renowned figure for his talent of giving speeches that will captivate the attention of the audience. Similarly, he was able to captivate his employees with his skill of an evangelist. Steve Jobs was a man who possessed great charisma in his abilities that require metaphors, analogies and storytelling for communication. When presenting the iPad for the first time, he would start off by telling a story and linking that story to communicate the benefits of his products more effectively and efficiently.
Steve Jobs was a gifted public speaker with a mysterious ability to confuse his subordinates and the general public with an evangelistic speech. Steve Jobs was able to channel his charisma through his in-depth knowledge and comprehension of the business he was involved in. This can be proved by the fact that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were the first to develop any hardware which revolutionized the technology industry. Without a doubt, Steve Jobs level of understanding of technology along with his visionary capability helped him to develop an efficient, plausible and successful vision. The same abilities helped him to effectively communicate his vision down to his employees. Lastly his charismatic nature enabled him to generate massive energy and enthusiasm among his employees to accomplish tasks which seemed to be impossible at first, which involved convincing consumers to purchase Apple Products.
Many business analysts and executives have agreed that the intensity of charisma in Steve Jobs was not an ordinary trait. However, this personalized charisma led Steve Jobs to serve mostly his own interests and goals which is why his leadership style is also called selfish leadership. Steve Jobs was a business leader who would impose his decisions on his employees without entertaining the ideas and opinions brought in by his employees. Steve Jobs wanted people to admire him and follow his guidelines while expecting complete obedience. Steve Jobs valued Apple more than anything in is life which made him a stubborn, arrogant and an adamant personality.
Steve Jobs was considered an autocrat, authoritarian and manipulative by his employees. His personality and behaviour at the office and other important meetings was reported as rude, obnoxious and commanding. Steve Jobs lacked the idea of employee satisfaction and supporting them morally and emotionally. Getting the job completed was the highest position of Jobs’ priority list.
Nothing except the words of Steve Jobs, he describes his quest for perfection in an orderly manner. In one of his speeches, he delivered the biggest lesson of his life which was “stay foolish, stay hungry.” Jobs used to have a domineering appearance which used to fear his employees. This suggests that his consideration level for his employees was very low, and his initiating trait as a leader appears to be very high. Steve Jobs summarizes his leadership style in the following words:
“My job is to not be easy on people. My job is to make them better. My job is to pull things together from different parts of the company and clear the ways and get the resources for the key projects.”
Jobs appeared to manage Apple at a micro level. Jobs was supervising and managing up to 100 employees working directly under him at any time. This implies that many individuals report directly to him and is an illustration of his own will and eagerness to hold every command in his own hands. Gaining and commanding complete control are rudimentary basis of Jobs’ leadership style (Kramer, 2010).
Despite the immense criticism pointed out in the leadership style of Steve Jobs, he possessed more or less all the qualities of an effective leader which played a significant part in achieving success. The qualities of a successful leader demonstrated by Steve Jobs include self-confidence, humility, authenticity, trustworthiness, extraversion, assertiveness, enthusiasm and minor sense of humour.
Steve Jobs successfully exemplify a selfish leadership style perfectly as he used to impose work order upon people to dictate what to do and what not to do all the time at a personal level to ensure that his company will achieve success. Furthermore, the unique idea about Steve Jobs style of selfish leadership that the style flawlessly suited the circumstances created by Steve Jobs and the external environment which led him to implement his ideas in a more commanding fashion.
In conclusion, Steve Jobs’ personality traits and characteristics would not be identified as the ideal qualities of an effective leader. He is categorized as unconventional leader of modern times. However, it is recommended that to become an effective and successful leader in today’s business environment, entrepreneurs should not follow the unconventional style of leadership such as adopted by Steve Jobs. Nonetheless, there are few attributes that an entrepreneur should learn from the leadership style of Steve Jobs such as his intense charisma and self-belief in what one is trying to achieve. Moreover, Steve Jobs’ enthusiasm for work subdues all his adverse characteristics.
Furthermore, one should adopt a leadership style which encompasses kind and caring attributes and that focuses on team work and hearing out opinion of other people. Team work approach of leadership encompasses the idea of leading the team force rather than dominating them. Participative leadership integrates group decision and believes in delegating power and authority in a more democratic fashion as compared to the selfish leadership style.
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Hudson, K. (2003) 'Contemporary Leadership Styles', Journal of Management Styles
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Hyatt, M. (2012) 'Five Marks of Authentic Leadership', International Leadership
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Kramer, D. (2010) 'Leadership Behaviour and Attributes of Steve Jobs'.
Nuneaton, S. (2006) 'Leadership Style', Air Cadet NCO Development Training
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Zander, L. and Gruenfeld, D. (2001) 'Authentic Leadership Can Be Bad Leadership', Harvard Business Review
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