a Steve Jobs way

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Apr 2018 12:09:42



By nitin bakshi

Man management has no longer remained the sole domain of HRD personnel. It has often been found that person with passion for excellence will also be able to manage men equally well if not better than the professionally qualified person. Steve Jobs was one such person who has often been regarded as a man of parts. He redefined the concepts of corporate leadership in the field of information technology by inventing the products for next generation. Well, he was a visionary who had focused his vision on coming up with quality products, spotless services and amazing innovations.These extra-ordinary standards were not at possible to sustain, but for his out-of-the-box man management skills. Steve Jobs was known among IT fraternity for his passion for next generation products. He marshaled his human resources in such a magnificent way that his contemporaries were always found clueless about the way Steve used to get everything together to produce a quality product within the stipulated time frame.

Steve Jobs was a leader par-excellence. His leadership was based on his marvelous approach in which he used to manage the brilliant think-tank of his company. His research and development department was full of highly talented scientists and engineers. Steve Jobs had no formal technical education to bank upon, but the entire team of his company used to respect him for his undying spirit, burning passion, innovative strategies and man-management skills.Now Indian environment completely supports any customer-centric business organization. The employer-employee relationship holds the centre-stage for all policy decisions. The top bosses or the managers in any organisation will be astonished to know the measures Steve used to apply in order to get the things in order as per his own specifications. Let us now elaborate those factors which made Steve Jobs a great visionary from an ordinary businessman.

Human psychology: Steve was brilliant in making the complicated things look simple. He had studied the human psychology to the last point. In order to make his staffers feel the closeness, he stopped addressing his staffers as ‘employees’ and instead used to address them as ‘members’. He used to issue orders to his members to get the work done. But in order to make them feel that he was also one amongst them, he asked all his members to address him only by his name ‘Steve’ and not as ‘Sir’ or ‘Boss’. Simple but effective measures like these made Steve a leader of next generation.
Team culture: He was fiercely competitive about the products he used to make and take pride in his team’s achievements. He would invariably throw party for his team members to celebrate success of the team, as he had imbibed a culture where a celebration was always followed after the success of the team. His team members had almost blind faith in Steve’s abilities as a leader and he never ditched them. He was master in bonding the team as a cohesive unit.

Hiring policy: Steve was a catalyst when it comes to select members for his team. He was spot on to evaluate the contribution any team member is going to add to his team. At times when Steve had to select high-profile members for his team from another company, he would always hire the top rated member and would never compromise on that. He used to state that “top rated members would bring top ideas to the company and the ordinary persons would bring hackneyed ideas”.Constructive criticism: Steve Jobs was unique in many ways. He used to fire his sub-ordinates left-right. But he never forgot to ensure that the criticism was only meant to improve working process of any individual. Constructive criticism is always aimed at making the end product not only better, but the best. It is pointed at the process or the performance rather than pointing towards the member. Another unique thing about Steve was that he was okay even if any member used to get disagree with him. His logic behind this disagreement was that ‘any member can get disagreed with him, so long as he was in tune with the vision of the company’.

An eye of a connoisseur: Steve Jobs had so many qualities of being a brilliant man-manager and hence he was always looked up to by the world leaders with reverence. He had an uncanny knack of being a connoisseur in respect of almost every member of his team. He could make any flagging marketers to over come lean patch within a period a fifteen minutes. It is said that the greatness of Steve Jobs lies in his ability that could make you work in a way you are not used to. He used to see an artist in every member of his team and used to encourage him.
A competent tyrant: This was Steve’s another unique way to look at the aspect of man management from different angle. He always dared to be different in order to get the best out of his team members. He used to state that it would be doubly difficult to get the views about any issue from all corners and implement them within the deadline. In order to meet the deadline and maintain the momentum, some drastic steps should be taken. Steve used to describe the method of obtaining the views of all members as the “method of democrats”. He was of the opinion that ‘democrats don’t take great decisions or make great products. You need a competent tyrant to do that”. By the term competent tyrant what he meant was a leader who was dedicated to the envisioned product developments.

The power of persuasive skills: Steve was a person who had evangelised innovations in his company on the basis of his committed team members. Sometime he used to test them to the limit. Once a product was about to be launched by his company in two weeks time. It was already advertised in media about the launch of the product. Suddenly it came to the notice of the research team that there was a snag in the circuit of the product and it would take about one month to get it repaired. Steve knew that the situation was delicate. It was not possible to postpone the launch of the product. He decided to talk to the leader of the research team. The leader of the research team told him that it was impossible to get the defect removed within two weeks. Steve told him in calm and reassuring voice that “I have complete faith in your abilities as the leader of the research team and expect you to have the same. You do not worry about any time constraint and do the best”. The persuasive skills of Steve did the trick and the product was ready few hours before the launch of the deadline.

Humane environment: The success of Apple, the company of Steve Jobs, was not achieved only because of the dazzling decisions taken by Steve. In fact it was an apt humane environment that provided the launching pad for the unparallel success of the Apple. Steve was at the helm to ensure that kind of environment in the company. This is the environment where the efforts of the employees are at least acknowledged and they feel that they are part of the company. It is always felt that the younger generation of employees and especially the more talented ones, want more than a ‘nine to five’ job. They want something with purpose and that purpose was provided to them by Steve Jobs.

The above measures adopted by the mercurial Steve Jobs explicitly provide evidence of the transformation that was brought about in man-management skills to ensure not just the best results for the company, but also ensure the best environment for management-employee relationship. It indeed will be worth experimenting for all our leaders and managers to follow the measures, as applied by Steve Jobs with great aplomb, to accomplish desired results from the human resources.(The author is Director, The First Step, Akola and can be reached at
[email protected])