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Silicon Valley has idolized Steve Jobs for decades-and it's finally paying the price

Being rude as a management style

It seems that Silicon Valley decided that internet connectivity matters more than human connectivity. After all, if it worked for a genius like Jobs, can it be that bad? 

But research reveals that it can have a devastating impact: While this management style might work in the short-term, employees can't flourish for long under a narcissistic, demanding boss.

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Silicon Valley has idolized Steve Jobs for decades-and it's finally paying the price

Silicon Valley has idolized Steve Jobs for decades-and it's finally paying the price

https://qz.com/984174/silicon-valley-has-idolized-steve-jobs-for-decades-and-its-finally-paying-the-price/

qz.com

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Key Ideas

Being rude as a management style

It seems that Silicon Valley decided that internet connectivity matters more than human connectivity. After all, if it worked for a genius like Jobs, can it be that bad? 

But research reveals that it can have a devastating impact: While this management style might work in the short-term, employees can't flourish for long under a narcissistic, demanding boss.

Hyper-critical leadership

In spite of some success of hyper-critical leadership in the short term, 

  • studies have shown that it not only leads to unmotivated employees and office in-fighting 
  • but can also lead to serious issues like depression, high blood pressure, weight gain, substance abuse, and even premature death.

Bullying is an ineffective leadership tool

Jobs was famous for the way he would obliterate his staff, often in public, which maximized their humiliation by making it a spectacle rather than a private affair.

But shame has a devastating impact on a person’s motivation, creativity, and behavior - it  has been linked to depression, alcoholism, obesity, violence.

Leaderships needs emotional intelligence

Whether or not it comes easily, emotional intelligence ought to be the foremost requirement for our companies’ leaders.

It takes no special skill to scream at someone, and it’s easy to lash out when you are angry or disappointed.

But takes effort and maturity to lead with dignity, composure, kindness, and self-awareness.

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It puts people at the center. But it is definitely not user-driven: it does not listen to users, but makes proposals to them. Customers do not buy Apple's products because of utility or functionality.

Apple products are more meaningful to users. The products have great design - and identity. 

Managing by meaning

Is recognizing that people are human: they have rational, cultural, and emotional dimensions, and they appreciate the person who creates a meaning for them to embrace. For Jobs, design was not only beauty, but creating new meanings for users.

He also offered meaning to his employees - they worked hard on visionary projects, striving to meet targets and to satisfy their leader's maniacal attention to detail, because he infused them with a sense of mission: Apple had to leave a mark in the world of computing, improve people's lives, be bold and, of course, "think different."

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Steve Job's effectiveness boiled down to this:

He inspired team members first so that they were driven to live up to his exacting standards when the situation called for it.

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The formula for being an inspirational driver
  • Know your "noble cause." Jobs understood that if teams don’t find their work meaningful, they perceive challenging directives from a leader as arbitrary demands rather than a call to sacrifice for a higher purpose.
  • Tell your story early and often. If you can’t weave your ideas into a clear, compelling story, those ideas remain abstract words likely to be forgotten.
  • Push, but within boundaries. Make sure you have a clear end point and time line in mind before you go into "push" mode. Intense work with no clear end in sight is demoralizing.