The purpose of this essay is to analyze, compare, and contrast the leadership styles of two influential CEOs. I have collected information from many internet sources that elaborate on the life, achievements, and misfortunes of Jack Welch and Steve Jobs, and how they overcame their obstacles to become the best CEOs of all time.
Leadership Styles and Their Effect on CEOs
Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive. Jack Welch and Steve Jobs exemplify the true meaning of what a leader is. Their personality traits of being conscientious open to experiences, extroversion, persistent, and passionate has led them to be the most phenomenal visionary leaders of their time. Jack Welch was the chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. During his duration at GE, he managed to introduce a fresh and innovative leadership style. Welch developed a ranking system that put employees in one of three categories.
The top 20 percent were “stars”, the middle 70 percent were the crucial majority, and the bottom 10 percent were weeded out (Bloomberg, 1998). I admire and strongly agree with Welch’s management approach of making employee’s accountable. If you are hired to perform a job, then expecting results of a certain quality is justified. In addition, I believe that Welch’s passion for productivity and results allowed him to achieve effective performance management within his company.
Results create success, and I believe most people tend not to raise their standards high enough if there are not serious repercussions that follow, such as being dismissed for not providing results. Welch most notable achievement was increasing the market value of the General Electric firm. As CEO he increased it from approximately $12 billion when he took over, to a colossal $505 at the time of his retirement (Management, 2012). He managed to make GE the world’s second largest company with a market capitalization that was only exceeded by Microsoft. Through hard work and perseverance Welch managed to attain legendary status of being one of the greatest CEOs of all time.
Leadership Styles and Their Effect on CEOs
Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. As the CEO of the company, Jobs covered the development of the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and on the services side the company’s Apple Retail Stores, iTunes store, and the App store. The success of these products under Jobs provided stable years of financial return, and propelled Apple to become the world’s most valuable publically traded company. The reinvigoration of the company is regarded by commentators as one of the greatest turnarounds in business history (Gallo, 2011). Jobs was a “one-in-a-billion” innovator with a bulldog mentality.
He created a vision and relentlessly drove it into completion. Jobs was a demanding perfectionist who always aspired to position his business and products at the forefront of the technology industry by understanding and setting trends with innovation and style. His reputation was built on being a brutal force and often destroyed staff for their “bozo” ideas and typically shrugged off his associates suggestions in favor of his own gut instinct. Moreover, he only wanted what he called “A-players”. Meaning that they had to be brilliant and he insisted that under the threat of being fired, that they would never reveal any of Apple’s secrets inside or outside of the organization (Juarez, 2011).
In summary, both Welch and Jobs are extraordinary leaders who demonstrate charismatic and transformational leadership styles. They both have very similar qualities in wanting to produce results. However, they differ because Welch’s management style was cut throat in the sense of firing employees who did not perform. Yet, he was still open to the ideas of managers and employees, and empowered them. On the other hand, Jobs leadership style is regarded as unconventional and being a dictator, who only listens to his own intuition.
Bloomberg, L,P. (6/28/2012). How Jack Welch Runs GE. Business Week. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.businessweek.com/1998/23/b3581001.htm Gallo, F. (3/17/2012). What Kind of Leader Was Steve Jobs? Calypso Consulting. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.chinacalypso.com/content/what-kind-leader-was-steve-jobs Juarez, A. (10/5/2011). A Different Kind of Leader. Studying Systems for a Humane and Sustainable World. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://saybrook.typepad.com/complexity/2011/10/a-different-kind-of-leader-steve-jobs-1955-2011.html Management Strategies From A Top CEO. (4/16/2010). Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.investopedia.com/articles/financial-theory/10/manage-business-like-jack-welch.asp#axzz2CpmsLsRK
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