Harvard Business writer: Steve Jobs’ management style not worth emulating

“Steve Jobs is back in the headlines, which got me thinking about this unique leader’s legacy — and what, if anything, the rest of us can learn from how Jobs does his job. Whoever uttered the words, ‘trust the art, not the artist’ must have had Steve Jobs in mind,” William C. Taylor writes for Harvard Business Publishing.

“There’s no doubt that the Apple CEO will go down as one of the most creative, visionary, and high-impact leaders of his generation — or any generation. How many corporate executives can make a legitimate claim to have reshaped not just one industry but four: computing (the Mac), music (the iPod), mobile communications (the iPhone), and movies (Pixar),” Taylor writes. “And how many CEOs can make the legitimate claim that they achieved their wealth and power by making tens of millions of people so unbelievably happy that they worship the company and its products with near-religious devotion?”

Taylor writes, “So In terms of the impact his products have had on the world, Steve Jobs represents the face of business at its best. And yet, in terms of his approach to leadership, Jobs represents the face of business — well, if not at its worst, then certainly not as something worth emulating… Those are matters of corporate governance and investor relations, which, while important, aren’t all that urgent. To me, the issue is more Jobs’s approach to leadership itself — which, despite the compelling and cutting-edge quality of his products, is strangely unappetizing and often downright retro.”

“Jobs, for all of his virtues, clings to the Great Man Theory of Leadership — a CEO-centric model of executive power that is outmoded, unsustainable, and, for most of us mere mortals, ineffective in a world of non-stop change,” Taylor writes. “Leaders who want to both change the game and stay in the game for the long haul have come to appreciate the power of ‘humbition’ over blind ambition. What’s humbition? It’s a term I first heard from Jane Harper, a nearly 30-year veteran of IBM. It is, she explains, the subtle blend of humility and ambition that drives the most successful leaders — an antidote to the know-it-all hubris that affects so many executives and entrepreneurs.”

Full load of horseshit here.

MacDailyNews Take: Excuse our French, but WTF gives a rat’s ass what Jane Whatshername from effing IBM thinks, much less what some gobbledygook-slinger farts out for Harvard Business Publishing?

Steve Jobs is a Great Man, so if you’re a Great Man (or Woman), then emulate Mr. Jobs to your heart’s content. If you’re not, listen to Billy Taylor and practice your office politics, brown-nosing techniques, and golf game – and don’t forget to schedule some more meetings and focus groups.

Sheesh, we hate slow news days.

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