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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

THE QUESTION

Secretive or Successful?

Steve Jobs' insistence on keeping his recent liver transplant a secret is the latest example of an leadership style that seems to violate all the rules in the leadership textbook. Yet there is no doubt he has been tremendous successful as Apple's chief executive. Is Jobs the exception that proves -- or disproves -- the rules of good leadership?

Posted by Ben Bradlee and Steve Pearlstein on June 22, 2009 10:32 AM
FROM THE PANEL

Transparency Is Overrated

Secrecy and paranoia seem to have served Apple, its customers, and its shareholders well over the years.

Posted by Marty Linsky, on June 23, 2009 1:52 PM
Yash Gupta

Jobs Acted Properly

In the case of Steve Jobs and his medical problems, greater transparency could have had an extremely negative impact. Why make a somber medical announcement and risk upsetting the apple cart?

Posted by Yash Gupta, on June 23, 2009 1:46 PM
Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr.

A Stick in the Eye

Steve Job's handling of his personal health issues are a stick in the eye of trust and make him look like he is the head of a private Valley start-up, not a major public corporation.

Posted by Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr., on June 23, 2009 9:33 AM
Alan M. Webber

Nothing to Learn Here, Move Along

If you are not Steve Jobs, and you attempt to act like you think Steve Jobs acts, you will not get Steve Jobs' results.

Posted by Alan M. Webber, on June 23, 2009 9:29 AM
Michael Maccoby

A Productive Narcissist

Who would want to follow a leader who is often insulting to his subordinates? Some people would and do, because Jobs creates great products that change people's lives.

Posted by Michael Maccoby, on June 23, 2009 9:24 AM

Putting the "I" in "iPhone"

Isn't it ironic that one of the early mavens of transparency, with his lap tops, iPhone and iPod, has been himself one of the least transparent leaders, especially about his own medical problems?

Posted by Warren Bennis, on June 23, 2009 9:19 AM
Paul R. Portney

Revolving Around the Sun

CEOs have a right to privacy, of course, but when a CEO's identity is so closely intertwined with that of the company he or she leads, the "disclosure threshold" is different.

Posted by Paul R. Portney, on June 23, 2009 9:08 AM
Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.)

Time for Answers

No exception should be made that undermines the health of the company that Steve Jobs has led so brilliantly; stockholders deserve a relatively quick answer on Jobs' health.

Posted by Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.), on June 22, 2009 3:08 PM

A Personal Issue

The question is whether one's health is a personal issue or an essential open data point in the corporate world. There is no textbook answer, and we should respect his decision.

Posted by John H. Cochran, MD, on June 22, 2009 3:04 PM
William C. Taylor

Trust the Art, Not the Artist

Marvel at his products, applaud his feel for design, wonder at his capacity to cast such a large shadow over so many industries. But don't think you'll do better as a leader by acting more like Apple's leader.

Posted by William C. Taylor, on June 22, 2009 2:55 PM

Michael Walsh's Example

The role model of how to handle an illness serious enough to concern the Street is the late Michael Walsh, who had an inoperable brain tumor when CEO of Tenneco in the early 1990s.

Posted by Noel M. Tichy, on June 22, 2009 1:31 PM

A Sense of Exceptionalism?

Steve Jobs and his board had a strategic decision to make about his health, his privacy and his leadership. That is why we create leadership teams and boards: to make the tough calls.

Posted by Andy Stern, on June 22, 2009 10:44 AM
Howard Gardner

Regrettable But Acceptable

Though regrettable, Steve Jobs' silence about his recent illnesses is not a venal violation of the principles of leadership.

Posted by Howard Gardner, on June 22, 2009 10:38 AM

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FEATURED COMMENTS

blert: People have a right to privacy. This right has limits, but generally medical conditions fall into the "private" category. While the our cu...

stoc2000: Really do we need to know all leaders health or sexual preferences? I don't think so. I think the leadership text book needs some editing ...

frantaylor: Steve Jobs is just an Apple employee. Those shares of stock say "Apple" on them, not "Steve Jobs". Leave him alone and mind your own busin...

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