On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Alan M. Webber

Alan M. Webber

Alan Webber, a founding editor of Fast Company magazine, is an award-winning editor, author, and columnist. His most recent book is Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Yourself.

Nothing to Learn Here, Move Along

There is no one way to be a great leader; there is no one way to achieve success. What Steve Jobs proves is this: Steve Jobs has found a way that works for him. Period. If you are not Steve Jobs, and you attempt to act like you think Steve Jobs acts, you will not get Steve Jobs' results.

This is the massive fallacy with most of today's business-related books, especially the autobiographical variety. Telling someone else "do as I do" is not a serious message. It may sell books in a celebrity-driven culture, but as far as serious advice is concerned, it has no legitimate value.

The same could be said about turning Steve Jobs as a teaching tool.

Steve Jobs's conduct as a leader is legendary--if not notorious. You could make a list of less-than-desirable qualities and practices, from berating people who work for him to disruptive behavior in meetings to minute oversight of every detail in product development. The list goes on and on. You could add, if you wanted, his recent attitude toward disclosing accurate information about his health.

Still, it has worked for him. The company that he helped create and now leads has found a way to make it work. Those are facts, not opinions.

Should others seek to emulate him? Learn new lessons in entrepreneurship from his approach? Take away lessons on how to motivate people from his style? If Steve Jobs jumped off the roof of Apple and survived, would you do the same thing to see if you could?

Next question!

By Alan M. Webber

 |  June 23, 2009; 9:29 AM ET
Category:  CEOs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: A Productive Narcissist | Next: A Stick in the Eye

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company