Apple’s Steve Jobs is a hard act to follow

by | Aug 26, 2011 | News


Does Steve Jobs’ successor at Apple needs to share his leadership style?

Simon Hayward from Cirrus writes for People Management. 

How can anyone ever replace Steve Jobs, one of the world’s most admired business leaders, who stepped down as Apple CEO this week?

He combined vision, innovation and execution, dazzling us with his charisma and communication skills, while delighting us with his magical products. Maybe no one person really can follow Jobs. After all, there aren’t many technical geeks who can turn into an evangelist on stage, winning standing ovations from employees and plaudits from the public.

The person who will replace Jobs is Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer. Cook’s track record is pretty impressive. Not only has he run the company before, but he has run it very successfully – while standing in for Jobs in the past, Cook posted very positive results and even saw Apple recognised (albeit briefly) as the world’s most valuable company.

But what about his leadership skills and style? Well, the Wall Street Journal describes him as an ‘operational genius’. He is regarded as an extremely safe pair of hands but not as a visionary or charismatic figure. He is known to be quiet and private and definitely does not possess the missionary zeal of Jobs. The question is: should he?

Steve Jobs has been an integral part of the Apple brand. Many of the qualities people associate with Jobs they also associate with Apple. Tim Cook may not display the same qualities but Apple needs to – its reputation is founded on them. Cook will not be leading Apple alone. There is a strong leadership team at the heart of the business.

Between them they need to demonstrate the unique set of skills and values that has made Apple one of the most successful companies in the world. Steve Jobs is a unique leader and quite possibly an irreplaceable one, but the legacy he leaves may inspire a whole new generation of leaders to create the Apple of the future.

Click here to read this piece on the People Management website.

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