A Critique of the Leadership Style of Steve Jobs
Kimberly Marie Celse
Department of I-O Psychology
Touro University Worldwide

One of the most controversial yet wildly successful leaders of our time, Steve Jobs
mesmerized the world with his passion for excellence yet infuriated many with his myopic
drive. He was an incredible visionary who revolutionized the personal computer industry and
gained devoted followers from the world over. Many waited with baited breath for the latest
iPhone, iPod, or iPad, and the craze of sales and infinite lines at Apple stores portrayed to the
world that this was, indeed, an extremely important company with a leader who must be
doing every single thing right in running his company. But was this actually true? Dubbed by
his colleagues as having a “Reality Distortion Field”, which could be akin to bullying, this
allowed him to push people to achieve feats on an extraordinary level (Isaacson, 2012). His
untimely death proving that he was still yet a man, immortalized him forever in our minds
and in many hearts as a dreamer who realized his dreams – as many of his followers lived
vicariously through his overwhelming accomplishments.
Researching Steve Jobs’s background, one can see some of the elements that led to the legend
he became. Adopted at birth, his adoptive parents had promised his birth mother that they
would send him to college. His adoptive father taught him electronics at an early age and he
had an average middle-class lifestyle. He was terribly bright in school and even skipped a
grade, but was known to be a prankster. A former college dropout after just a semester, he
continued to audit classes and didn’t seem to be worried about his future. Growing up in the
San Francisco Bay Area, he was likely influenced by two major social movements in that
area – the counterculture hippy, anti-war revolution starting in San Francisco, and the Silicon
Valley boom of high-tech innovation. He even went to India...