Can You Innovate AND Manage Like Steve?

Recent departure of Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple sent some major ripples throughout the business community. There is a universal feeling, though (reflected in the way its shares’ prices behaved after the news), that it’s not going to weaken Apple in any way. Being a truly great leader, Jobs has made Apple the best a company can be — a perfect fusion of cutting-edge creativity and business genius. In my recent article for Psychology Today I take a look at what makes a great leader and what would enable every manager to be a Steve Jobs for his own team. Here’s an excerpt (or, better yet, read the whole article here):

Some believe you’re either a business leader (great motivator or figurehead, for example) or a creative type who quietly sits in the corner like the gifted (or “mad” scientist) — and bingo, another killer product is born! Well perhaps we now have highly visible evidence that you can do both, although the leadership side is much easier to dissect.

For example, the most innovative work environment you can create is one where it’s safe for success – one that allows your team to take risks and offer suggestions for improvements, even if small mistakes occur. Some of the best advancements in a company come from people who are in customer-facing positions, on the front lines.

In one national independent study we commissioned among 586 workers, 91 percent felt that it’s positive for morale when managers even change course after getting employee feedback. Too often, there’s a logjam of ideas emanating from your people up the chain of command — due to territorialism. So things stay status quo.

Steve Jobs and Apple kept to the vision, but also kept the pulse on the ever-changing customers needs, 24/7, as the best marketers do.

Certainly Apple has its challenges ahead. But do you – in trying to create a fertile environment for creativity while managing a team? Do you seek to make your workplace safe for success? I would venture that some of these approaches came naturally to Steve and will be part of the continuing management culture.

For tips on how to be a good leader, continue to