Steve Jobs

5 Workplace Leadership Lessons as Told by Steve Jobs

Excitement seems to fill the air anytime a tech industry giant releases a new, shiny item to the public. The promise of the latest innovations suddenly being available at our fingers tips can be an exciting and awe-inspiration revelation. However, these breakthroughs don’t just happen overnight; innovation is the result of many different people with a wide range of skills coming together for the purpose of achieving a common goal.

No one knew this better than Apple Co-Founder, Steve Jobs. While Steve Jobs is best known for bringing the world the iPod and iPhone, his words about what it takes to be a leader have arguably made an equal impact on the way companies do business today. By the time he passed away in 2011, Jobs had become an icon – not just because of the tools he oversaw the creation of during his time at Apple, but for the leadership lessons he left behind.

Here are five workplace leadership lessons that are applicable to any office, as told by Steve Jobs:

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

Time is, somehow, an underrated resource. You can’t make more of it, but you can certainly learn to manage it more effectively. Make sure you’re communicating your schedule clearly to your team and expecting the same in return. This is where consistency counts! While we all might organize our priorities different at work, a clear and consistent time management plan can help all teams make the most of the time they have.

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

Human beings are not perfect; the projects we work on won’t be perfect, either! Rather than running from this fact, it pays to embrace it. Find a way to openly and comfortably share feedback with your team, and avoid bigger issues down the road by addressing mistakes head-on and early.

“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

There are no shortcuts to leadership. Even if you might the only one who knows about a corner that was cut on the way to a final product, these shortcomings have a way of bubbling to the surface eventually. Make sure you have quality checks and balances in place to thoroughly review the work you oversee.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful – that’s what matters to me.”

Money is great, but purpose-driven leadership creates a lasting impact. Is your team inspired by the work that’s being done? Can you proudly share the impact of your work with friends and family? These are questions that tie back to your fundamental, core values as a leader.

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

You can’t rely on technology to do the work for you. At the end of the day, technology is just a tool to help your teammates do their jobs more effectively. The real work, ideas and inspiration comes from the human beings using these tools. Trust your team and give them the room (and tools) they need to grow, and you may just be surprised by the results.

Steve Jobs became a symbol of innovation because of more than just apps and flashy premieres; his leadership provided a pathway to the future to the teams he led and the audiences he inspired. Do you have any favorite workplace leadership lessons from Steve Jobs? Share them below in the comments section!

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