There continues to be a significant amount of chatter about Steve Jobs’ new biography. People are reading his book hoping to learn what Steve’s secret to success was so they can emulate him. I would recommend that Steve’s book come with a large warning label that informs users about the risk associated with copying all of Steve’s behaviors. Something like “Use at your own risk, this product is not meant to be used as a roadmap for success.”
Some may disagree with me, especially those leaders who are looking for a way to justify their bad behavior. Those who use “passionate” to describe themselves, I have to ask you if that really is a code word for tyrant? Those who say they are being “direct and honest” when they tell someone they are stupid, isn’t that really just sugar coating what they are really up to, which is just being rude? I have found that leaders, who behave badly, fool themselves into thinking they are justified in their actions because they believe they are brilliant. It is time for leaders to stop drinking their own Kool-Aid and to start to understand people will out-perform for a leader who inspires rather than creates fear. So who are these inspirational leaders? Just look around you, every organization is filled with them. They are not necessarily the people with the biggest personalities but those leaders who are quietly inspiring and building great teams of individuals that are getting the work done.
An important lesson to be learned from Steve Jobs’ biography is that he was successful despite his bad behavior, not because of it.