Comparative Leader Analysis
Leadership skill is just one of the many factors that a manager or a head of a team must posses in order to fully attain the goals of any organization he/she is affiliated at. There are still other human factors that are of very important in efficiently handling situations for the benefit of the entire organization. There is the ability to politicize with other people who contribute to the ease of making business deals with other people, and the educational attainment of the leader to structuralize the plans and strategies of the organization.
But let us set aside first these other traits that a leader must posses and focus more on the ways by which leaders handle their organization in their own “creative way”.
This paper would consider Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Company and Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc. as leaders to be compared in terms of their ways on dealing things or solving problems since there are some leaders that see one thing as an opportunity while other/s are not. Basically, this paper will compare and contrast the leadership qualities of Ballmer and Jobs.
Steve Ballmer is an aggressive type of leader and wants to grab all the possible opportunities in the market. Well, it is justifiable since Microsoft serves to be the largest hardware-software provider in the world that is why Ballmer is not free to let their competitors take over their market dominance. Ballmer is known for its “love” for Microsoft and this value judgment of Ballmer towards Microsoft made a lot of investors to become a part time owner of the said company. The passion that is being shared by Ballmer into its job would be enough for the investors to feel secured about investing in Microsoft. As most of the people say, Ballmer is not the typical “serious” minded person just to portray his position, but rather, a “funny” yet responsible leader in his own way. Moreover, just like the other typical CEO’s, Ballmer also is an innovative person in such a way that he seems to be not contented with what Microsoft can exactly provide into their customers. In short, he wants to push the limits of Microsoft in terms of further developing their product to preserve their market dominance.
On the other hand, Steve Jobs is a serious type of leader and somehow dependent since most of the key parts of their products are being developed by other companies from other countries like Japan. In short, they are just mainly assembling the computers. Although Apple is trying their best to become as innovative as they could, still, the reputation of their product in terms of the quality is being put into test. There are a lot of market rumors regarding faulty parts of Apple products like in iPod. In other words, Steve Jobs and his team are more concerned about the quantity and timeliness of their products and putting fewer premiums on the quality aspects.
Success and Failures
Steve Ballmer was able to launch their new version of Microsoft software- Vista. The said software of Microsoft is currently being introduced in the international market slowly but surely. Most of the features of Microsoft Vista are “improved” features of previous OS of Microsoft and some of its new significant features are the “Windows DVD Maker” or the “multimedia creation tool”, “Windows Aero” which progress the “searching features” of Microsoft. Aside from the new OS of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer was also able to acquire the Zune Digital Music Player to boosts their product lines in the market and to grab the opportunity of growing market for on line music stores today. Moreover, it is a good way of advertising the name of Microsoft if they would engage into the booming industry of online music. But currently, the plan of Microsoft of acquiring Google did not come into reality. The nature and reason of the refusal of Google to Microsoft was not disclose into the public but some people are making rumors that the reason of Google refusal to merging was the price of Google. It is said that Google had a lot of demands and, as said earlier, an expensive one.
On the other hand, Steve Jobs successfully launched iPod in the market and now entering the European market. Although iPod faced a lot of problems in terms of quality aspects, but currently those problems are already being addressed by Apple like faulty screens and batteries of iPod. In terms of the innovative perspective, Apple got the vote of most of the consumers for being the firsts to offer the market with media player that is less bulky but has a large memory space. This is the reason why iPod earned market acceptance in just a short period of time. Moreover, Steve Jobs alongside with the Apple management was able to develop a device that has the features of a cellular phone and a media player-iPhone. The said new product line of Apple under the brand of iPod is currently on its promotional period since with was only launched a few months back.
One of the failures of Steve Jobs is to provide its investors their dividends. It was found out that Apple has not been giving to their investors for a couple of years and this is the reason why investors think twice before putting their capital into Apple.
Reasons of becoming a Leader
It was already mentioned above that Steve Ballmer and Steve Jobs are all leaders in their own way. The reason Steve Ballmer can be considered as a leader is due to the fact that he effectively made Microsoft the market leader for software and hardware industry as well as gaining market dominance. Because of his devotion to Microsoft, he gives value to their employees and customers thus establishing a good working environment between the said parties. Steve Ballmer was also able to handle the creation of additional jobs in the market while maintaining the profitability of the company. In short, he knows pretty well the various aspects of every unit of Microsoft from down to top level management.
On the other hand, Steve jobs is also a leader since he successfully maintain a zero debt or financial obligations. In short, Apple has a smooth flow of cash and profitability. This enables them to attract investors despite the fact that they are not yet paying the dividends of their current investors. Maybe Apple is using the budget for dividends for their expansion programs for the meantime and just pays the investors later on. Moreover, because of the “seriousness” of Steve Jobs, workers are exposed to a lot of responsibilities that serves to build the skills of the latter in managing the company. In short, employees of Apple are being influenced by Jobs to give their best in everything that they do in the company.
Before Steve Ballmer became the CEO of Microsoft he was then considered a very authoritative person with short temper. Because of this, there are a lot of employees then that were not happy working with Ballmer. But things got change when Ballmer assumed the position of CEO in Microsoft, slowly, he how to handle his temper and direct it into something else. Ballmer is now currently being guided by the democratic leadership. He let his managers to speak first and listen before giving suggestions and participates in the activity if ever needed (Hamm, 1999). With this, Ballmer was able to get the sympathy of his subordinates and it really boosts his relationship to the managers of the company.
On the other hand, Steve Jobs is more of an aggressive type of leader thus uses authoritarian leadership (Wagner, 2007). He wants to do things according to his plan and always monopolizing the exchange of ideas. He wants his ideas to be implemented regardless of the opposition of the manager or the company. Like for instance, Steve Jobs his development team 8 months to create the “iPod” and no possible reason of delay would be entertained. Because of this authoritarian way of managing the company of Steve Jobs, he was able to create high standards of executing strategies and any other company related decisions. With this, the quality of the outputs that is being provided by the Apple employees is of high value. Steve Jobs was able to use the authoritarian way of leading people towards the success of Apple Inc. despite of the negative connotation associated to the said kind of leadership style. Moreover, Steve Jobs aggressiveness contributes to the easiness of Apple Inc to penetrate the market even though there is a very tight competition.
As for the Microsoft Company, the decision of Steve Ballmer to acquire aQuantive Inc., an online ad company, is something that is justifiable despite of the costs of the said company (Businessweek.com, 2007). Due to the failure of MSN site to compete at par with Yahoo Inc and Google Inc, aQuantive Inc is being expected to take the place of MSN to revitalize the online advertising system of Microsoft.
On the other hand, the decision of Steve Jobs to launch iPod in the market given the short time of developing the said gadget is the right thing to implement due to the rumors that their competitor is also developing a media player same of the concept of iPod. If their competitor was the first one to launch the said product in the market, it would be hard for Apple to penetrate the market since people might think that they just copied the product of their competitor. With this, the decision of Jobs in launching iPod after 8 months of development period is understandable and the right thing to do considering the threat available in the market.
Steve Ballmer finished his studies at Harvard University and known for being a “school leader” for he handled various organizations during his college years. Ballmer also handled a lot of divisions of Microsoft during his early years in eth said company and before joining the Microsoft family, Ballmer served two years in Procter and Gamble Co. as an assistant product manager.
Steve Jobs was honored by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and become part of the “California Hall of Fame” this coming December and he is also a recipient of Pres. Reagan’s “National Medal of Technology” and the “Jefferson Award for Public Service” in the 1980’s.
Businessweel.com. (2007). Microsoft Pays $6B for Online Ad Company. Retrieved November 22, 2007, from http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/may2007/db20070518_719727.htm?chan=search
Hamm, S. (1999). I’m Trying to Let Other People Dive in before I Do. Retrieved November 22, 2007, from http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_20/b3629004.htm
Wagner, K. V. (2007). Lewin’s Leadership Styles. Retrieved November 22, 2007 from http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/a/leadstyles.htm
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