Home Lead Years Ago, Steve Jobs Said There's 1 Simple Choice

Years Ago, Steve Jobs Said There's 1 Simple Choice

That Separates Leaders From Bosses. This timeless Steve Jobs strategy could be a game changer for micromanagers.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Great leaders understand that micromanagement and rigid directives can be hindrances to progress. The late and brilliant Steve Jobs understood this and brought a refreshing perspective to the table when leading Apple:

It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.

Steve Jobs advocated for a culture of trust and empowerment, which is essential to any organization. This mindset asserts that when you bring intelligent and creative minds on board, it's not just for them to follow orders but to leverage their abilities in shaping the course of action.

Three focus areas

As with any other top-performing professionals, knowledge workers take pride in their work and aim to deliver exceptional customer service. Additionally, they are enthusiastic about advancing their career paths and exploring new growth opportunities. Leaders should prioritize three main focus areas to motivate and inspire knowledge workers:

1. Redistribute decision-making power

First, they should consider redistributing decision-making power. In a knowledge-based economy, traditional top-down management styles where information doesn't travel both ways will eventually fail.

Employees often know more than their bosses about their areas of specialization. They may also better understand the customer's needs, preferences, and expectations, which can help solve problems, provide an excellent customer experience, and foster innovation.

As famed management thinker Peter Drucker once said, "Knowledge workers must manage themselves. They have to have autonomy."

2. Build community

Building a strong community as a leader requires developing solid relationships with your most valued workers. This entails getting to know who they are, including the events that have shaped their lives, aspirations, and future goals.

By fostering such relationships and strong bonds, leaders can promote great collaboration, which is critical to supporting a team atmosphere.

To achieve this, leaders leverage relationships to ensure alignment between their workers' personal goals and the company's business goals. Leaders must find a happy compromise that doesn't harm the business if misalignment occurs.

Additionally, leaders should value their workers' input on hiring and promotion decisions and even trust the team with new team member performance to show faith in their judgment.

Ultimately, ensuring a strong team approach requires leaders to set aside their egos and rely on the team's collective wisdom.

3. Listen more than talk

Building personal relationships with your employees is crucial to ensure they feel heard. This involves receptive leadership, where leaders listen to their employees' opinions, ask them what matters most to them, and genuinely involve them in the direction they want to go. Steve Jobs was clear about the strength of listening first when he said:

Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.

While leaders need to strategically listen to the ideas and insights of people at lower levels, it's often difficult to "lean down" as you move up the organization's hierarchy. It requires time, patience, and a belief in others' power and capacity. But when you take a more humble approach and master the practice of active listening, it's often a game changer.

You begin to listen intuitively to the other person's story, ask questions, and search conversations for depth, meaning, and understanding with other people's ideas and needs in mind. This is what you want in your future leaders. It's the ability to respond and engage others with your ears to remove obstacles and help them succeed.

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