Is a good leader the same as what matters most to you in a leader?
These two questions crossed my mind as I was reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers.
In a fit of insomnia, I read 100 pages of the 571-page tome in the middle of the night last night just after I found an article in November’s Real Simple magazine about “What Matters to You Most in a Leader?”
Real Simple was posing the question in light of Election Day, but it’s relevant in light of Obama’s inauguration, too.
Answers from Real Simple readers included:
- “An open mind and a tolerant attitude.”
- “Kindness and sympathy.”
- “The ability to help people with opposing viewpoints find common ground.”
Meanwhile, Isaacson uses words like “bratty,” “arrogant,” “demanding” and “harsh” to describe the perfectionist behind such products as the Macintosh personal computer and iEverything.
Which leads me to wonder, “Is what we want in a leader what we really need?”
After reading just the beginning of Jobs’ biography, I know I’d never have made it at Apple Computers. I would have hated working for such a jerk. Yet I admire the work of that jerk.
I wonder if, like a spoiled 5-year-old who gets everything she wants and then throws tantrums anyway, we’re getting exactly what we ask for in our politicians and business leaders?