Welcome to the More Than Sound podcast. In this episode, Daniel Goleman reflects, with Anthony Gell, on what set Steve Jobs apart as a leader at Apple.
Anthony Gell- If we could start now with a topical question. And that is, with all your collected wisdom about leadership and CEO skills and what makes people be successful, if we can talk about Steve Jobs. Obviously, back on October 6th we lost Steve Jobs, and people like Barak Obama said the world has lost a visionary. So, can we ask you, what is it you think that made Steve Jobs such a great CEO and even icon?
Daniel Goleman- Well, he was a leader, he wasn’t a manager. In fact he wasn’t very good at managing. He knew that. But he was fantastic at inspiring people. And motivating them and setting a direction. Not only a direction, a visionary direction. What was remarkable about Steve Jobs is that he pushed the boundaries. He didn’t take things as a given. He looked at the system and reinvented it. So we got the iPod the iPhone the iPad, and that takes great vision. So he had all of the elements of someone who can change things permanently. He was able to see what other people couldn’t, he was able to understand how to get there and he was able to move people to make it happen.
AG- I mean, his products are world famous and how do you think he’s been able to get such a cult following? Both internally and also externally? Do you think he had a great emotional intelligence?
DG- haha, I think like everyone else he was a mixed picture. And think some people some people found him not so emotionally intelligent and some people saw that he was superb. And by the way, Emotional intelligence is not one thing. It’s a spectrum of abilities, from self awareness to managing yourself to empathy to relationship management and within each of those domains there are several abilities. So Steve Jobs was fantastic at inspired leadership. He was fantastic in his ability to vision and to share that vision. He wasn’t fantastic in every other way, but you don’t need to be. That’s the good news.
AG- What would you say are the attributes or characteristics –putting Steve Jobs aside for a second- but just generally the top 1 or 2 percent of leaders, the star leaders, if you like.
DG- Well, I was just going over some data about that with my associates at the hay group. And what we’ve been finding is that leaders who are able to exhibit a high level of competence, like the drive to achieve, or emotional self awareness, or empathy, or relationship building, who are able to excel at a half dozen or more of those emotional intelligence abilities, are also able to exhibit leadership styles that create a very positive organizational climate. That climate in turn predicts 30 percent of business results. So it starts with managing your self and then managing your relationship and then exhibiting the abilities of leaders to set a vision, that is, a vision that moves people, speak from the heart to the heart. Who are also able to help other people get better. Coach them. Who are able to know when to get a consensus decision instead of just top down. Who know that having a good time together isn’t a waste of time. It builds relationship strength so people will be there for each other. It’s people like that who are able to create a climate that drives performance.