If you have any doubt about how leadership is personal, checkout Steve Jobs. Doesn’t matter what you think about the smart folks in Cupertino, CA or their products. The bottomline is that the organization we know as Apple rises and falls on Steve Jobs.
Jobs announced he’s taking a medical leave. He’s continuing as CEO but taking a break to concentrate on his health. The timing is not an accident (almost everything Apple does is thoughtful and careful, in my opinion). The US markets were closed for MLK Day, but the first report from overseas was that Apple stock dropped 8% in Frankfurt on the news. The day after the announcement, Apple’s stock dropped, rallied and generally fluttered about.
I rest my case. Jobs’ health directly impacts Apple’s health.
And I, like you, have heard about Jobs’ notorious temper and his take-no-prisoners approach to meetings and subordinates. I’m not sure I’d want to work with Jobs. But he is Apple’s leader.
There is no substitute for “you.”
You have to take care of yourself. Your health matters. So eat right, hit the gym or treadmill or whatever. And see your doctor. You can’t let it slide.
You have to take care of yourself emotionally and spiritually. As one who knows very well the hazards of not taking this to heart, it is bad (disastrous) for everyone when a leader doesn’t stay true emotionally or spiritually.
You have to show up. The good folks that work with you need to see you and hear from you. Emails won’t do it. You have to be present. A buddy was telling me last week about one of her early mentors in the software business. He was the CEO of a software company poised to go public. He took time every day to deliver the FedEx packages throughout the office. When she offered to take over the job because his time was too valuable to be spent delivering overnight packages, he let her in on his secret: that was the time when he could connect with the people on the front lines. He wasn’t delivering packages, he was leading.
I’m sure you can come up with other ways that leadership is personal. Let us hear how leadership is personal to you. What’s been your experience? I’d love to hear what you think.
Oh, and get well Steve…
UPDATE: FastCompany has an interesting article on “Why Apple Could Fall Without Steve.”
(photo credit: Danny Novo)