Why was Steve Jobs such a good leader?
A professor from a leading university has looked at why Steve Jobs was such a good leader.
According to the new research, Steve Jobs provides business leaders with a perfect template of how to deliver expertly tailored rhetoric.
The late Apple boss was a master of the art of effective and persuasive speaking, employing various strategies to adapt to different scenarios and situations, while still delivering a constant message, according to Loizos Heracleous and Laura Klaering, of Warwick Business School.
Their paper, Charismatic Leadership and Rhetorical Competence: An Analysis of Steve Jobs’ Rhetoric looked at how Jobs adapted his rhetoric for different situations.
Using Aristotle’s classic tools of persuasion – ethos, pathos and logos – the study looked at how Jobs used each of them in different situations, from the courtroom to a TV interview and a conference on digital technology.
Professor Heracleous believes leaders in business and public can learn a lot from the rhetorical skills exhibited by Jobs and “employ them to increase followers’ belief in their charisma as well as their own effectiveness as a persuasive speaker”.
He comments: “We found that Jobs did not exhibit a single rhetorical style, but rather altered it depending on the situation, and yet still managed to deliver a constant message to support his company’s strategy.
“Our research highlights how it is important for leaders first to be clear about the central themes they wish to emphasise and second to employ these across all situations where they have to speak publicly, no matter what the context.
“But they have to be aware of the context in using the right mix of persuasive strategies for the occasion, whether that is ethos, pathos or logos. Further, Jobs’ rhetoric drew from figurative language, using stories and metaphors to emphasise his messages.
“Stories and metaphors are more memorable than statistics, which accounts for his effectiveness in delivering memorable messages.
“Jobs was brilliant at choosing the right mix of persuasive strategies. This combined with the stability of his central messages was his great rhetorical skill.”