It may be one of the greatest management style conundrums of all times in business. Many people have concluded that Steve Jobs lacked emotional intelligence. He was frequently aloof from his children, spent many years estranged from his first daughter and was often prickly as a husband. He was indecisive when he felt unsure about something and yet he craved perfection and had an insatiable desire to control things. He tended to see the world in binary terms and was stymied by things that were grey, shaded, or nuanced.
As a result, products were either perfect or garbage. People were either heroes or zeroes. People were allowed to challenge Jobs at work but they had to be prepared to be attacked by him, to be yelled at, to have their heads bitten off. He frequently berated employees so badly that they quit rather than put up with his tirades. Not only was he a bear with his own family and with employees but he also treated customers the same way.
More than one person has wondered what Steve Jobs could have accomplished if he actually had some emotional intelligence. And yet he took over a company that was 90 days away from bankruptcy when he rejoined it in 1997. 14 years later, before he died, it was the most valuable company in the world.
How could one actually do better than that? How could an individual so wanting in emotional intelligence manage to create two such incredible companies as Pixar and Apple and then go on to recreate Apple and turn it into a cultural icon?
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