What did Steve Jobs say about Leadership?

What did Steve Jobs say about Leadership?

In my latest book, The “God” in Coaching, a personal development book, I declared that I was a rebel! My entire life I have been the curious cat … driving people crazy with my questions … challenging people to rise up and truly be the best that they can be.
Guess who else was a rebel? Steve Jobs. My hero. As one of the most creative minds of the 20th and 21st century, and a brilliant visionary, he forever changed how we think about innovation. Like me Steve was a vegan. It seems the vegan diet greatly lengthened his life because I understand he had pancreatic cancer for 30 years.

During one of his speeches, Steve made a provocative statement, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Love that quote!
So the question is, as a leader how do we encourage innovation?

I have a firm belief that if a leader creates a family atmosphere in their organization, the employees will feel safe which then creates a playground for creativity – in other words they take risks, think outside of the norm and do their work without fear of reprisal or getting fired and so on.
There are numerous ways to create that playground, to breathe life and fun into the organization, many of which you will find in the chart below. For example, it is conceivable that Steve encouraged his employees to also eat vegan because his cafeterias were stocked with vegan foods. There is no doubt in my mind that a vegan diet helps us be innovative. Why? Because we think more clearly. We don’t have the karma from eating flesh and dairy to clog up our cells. We are not filling out bodies with the animal’s fear. Incidentally, Google employees can also enjoy free vegetarian food every day!

Customers like doing business with positive people. The key to having positive innovative people in the organization is a Leader who cares.

When you see your staff smiling constantly, when they accomplish their jobs with zest and responsibility and when they go that extra mile to make the organization successful, you know they’re happy.
“When your staff succeeds, so do you.”
27 Ways to Create a Family Atmosphere for Innovative Thinking
Excerpts from “Creating Champions” by Betska K-Burr

  • Know your people by name, staff and customers
  • Share your organization’s dreams with staff and customers
  • Ask them to participate in achieving those dreams
  • Remember birthdays
  • Remember service anniversaries
  • Create a “Gratitude Board” where everyone can express their gratitude. Evangeline George ND in her book Create
  • Calm at Work reports that 74% of 2,000 American survey participants said they never or rarely expressed gratitude to their boss.
  • Implement a service recognition program
  • Encourage a vegan diet a la Steve Jobs
  • Provide free coaching services, allow them to choose a coach
  • Have regular lunchmeet sessions where you communicate new organizational happenings or goals
  • Bring in motivational speakers to give your employees a different perspective on their lives (such as a brain surgeon or olympic athlete, a small symphony orchestra)
  • Allow staff to decorate their own workspace
  • Allocate a special quiet room where employees can turn their brain off and meditate/pray – be in the silence.
  • Once again, Evangeline George states “Meditation has been found to improve creativity and helps people to find solutions to problems. Research showed that certain areas of the brain related to this were activated for 5 hours after meditation!” Awesome, Evangeline.
  • Organize lunchtime yoga classes. Yoga greatly relieves stress and calms the mind so that creativity can easily flow.
  • Give staff access to free self-coaching tools to encourage positive thinkingGet feedback by developing a system in which you listen to your people and take their suggestions seriously
  • Implement a recognition and praise program for all employees
  • Smile and be happy even when the chips are down. You’ll be amazed how it helps solve problems
  • Celebrate your organization’s birthday every year. Treat everyone to lunch. Invite the employees’ families to a barbecue, or organize an evening hoedown
  • Car Rally
  • Karaoke Night
  • Cookie Exchange
  • Have a staff lunch with managers serving the lunch
  • Put names in a hat — you bring lunch for the name you pick
  • Share recipes
  • Organize a Treasure Hunt. Prizes are hidden around the building and are found when employees crack the code behind lines of poetry
  • Declare a “Non-Stress Day”


Betska K Burr

Betska is Co-President at Coaching and Betska is often referred to as The Guru Coach™ by her students and clients.She is Co-President at Coaching and Leadership International Inc. Having developed 80+ award-winning coaching and leadership methodologies which enrich a Leader’s competencies and bring peace into their life, she leads the Instructor Team at the CLI School for Mind-Kinetics® Coaching.

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