What have Steve Jobs and Gary Barlow got in common?

NOTHING!!!!
But what can we learn from their disparate method of getting the best from the people they come into contact with?

Steve Jobs as we know is the founder and until recently was the CEO of Apple but what do we know about his management style?

As early as 1981, Macintosh project founder Jef Raskin wrote a note to Apple president Mike Scott complaining about the chairman of the board-enfant terrible that seemed to grow an interest in his pet project. It said:

Jobs regularly misses appointments

He acts without thinking and with bad judgement

He does not give credit where due

Jobs often reacts ad hominem (attack of a person’s character or circumstances)

He makes absurd and wasteful decisions by trying to be paternal

He interrupts and doesn’t listen

He does not keep promises or meet commitments

He makes decisions ex cathedra (As if he was infallible)

Optimistic estimates

Jobs is often irresponsible and inconsiderate

In short he is a bully, who intimidates others, has a short temper and for me is completely at odds with perceived modern management styles.

So why did this work for him, and why did so many of his team stay and take it.

The answer is simple but not easy to replicate, so don’t try this at home

He has amazing charisma, self-belief, is visionary and has an unswerving focus on the end result.

If something doesn’t work change it.

On the other hand Gary Barlow is noted for his amazing creative talent and charitable work.
Gary’s charity efforts in 2009, including his organising of the BT Comic Relief Kilimanjaro Climb and his organising of ‘Children In Need Rocks’, raised in excess £6 million.

In addition to the charity events organised by Gary, the pop star has also shown support for fellow artists’ charity efforts including that of Ronan Keating. The pair belted out Take That’s Back for Good written by Barlow at Ronan’s Emerald and Ivy Ball in Battersea, South London, on Saturday. The starry bash raised £650,000 for Cancer Research UK.

His organisation of a very special event at the Royal Albert Hall went ahead in November 2009 and was broadcast the following week. This saw a meeting of Take That with Robbie Williams on stage and a number of unusual. Gary dedicated the band’s song “Rule the World” to “everyone whose lost someone – Dad, this is for you”. It was a very special night raising £2M and ending with Gary seeming to promise it could be an annual event.

It was announced in December 2009 that Barlow had been awarded the prestigious Blue Peter Gold Badge, awarded for outstanding achievements and inspiring children to realise their talents and achieve.

At the beginning of May 2010, it was announced that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had asked Gary Barlow to organise her 85th birthday and her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. A source said: “Her Majesty has been made well aware of his charity work and the events he has put together. She knows that Gary has got the power to pull in the big names across the music industry and to ensure it’s a party to match the occasion” Taken from Wikipedia.

All very impressive and selfless stuff, for me though the true measure of the man and the lesson that we can lean from him was illustrated on Saturday’s X Factor.

A second time around auditionee and in truth one with no talent other than the ability to embarrass himself refused to leave the stage when he was given 4 no’s by the judging panel.

Indeed he laid down on the stage refusing to leave protesting that this was his (home), he was born to be here and ‘owned it’.

Mr Cowell, I suspect would have immediately called for security and have had the man bodily removed.

Not Mr Barlow. With the situation becoming increasingly awkward and possibly aggressive and the show being held up, Gary calmly raised himself from his chair, much to the surprise of his fellow judges, and walked slowly to the stage.

He stopped, picked up the performer’s coat, that had been theatrically discarded, walked resolutely to the man, placed his hand under his arm and lifted him gently to his feet. He thanked him for coming to see them and for the time taken during the audition and calmly walked him off the stage.

The situation was thus diffused with no further escalation of tension and Mr Barlow covered himself with glory and showed himself to be an excellent mediator with an innate sense of how to handle people.

One of the greatest challenges today to a company’s success is the retention of top talent.

So whose example therefore should we follow? Jobs or Barlow, Barlow every time.

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