In March 2015, Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple Inc., one of the world’s biggest technology companies, was recognized as the greatest leader by Fortune magazine thanks to his effective leadership. Apple is a globally famous company from the US that works in production, designing, and selling mobile devices, digital music players, networking solutions, computers, software, as well as third-party digital applications content. Even though Tim Cook is frequently compared to his forerunner and renowned founder of the firm Steve Jobs, he has shown numerous unique strengths in his leadership. From when Steve Jobs appointed him as his successor, Cook has transformed himself from a person who was a soft spoken operations manager, to an individual who is a high profile leader for the Apple company. Cook was born in Alabama in 1960. He is a graduate of Auburn University in 1982, where he attained a bachelors degree in industrial engineering. He also obtained an advanced degree from Duke University where he graduated with an MBA in 1988. Cook is very passionate about arguing against discrimination, which he got the opportunity to experience during his childhood in Alabama. Cook argues that remarkable and extraordinary individuals were often denied opportunities and segregated because of the color of their skin.
History of Company
Apple Inc. is an American multinational corporation that deals in various types of technologies. The organization is headquartered in California. The company designs, manufactures, and sells computer software, electronics, as well as offers online services. Some of the products that the company specializes in include the iPad, iPhone, iPod, Mac computer, Apple TV, as well as the Apple smartwatch. Some of the software that the company develops include iOS and Mac OS operating systems, the Safari web browser, iTunes, as well as the iWork and iLife productivity and creativity suites. Some of its online services encompass the iOS App Store, iTunes Store, iCloud, Apple music, as well as the Mac App store. The company was established by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak in 1976 to design and manufacture personal computers (Finkle & Mallin, 2010). The company was finally incorporated as Apple Computer Inc. during 1977, but was later rebranded to Apple Inc during 2007 to exemplify its shift towards consumer electronics. The company was listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2015. The company is ranked as the worlds largest technology firm in terms of revenue, total assets, as well as the globe’s second biggest mobile phone manufacturer in terms of volume just behind Samsung (Marketline, 2016). However, the success of the company has lately been overshadowed by criticisms against the labor practices used by some of its contractors, as well as its environmental and business practices such as the sourcing of their raw materials.
CEO Leadership Style
During the recent announcements made by Apple about its new products have made people realize just how successful the company has become after the demise of Steve Jobs. After the death of the founding owner and CEO, Tim Cook assumed the position of the chief executive. However, the world knew very little about who he was, which led many individuals to question whether he would be successful at Apple. Unlike Steve Jobs who was happy being in the limelight, Tim Cook rarely enjoys being put in the spotlight. He would rather prefer to share accolades with the innovators who work tirelessly to ensure that Apple stays ahead of its competitors. Tim Cook displays situational leadership qualities (Northouse, 2010).
Situational leadership theories are explored from the manner in which leaders influence and lead their followers in various situations. Situational leadership theories emphasize that leadership is comprised of both supportive and directive aspects. However, each aspect has to be applied appropriately in diverse situations. This implies that leaders can influence their followers in various circumstances. Tim Cook has mastered the art of adjusting his responses and directions to suit situational needs (Northouse, 2010). He is often perceived as a coach to the staff at Apple because he leads them by offering them the skills they require to accomplish tasks successfully; while also allowing team members to have their personal collaborations geared at achieving team goals specified by the coach.
Even though many people doubted the leadership qualities and abilities of Tim Cook, he has been able to proof his capabilities not only to the company, but also to all the customers of Apple. Tim Cook decided to emphasize on the existing products and relations with the current employees of the company. During the recent launch of the companys new products, an existing iPhone was fixed after encountering technical challenges after it was released to the market, the Apple smartwatch was enhanced, and a new Ipad pro model was released to the market. A distinct feature of the new enhancements to the Apple smartwatch will be the ability of the health app to project the possibility of the owner suffering from seizures. This is a very significant innovation for individuals who are health conscious (Lashinsky, 2015). Nonetheless, Tim Cook did not devise these innovations on his own because he had assistance from a large team at Apple. Therefore, it was only fair that he shared the limelight with the people who worked endless nights to make the launch a reality.
Moreover, Tim Cook made use of his situational leadership skills during his address to the US government about issues concerning the unprecedented steps that could result in a compromise of the security and privacy of its customers (Cook, 2016). He firmly rejected and declined to fulfill the requests made by the federal bureau of investigations with regard to manufacturing a phone that would bypass critical security measures, which could expose its users’ information. In addition to rejecting the request, Cook also provided a critical report in defense of his decision citing various clauses provided in the laws of the US that prohibited such actions. Those who criticized Tim Cooks ability to take over the CEO position at Apple have developed a different perception of him. Cook has established a different leadership style at Apple in comparison to what his predecessor used. Since he has been successful, it is evident that leaders can have a strong influence on their followers if they use effective leadership styles. Tim Cook makes use of a situational leadership model, which has proven to be effective in the management of Apple Inc.
CEO Strengths and Weaknesses
The most valuable strengths associated with Tim Cook are his humility and emphasis on collaboration. Firstly, Tim places considerable value on collaboration among his followers. Tim Cook values employees who think of a new concept or idea that can be utilized the companys innovation and feel the urge to call him at midnight to discuss it. Tim Cook believes that because such employees are excited and passionate about their work, they have the drive to push their work even further to achieve the best results. Therefore, they need all the support that they can get from the management to make their work easier. Secondly, Timm Cook has demonstrated his humble nature through his actions and words. He values humility before others, and this has been manifested in several interviews (Lashinsky, 2015). He is always looking for individuals who are not political or bureaucratic. These are individuals who are willing to celebrate their innovations privately and care less if their names are not mentioned in the limelight. Tim Cook has also openly admitted to his imperfections. For instance, when the former software executive declined to sign a public apology for the failure of Apple maps, Tim Cook shouldered the responsibility of signing the document. This has inspired his subordinates to follow him.
Tim Cooks greatest weakness was the anticipation and anxiety that people had when he succeeded Steve Jobs who had significant persuasiveness and charisma. In contrast, Tim Cook lacks charisma and persuasiveness. Steve Jobs relished being put in the limelight, but Tim Cook has been forced to slowly adapt to the role of being the face of Apple in the public and the media. The second weakness associated with Tim Cook is his background in supplies management. Apple Inc. is a company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of technological devices, which is not the primary field in which Cook is specialized (Lashinsky, 2015). This means that he is not able to actively participate in the design and innovation process at Apple.
CEO Change for 21st Century
During his time as the chief executive officer of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs was heavily criticized personally not being a philanthropic person. This attribute was also manifested in the operations of Apple since its customers felt that the company was not fulfilling its corporate social responsibility. This is an image that Tim Cook needs to rectify by ensuring that Apple is more responsive to its corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility is a vital tool that enhances not only the image of the company, but also offers pride to the employees working in the organization. It cultivates loyalty and confidence in the customers knowing that the organization cares about other stakeholders in its environment.
Tim Cook, the current chief executive officer at Apple Inc., which is one of the largest technological companies around the globe, was acknowledged as the worlds greatest leader in the Fortune magazine. In his short stint as the CEO of Apple Inc., he has demonstrated the use of situational leadership to guide and influence his followers. His greatest strengths are humility and the value he attaches to collaboration. His biggest weaknesses include hist background in supplies management, which prevents him from being active in the innovation process at Apple, as well as his lack of charisma and persuasiveness associated with Steve Jobs. Despite often being compared to his predecessor and legendary founder of the company Steve Jobs, Tim Cook has displayed numerous unique strengths in his leadership.
Cook, T. (2016). A Message to Our Customers. Retrieved from http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/.
Finkle, T. A., & Mallin, M. L. (2010). Steve Jobs and Apple, Inc. Journal Of The International Academy For Case Studies, 16(7), 31-40.
Lashinsky, A. (2015). Apples Tim Cook leads different. Fortune.com. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/03/26/tim-cook/
Marketline. (2016). Apple Inc. company profile. Marketline, 1(1), 1-31.
Northouse, Peter G. (2016). Leadership, Theory and Practice, 7th ed. Los Angeles, Carlifornia: Sage Publications.