Good lesson – tell your employees what you expect from them, and how it fits with the company’s mission.  Clarity enables them to focus – and that equals a successful team and happy boss!

So what did I learn from Steve Jobs?

I learned that you must pay incredible attention to what someone wants to do when you hire them. If what they want isn’t exactly what the company needs, you shouldn’t hire them, no matter how smart, driven, or successful they are. In hindsight, Steve probably shouldn’t have hired me. If someone isn’t working out in the position you hired him or her for, it rarely turns around. If the fit is wrong, as a leader you should end it quickly, but not aggressively, and don’t make it about the person. I remember when I walked out the door he said, “Life is long and I’m sure our paths will cross again.” And sure enough, Steve and I stayed in touch.

Steve also taught me about transparency. He was actually a bit of a contradiction when it comes to this, because while he was great at marketing and coming up with fresh ideas, he wasn’t a great communicator. He tended to sit back and not tell his staff what he expected from them. From watching him operate, I learned to always let my employees know what I want and expect from them at the outset. If you explain to your employees what your company’s goals are and why, it will be motivating for everyone involved.

Building relationships first and doing business second is another lesson I learned from working with Steve. When you are going into a new situation, build relationships with people before anything else. Make sure everyone is on board before you make decisions or you will alienate people (sometimes your best ones) in the process.


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