#Nextchat: Is there Still a Place for Bold, Top-Down Leadership?

In a recent New York Times article “Tough Guys Rule for a Reason,” Alan Goldman argues that “Aggressive, bold, top-down leadership directly associated with the male animal may be under attack but it is still quite effective,” and that “despite current attempts at demonizing old school male behavior, it continues to rule.”

Under Steve Jobs' leadership, Apple became the most valuable corporation on the face of the earth. This colossal achievement helped establish Jobs as the greatest CEO of our time. Was Steve Jobs also the greatest leader of our time? He certainly had a broad following of disciples at Apple – some worshipped the ground he walked on; others who suffered the wrath of his autocratic and abrasive behavior, held a contrary view.

In the final analysis a corporation’s CEO is expected to deliver results. This drives everything else. I’m the first to admit that my own leadership modus operandi was top-down, bold, demanding, and controlling. Yet, that style of leadership did not detract from the organization’s ability to recruit and retain outstanding people with varied skills and diverse personalities. I was not their friend or their confidant. But, there wasn’t a doubt that my passion and incessant quest for the very best garnered their respect. So when I said, “Great job” personally or collectively and handed out fat performance bonuses to back it up, motivation and personal development accelerated. This entrenched a culture of creativity, innovation, focus, and hustle. That culture enabled the company to deliver 12 uninterrupted increases in annual profitability.

My favorite saying? “Those who demand nothing but the best are usually the ones who get it.”

Please join @weknownext at 3 p.m. ET on June 12 for #Nextchat with special guest John Bell (@johnrichardbell). We’ll chat about a leadership style considered by many as outdated and ineffective in the 21st century

Q1. How do seemingly impossible, aggressive, bold leaders inspire?

Q2. What personality qualities make these less conventional leaders successful?

Q3. Should leaders adapt their style for different employees/situations? Why or why not?

Q4. What is the difference between forceful leadership and bullying in the workplace?

Q5. What should HR look for when recruiting for an organization lead by a bold leader?

Q6. When can bold leaders be a nightmare for HR?

Q7. What forces in an organization can thwart aggressive but effective leadership?

Q8. In your opinion, was Steve Jobs a good leader? Why or why not?

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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