The Inhumanity of Steve Jobs

In the tributes to Steve Jobs that have been made over the past few weeks I found it interesting that so little was said about how poorly he treated people.

While there’s no debating that he was a genius of industrial design, he was also legendary for his combativeness and mean-spiritedness when dealing with others. We can only wonder what more he could have accomplished and how much easier his own life would have been if he had had a healthy management style.

Corporate suffering is directly related to how those in power behave. With so many idolizing the brilliant products Jobs created, we can only hope that people differentiate his design genius from his management approach and seek only to emulate the former.

The conundrum of Steve Jobs was that he was able to so clearly put himself in the shoes of the user in all of his products but, from all accounts, never able to do so with his employees.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life ( to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company,, and She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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