It took me more than 6-months each to read The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life few years ago, followed by Steve Jobs biography last year. Though, I reached the end of Steve Jobs’s bio, 50% of the book is still unread.
Then last week, I read two great articles, one in Wired magazine critiquing Steve Jobs’s ‘social-etiquettes-are-for-the-weak‘ style, titled, The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale? followed by Fortune magazine’s feature on See’s candies (the iPad version has audio/video of Buffett) which alluded to Warren Buffett’s ‘always-looking-for-a-situation-to-crack-a-joke‘ management style.
Here are two great leaders whose works are impregnated into the minds of the entrepreneurs and are tested during trying times, and then with opposing styles.
I personally get conflicted of which approach is better. Some of the thoughts I keep pondering:
- Do you hire a missionary or mercenary?
- Empathy with people or metric-driven connectedness?
- Products over dead bodies?
- Micro-management vs. trusting your team?
- Honest with your opinion or diplomatic?
- Arrogance vs humility when dealing with employees vs customers?
Over the years, I have learnt that no single approach wins, and more than that it’s a matter of personal style, your own temperament, etc. However, we always look for case-studies in testing times. We learn from others and their mistakes. The challenge is which one to adopt and how do I know a specific behaviour is suited for a personal style.
Time will tell, but the torrent of conflict continues and the quest for wisdom is hungrier than never before.
Off-topic: I seriously feel that Walter Isaacson should do a bio on Buffett.