Steve Jobs and Oedipus Rex

Author: Sylvia Lafair
Published: February 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

As more and more information comes to light about the world changer and creative force, Steve Jobs, we see a very complex man with a super complex history.

In a recent article from the Washington Post we see, once again, the flaws in this man when he was in the process of getting FBI clearance for a government position.

While Jobs was charismatic and a visionary, he lacked some of the finer points of executive leadership skills. He wanted his way and would be vindictive if that was not the case. Actually this is very common in only children and if no one is willing to speak up, the behavior pattern of the persecutor/bully lives into adulthood.

Another aspect of Job’s nature was his obsession with perfection, commonly found in many adopted children. The original adoptee, whose life was the ultimate Greek tragedy, was Oedipus.  He, like Jobs, was taken from his biological parents.  While both achieved great heights in their lives,  there was always something not just quite right.

I am not judging, just observing. I am not diagnosing, just commenting.

We are all complex, multi-layered individuals who come from systems that determine much of how we will respond.

And then there is the other side of the coin, as McGregor points out in her article. That 35 people were able to talk about the shadow side of Jobs and still suggest he should get clearance to be in a position that would require utmost trust.

The FBI file shows us our own abilities to deny and ignore. It shows how often people are willing to look past glaring flaws, to NOT SEE what is right in front of them

It is time to learn from the past, to think about a better way to relate, to discuss, to follow the leader. Jobs is a great example of how complex brilliant leaders really are.


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Article Author: Sylvia Lafair

Sylvia Lafair, PhD, is a business leadership expert and President of CEO – Creative Energy Options, Inc., a global consulting company focused on redefining leadership and optimizing workplace relationships. Dr. …

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