It’s been more than a decade since we lost Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind some of the greatest technological innovations in history. He lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2011 and would be 69 years old today.

Jobs’ enormous influence as Apple’s leader left a lasting impression on managers and employees alike. But one of his most unwavering beliefs might surprise leaders who aspire to success as great as the Apple co-founder.

When Jobs and the other Apple co-founders, including Steve Wozniak, first realized how big their company would become, they decided to go out and hire what they called “professional management,” or people who simply knew how to manage people. . But it quickly backfired.

“It didn’t work at all,” Jobs said in a 1985 interview. “Most of them were stupid. “They knew how to manage, but they didn’t know how to do anything.”

Jobs’ comment gets to the heart of a central debate in management: whether managers should really want to be managers or not. Jobs argued that the people who least expected to be leaders ended up being the best managers in the long run. This is because other employees were more likely to learn something from them because they mastered that skill, rather than focusing solely on management techniques.

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Great Individual Contributors Make Great Managers

That’s the first of Jobs’s best management tips: elevate people to management positions that perform at the highest level.

“You know who the best managers are. “They are great individual contributors who never want to be managers, but decide they have to be managers because no one else is going to be able to do as good a job as that,” Jobs said in the same interview.

Jobs took a chance on Debbie Coleman, a member of the Macintosh team who was 32 when he promoted her. She studied English literature in college, but earned her MBA from Stanford University and proved herself to be an exceptional financial manager.

“There is no way in the world that anyone else would give me this opportunity to run this type of operation,” Coleman said in an interview in the 1980s. “I don’t delude myself into thinking that there is an incredibly high risk, both for me personally and professionally as well as for Apple as a company, and to put a person like me in this job.

Apple was “betting on a lot of things” when it named her CFO, Coleman said. They were “betting that my skills and organizational effectiveness override” their lack of technology and manufacturing experience. Coleman became Apple’s chief financial officer and was known as one of Silicon Valley’s “top tech executives.” He died in 2021.

Keep the company collaborative

Another key position Jobs held was that Apple would be a collaborative company, and uniting its employees with a “common vision” was a core concept.

“That’s what leadership is: having a vision, being able to articulate it so that the people around you can understand it and achieve consensus on a common vision,” Jobs said in the 1985 interview.

That collaborative approach has continued to be displayed throughout Apple’s history, as Jobs long said his company was the “largest startup” in the world.

“There’s tremendous teamwork at the top of the company, which translates into tremendous teamwork throughout the company,” Jobs said in a 2010 interview at the D8 Conference. “Teamwork depends on trusting others to do their part without having to look at them all the time.”

Recruit the right people

Jobs was responsible for investing heavily and participating in recruiting at Apple. He wanted people who were “incredibly great at what they do,” but “not necessarily those seasoned professionals.”

Jobs wanted employees and managers who knew what Apple could do with technology and wanted to bring it to “a lot of people.”

“The best thing that happens is when you have a core group of 10 great people,” Jobs said in the 1985 interview. “It becomes self-control as to who you let in that group. That’s why I consider the most important job for someone like me to be recruiting.”

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com

By Sam