It has already become a widely rejected misconception that leaders are those whose singular job is to achieve results. While partially such statement might hold true, in most cases leaders perform a number of complementary no less important tasks, such as creating a mission, setting a strategy and justifying the steps towards the aspired result. The most obvious leaders both in public and private sectors demonstrate their skills on the example of the most delicate matters and burning issues of their fields. The phenomenon of outsourcing belongs to the list of such issues in the United States and on the global market of services and commodities. The leadership style adapted in response to managing the prospects and potential outcomes of outsourcing (both inshore and offshore) vary in accordance to the sector of activity and external circumstances.
Outsourcing as a phenomenon has been researched by many scholars. In his book The Outsourcing Revolution, Michael Corbett (2004) argues that outsourcing can increase productivity and competitiveness. Moreover, it is no longer viewed as simply a cost saving mechanism, but rather as a strategic tool that powers global economy. Shipping of jobs to overseas nations by corporate firms is vast in America. As a scenario created for the aim of economic building, outsourcing was pioneered to create a wider job market abroad. Already established companies invest in creating other factories away from the onshore territory. For instance, America has seen birth of many call centers which are located throughout the world and offer U.S. services. Inventions and even assembly have been a common occurrence in American firms. This shipping of jobs is seen to be both supported and despised by people. It is reported to cause extensive unemployment cases. Sacking of old workers in the company and replacing them with new ones leaves a mark in the economy. Income is also affected because the formerly employed individuals no longer have money that meets their needs. This is fatal to families and communities relying on this job.
Outsourcing is regarded as a greedy action that only hides behind lucrative investing and gaining profits. These are the remarks from non-supporting citizens who cannot understand how jobs can be shipped when there are unemployed people in the nation. The fact that outsourcing provides lower costs to them is not a compelling reason for this service. Despite the worry about the future in light of the economy, outsourcing has a long-term effect on developing the overall nation’s economy. As one can see, the phenomena of outsourcing and offshoring are quite controversial; therefore, it takes an abundance of leadership skills to persuade either a staff of a big company or the citizens of any country that these phenomena are detrimental to the economy or beneficial to the development of the respective sphere.
In the past decade, there has been no individual in the private sector more celebrated than Steve Jobs. Infamous for what notoriously became known as management by character assassination, Jobs had his dark side when it came to working with people. Jobs started his career without a classic set of the necessary leadership prerequisites singled out by David Goleman and his colleagues. The so-called five components of Emotional Intelligence included the following: self-awareness (the ability to recognize one’s moods, emotions, and effects on others), self-regulation (the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses), motivation (a passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status), empathy (the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people), and social skill (an ability to build common ground and build rapport, proficiency in managing relationships and building networks). Despite not being able to demonstrate some of the components, Steve Jobs learnt most of them the hard way, after having been stripped of all power and responsibility, as well as having been forced to leave the company. Later, Jobs had a chance to learn the importance of teamwork and emotional intelligence. He did a remarkable thing to his team in the swirls of crisis during the times when Pixar nearly stumbled in making a film by committee. It was the threat that was used by Jobs to power the team. He convinced them to put their ego aside and become more self-confident. Moreover, the team members were able to put their best ideas forward without fear of being yelled at by their leader. They could voice their concerns with a sole aim of improving the film and taking notes of criticism only in a positive and educational way.
On the other hand, in one of the articles in Economy in Crisis under the title Steve Jobs not so Great on Jobs, Apple’s CEO was rightfully criticized for overlooking the record on jobs. Steve Jobs appeared at the forefront of the outsourcing movement that stimulated the process of many of American jobs going to China, India, or elsewhere. In these countries workers faced deplorable or even deadly conditions. A whole host of violations has been detected in the work places in China. They included illegal use of child labor, poor working conditions, and longer than legal work days. While Steve Jobs appeared to be a good leader for his inshore team, outsourcing manufacturing his produce with many legal violations contributed to the creation of a negative image of the Apple’s CEO. He was criticized for neglecting to reward Americans with these jobs instead of sending them to be performed abroad. The story of Steve Jobs is an example of many such practices in the private sector in the United States. The price the leaders of such companies pay to achieve the necessary numbers in revenue is enormous. In many cases it is considered that they neglect the necessity to satisfy the need of their team of co-workers to share an integral bond of morale.
On the other hand however, some will argue that Jobs demonstrated his leadership skills by running in the forefront of the outsourcing movement, driven by the goal of strengthening his company. One can see how this statement holds true. By giving his onshore employees an opportunity to concentrate on creative side of the work, designing and programming of the products, he left some more monotone and less creative elements to the job for the offshore team members.
When it comes to the public sector, the role of Barack Obama in defending the anti-outsourcing policies has been of vital importance. In his Blueprint for An America Built to Last, he delineates the future for American economy which is built to last on American manufacturing, American energy, skills of American workers, and a constant renewal of American values. In the section A Nation Where Everyone Gets a Fair Shot, Does Their Fair Share, and Plays by the Same Set of Rules, Barack Obama supports the idea of creating new jobs in America, discouraging outsourcing, and encouraging insourcing (Obama, 2012). Defending this particular cause Obama demonstrates his ability to lead change and apply persuasiveness. He managed to assess the situation that overtakes the global market, as well as predictions regarding the future of outsourcing and its lucrative purpose. According to the Special Edition of The Economist, by 2015 the difference between the costs on offshoring and inshoring will be insufficient; moreover, by 2022 the financial benefits of resorting to offshoring and outsourcing will come to nothing.
As a good leader, Barack Obama provides all the necessary proofs of the deleterious nature of offshoring processes for the United States. This fact demonstrates the highest level of emotional intelligence of the 44th U.S. President.
The disagreement over outsourcing between Barack Obama and Steve Jobs appears to be the embodiment of the entire controversy that exists in the world today. The way of handling and managing both private and public sectors with respect to outsourcing in the given cases demonstrated that a good leader should possess perfect social skills and be able to justify the choices made with respect to the needs of the nation or personnel, the acuteness of situation and lucrative potential of the undertaking. In both cases, however, it is fairly obvious that the two leaders were acting in the interest of who they represent.