Say what you will about John Sculley, the man who fired Steve Jobs in 1985. At least he can admit he made a mistake.
According to a recent SmartBrief poll of 1,200 leaders, more than half say they have never regretted firing anyone—they stand by all their firing decisions. Only 8% admit that they later felt they’d made a mistake.
For Sculley’s part, he takes responsibility for his mistake and believes that Apple’s board should have understood that Jobs needed to be in charge.
“My sense is that it probably would never have broken down between Steve and me if we had figured out different roles,” Sculley says.
“Maybe he should have been the CEO and I should have been the president.”
One of Sculley’s biggest regrets is that he didn’t go to Jobs later, after Sculley was removed as CEO, to try to recruit him back. It would have saved Apple from years of floundering.
Lesson: Wise leaders have the gift of self-awareness, allowing them to acknowledge when they make an error, no matter how large.
— Adapted from “Why I Fired Steve Jobs,” Thomas E. Weber, Daily Beast.