Mark Zuckerberg Leadership Style & Principles
How could we define the leadership style and principles of Mark Zuckerberg? How do Mark Zuckerberg lead his teams on a daily basis? What can we learn from his leadership?
Mark Zuckerberg illustrates the transformational leadership style in action.
He is described as encouraging and aggressive. A person who always demands constant innovation and growth, he loves debates and challenges.
Mark Zuckerberg proved to the world that leadership has nothing to do with age and experience.
He has become a symbol of hope, a role model, and inspiration for youth internationally. He broke the traditional barriers and dreamt big and succeeded as the world’s youngest billionaire.
Mark Zuckerberg is probably one of the most beloved leaders in the business world.
ImportantLike him or hate him, you’ve got to hand it to Mark Zuckerberg—there’s no denying that, at a mere 30 years old, he’s a multibillion-dollar success. And with a whopping 99% approval rating from his employees, he seems to be more of a superhero than a regular boss.
Every manager, a team leader or a decision-maker would like to be seen as a great leader. Looking at Mark Zuckerberg qualities, it might seem to be the simplest thing ever.
How did he become a people magnet like that? What separates him from other corporate leaders? What’s his secret to being one of the most popular and admired leaders in the world? Here are the qualities of a good leader that we can learn from Mark Zuckerberg and his leadership style.
Facebook exists because Mark Zuckerberg had a vision for it. Yes, he was a talented coder, but his vision differentiated him from others with the same skill set. With his programming skills as the basis, he built an online platform for people to connect with each other.
Good leaders are unconventional, because straying from convention creates the unexpected. And Zuckerberg is certainly that.
Eschewing standard corporation politics, he established the “Hacker Way,” which reminds employees that the best idea and implementation should always win—not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.
To be a good leader, to go places, you must be willing to go further than others have and do things others won’t.
He worked his ass off, did things he was uncomfortable with (like travelling across continents to speak to audiences about his vision) and did what had to be done to build his company.
Leaders need to play out of their comfort zone in order to make a mark for themselves. Mark Zuckerberg always tried to leave his comfort zone behind and made decisions that looked odd.
ImportantOver the years, we have seen that those decisions that look odd actually turned out to be pretty well for him and his company. Taking calculated risks is one of the tactics so that you know you are on top of your game and without leaving any stone unturned.
Keep in mind that everything is possible in this world.
There are innumerable opportunities in this cut-throat competitive world. The only thing you must do is to look at the door that is opened rather than the one that is closed.
In an interview, Zuck shared that during his college days, he would spend several hours programming every night. Half of the things he did, he did not even release. He would just show them to a bunch of his friends and then move on to another project.
Do you have a vision for a better team, organization, world? What excites you? What drives you?
ImportantThese are some key questions to ask yourself as a leader. Visionary leaders are those who have a passion and purpose, and are motivated to bring their vision to life.
Great leaders are those who follow the road that is less traveled.
If you get into a conventional route that is cluttered with the competition, you get into the rat race and end up nowhere. In contrast, if you follow an unconventional path that is unexplored and untested, you will come out with something new and leave a mark behind for others to follow you.
Don't Chase Money
Right from the beginning, the frugal-living Mark Zuckerberg was never in it for the money. He had a larger vision and not only thought ahead of where he wanted to take Facebook, but pushed himself and his team to put all their creativity into their work.
Don’t chase money but chase your passion to enable the money to run behind you.
Research shows that those who chased money and acquired could not enjoy their lives as they reached their saturation point quickly and found nothing beyond. However, those who followed their passions struggled initially but made good money and lived their lives fully.
His life’s ambition is to create a more open and connected world and his commitment to that goal is unwavering. Money is just a tool for him.
ImportantMark’s main motivations are pretty clearly based around materially changing the world and building technology that was used by everyone on the planet. If he had to choose, he’d rather be the most influential person in the world rather than the richest.
Facebook doesn’t build services to make money; it makes money to build better services.
His distaste for financials concerns is also obvious in the way he’s set up the company. Sheryl Sandberg’s title may be COO, but she’s essentially the CEO of the company’s business side, running the entire sales and monetization operation on her own.
You can’t sell what you don’t believe in, and Facebook’s creator believes in the product, which cultivates in his employees the unwavering confidence and support that leads to success.
And all of that is reflected in the fact that the company’s mission, “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” is the same today as it was ten years ago.
In 2013 he donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and became the biggest donor of 2013. In 2015 he and his wife Priscilla had opened “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative”, a program promoting equal opportunity and promised to give away 99% of their Facebook shares during their lives.
Don’t chase money, chase great leaders. As I’m fond of saying: People leave managers, not companies.
ImportantMeaning that the manager-employee relationship is so central and important that it’s often the determining factor in one’s experience of work. A good leader can make a bad job tolerable but a bad leader can make a good job a misery.
Money isn’t a motivator. Believe it or not, when it comes to employee motivation, money isn’t as important as you might think.
Sure, you need to pay your employees fairly and competitively. But once you pay competitively, it’s not wages that keep your employees going above and beyond every day, it’s something else.
📚 Additional reading
When you are chasing your dreams, money should not be the only thing on your mind. Instead, you need to be chasing your vision so that you get the wanted results. When you have the vision and the goal, money will eventually follow you.
Be a Critical Thinker
Mark Zuckerberg has noted his interest in always going deeper with an issue or idea in order to really make a difference, be disruptive and maximize the value.
Effective leaders adapt to situations quickly and know how to face criticism.
When he faced growing criticism over privacy allegations, Mark Zuckerberg caved in to public opinion, giving users more control over their privacy. He learned quickly how much user experience mattered and adapted his decisions to be more inclusive of them.
Willing to face criticism and taking the blame in case of adverse situations is one aspect that isn’t the part of everyone’s personality.
ImportantBut Mark Zuckerberg is different as he always tried to lead his company from the front and make sure he was there when people started pointing fingers towards Facebook or any affiliated company. This happened when the Cambridge Analytica scandal hit the company hard.
Critical thinking enables leaders to understand the impact of their decisions on the business as a whole and ensures both alignment with organizational goals and accountability for results.
ImportantCritical thinking is the use of cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable outcome. It is used to describe thinking that is purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed — the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions.
Critical thinking is the ability to deal with the contradictions and problems of a tumultuous environment in a reasoned, purposeful, productive way.
Decisions are made using an approach that is fair, objective, accurate and based on information that is relevant to the situation.
Being a critical thinker is to question assumptions. After all, sometimes, conventional wisdom can be wrong. When Uber first launched, everyone said the government would never allow it to remain in business because their fleet were effectively unlicensed taxis. Yet now they’re a fixture in cities across the world.
Leaders who engage in critical thinking also understand the total organization and how the individual parts work together.
It is one thing to understand one’s role as a leader. It is altogether another thing to understand how to set direction and directly affect the outcomes.
In today’s fast-changing and highly competitive business environment, the risks of poor decisions are greater than ever.
Leaders have to make decisions about their organization’s strategic direction, competitive positioning and proper allocation of resources. When poor decisions are made an organization may compromise their reputation and miss critical opportunities.
Choose The Right People
From someone who had few friends (as portrayed in The Social Network), to hobnobbing with the likes of Peter Thiel and Sean Parker, Mark Zuckerberg has, from the start, built connections and relationships with the bigwigs of Silicon Valley.
If you believe that you are the sum of the people you are closest to, then Mark Zuckerberg is certainly in very good company.
In the same way, he knew that he needed to surround himself with the right people in order to bring his vision to life. When Facebook was first launched, he partnered with roommates and friends who believed in the project and had skills that would complement his technical background.
As Facebook expanded, Mark Zuckerberg continued this same strategy of partnering with people who are similarly passionate about his vision.
Hiring Sheryl Sandberg, who was Facebook’s COO, was one such move which has propelled Facebook’s growth. Zuckerberg has the imagination, and he can trust Sandberg to execute his ideas.
You will want to develop smart hiring strategies consistent with your cultural values to bring the right people on board.
ImportantThe right people are not those who have the right competency but those who have the right attitude. Some of the most successful businesses have a nontraditional, strengths-based approach to hiring — hire the best talent first, then worry about finding the right role for them.
When it comes to hiring new talent at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg uses a rule that is simple and straightforward: Don’t hire someone you wouldn’t work for yourself.
That mentality can even separate successful companies from failures, according to the 34-year-old billionaire. If you wouldn’t work for the candidate sitting across the table from you, then hiring them won’t help your company advance.
Zuck gives out perks and as a leader you should do the same: It is hard to bash a boss who provides free lunches and a relaxed work environment. Being able to de-stress without leaving your workplace is a luxury that not many employees have.
Mark Zuckerberg is well known for his leadership ability, and a big part of this is hiring the right team to help the business reach its goals.
Whether you are looking to fill developer roles or someone to code your new software, you should surround yourself with the highest quality talent that is going to be committed to achieving your vision for the future.
📚 Additional reading
If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room. The idea that you are who you surround yourself with has lasted this long because it’s true — and you can use it to achieve your dreams in business and in life.
Train Your Equanimity
This is a fancy way of saying that Zuckerberg doesn’t lose his cool when he’s under pressure. Instead, he calmly approaches even the most difficult situations because anger doesn’t breed success — it only serves to alienate or give the impression that someone feels they don’t have control over a situation.
As a leader, Zuck is someone who doesn’t lose his cool easily, no matter how stressful the situation becomes. He can take a lot of pressure and talks normally.
There were many times when his company’s inside situation was a mess, and everyone was panicked. But he controlled everything maturely with a gentle and calm approach.
Your management style sets the tone for your team in terms of how you lead and the results you will yield as a group.
ImportantIf you are calm-assertive type, you have a very clear idea of the procedures in place to get things done and are able to communicate those expectations with a cool, collected and level head.
Calm leaders inspire more trust and perform better. And that goes a long way to inspiring trust and loyalty.
ImportantLeaders who are calm instead of impulsive are more likely to inspire trust or loyalty because their employees know where they stand with them. They know that no matter the issue, they can rely on their leaders to find a way forward without losing their cool.
Having the ability to remain calm under all circumstances is a powerful tool to have in your management toolbox.
It will inspire your people to trust you more while at the same time improving your ability to make better decisions and think more clearly under pressure. And this will stand your management career in good stead.
Having a regular mindfulness meditation practice can help an individual get in touch with their emotions and become aware when they might be disturbed or angry. Mindfulness can help us improve our emotional intelligence, which allows us to understand another person’s perspective and be more sympathetic to their needs and concerns.
Calm leaders see the big picture. Calm leaders are not rocked by every disruption that comes along.
Short-sightedness tends to fuel the insecurities in people. A calm leader can exude confidence because they see the big picture and it’s with that understanding they can lead with a steady hand.
Calm leaders bring stability.
They bring a level of maturity and stability that is often lacking during turbulent times. They know that their actions, attitudes, reactions, and thinking go a long way in determining successful outcomes.
Mistakes Are Opportunities
Good leaders recognize that they are not infallible. They make mistakes; they learn from them. They listen to criticism; they grow from it. Even early in his career, Zuckerberg proved true to both of these.
From the privacy fiasco to the newsfeed, Zuckerberg was willing to take risks, and often had to backtrack on changes that did not work.
But that did not dampen his appetite for innovation and part of Facebook’s philosophy is to innovate, so we can safely assume that he will continue to do things that don’t always go down well with some of its users.
The traits of great leaders are not just that they make great strides they come up with decisions that can help their companies get to new heights.
ImportantThey also make mistakes, and some of them can cost their company daily. But they have regards to admit them wholeheartedly and try to resolve the matter which they have to deal with after the mistake has happened.
Zuck is not interested in following or doing things on other people’s terms. He knows how to take risks.
As he noted in a Wired Magazine interview, “Sometimes we are going to do stuff that’s controversial, and we’re going to make mistakes. We have to be willing to take risks.” Success doesn’t come from worrying about how something will work; instead, you just have to jump in and do it.
Admitting your mistakes is the fastest path to moving past them.
When you admit your mistake, it allows everyone to focus on finding a solution, rather than focusing on the problem. By being upfront, you’re cutting the blame game short, and freeing up everyone’s time and energy to help troubleshoot.
Mark Zuckerberg is well-known from the surprising (shocking, for some people) decisions he made in the past. Before he went to Harvard, he built a program that was learning your music taste. Microsoft wanted to buy it for $1 million, and you know what? Zuck turned them down!
Beware of your blind spots. Instead of insisting on being right or blaming others for an error, leaders should consider alternative viewpoints, even if it contradicts their beliefs.
ImportantWhen we’re assessing a situation, we have to make an effort to make sure there aren’t any gaps in our thinking. Leaders should take time to clarify what actually happened by asking the people they’re working with to share their recollection of events.
A growth mindset is the belief that we can always develop our abilities further.
The growth mindsets don’t view failure as a confirmation of their immutable abilities, but rather opportunities to learn and grow from the experience. Thus, the growth mindsets don’t shy away from experiences where they may not succeed because it’s all part of their self-development continuum.
Make a Dent In The Universe
In recent years, Mark Zuckerberg has become more involved in shaping the global business landscape, illustrating that he is more than just a one-hit wonder.
His vision was that of a more open and connected world and his commitment to that goal is unwavering.
And throughout the growth of Facebook, he has stuck to his vision of a product that offers value while connecting people and building a world with more empathy.
Goals keep you aligned and focused. It helps you manage your time.
ImportantIt helps you remove negative thoughts and fill your mind with positive thoughts. It holds your dreams high. Above all, it enhances your longevity.
Make a difference in the lives of others as it gives you greater satisfaction apart from living beyond your lifetime.
Mark Zuckerberg has made a difference in the lives of others through his technology and philanthropic activities. Facebook was not originally created to be a company, it was built to accomplish a social mission.
Have a dream and work on it.
ImportantDon’t get distracted from your dreams and by criticism. Stick to it and you will soon see yourself on the top of the world. Mark Zuckerberg had a dream and accomplished it.
Mark Zuckerberg didn’t shy away from using any software, or even it is a very basic type of tool to enhance the daily operations or the Facebook app. That’s why Facebook always remained one step ahead of its competitors throughout the last decade.
To be a good leader, you first need to be true to yourself and have passion. You can’t sell what you don’t believe in.
Continually in the pursuit of the next cool thing, Zuckerberg proves he believes in his goals and is passionate about what innovation can do for his product. And it’s worked.
📚 Additional reading
Having a leader that is directed at an unambiguous goal gives employees something to strike towards. The fact that Mark Zuckerberg remains so deeply involved with the vision of Facebook demonstrates that he legitimately wants to change the world. It is hard to be more genuine than that.
Despite years of positive and negative press, Mark Zuckerberg has maintained focus on his goals, steadily moving his business to even newer possibilities and raising the leadership bar ever higher.
Altering your own thinking, behaviors and actions can help you deliver positive results.
ImportantAs soon as you remember that qualities of a good leader have to be implemented in your daily routine, you will be able to work on becoming a better version of yourself, and you won’t ask yourself how to be a good boss anymore.
One of the great things about great leaders is that they make it look easy. It actually takes courage, self-confidence and persistence.
Great leaders want to be great leaders and are willing to do what it takes to get there. And that’s an aspiration that anyone can take on.
Leadership is the quality that will bring the best out of the people around you.
ImportantYou are the leader and everyone around you will look to you for guidance when things get rough. It is crucial that you keep your composure at the toughest of times.
Thanks to his quality and exceptional leadership skills, Mark Zuckerberg has made his dream come true. Now, It’s your turn!
Behind a successful story, there is a powerful figure with a great vision and great leadership skills. One thing for sure, learning about some of his leadership lessons can be very helpful and inspiring. If you want to offer your valuable feedback for this blog or want to ask any questions, please use the comments section below.