Leadership Style at Facebook: A Focus on Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook is a company that focuses on building technologies that offer power for people to connect with their peers, families and friends, find existing or create communities, and grow their businesses using the networks available. Founded in 2004 by current CEO Mark Zuckerberg, its mission is to bring the world a little bit closer by building communities through the power to connect (Moran, 2020). Today, Facebook is among the world’s most popular social media platform that is used to keep people connected to family and friends, to have grasp of global trends, and to express ideas and share issues of interest with others. Since its inception, the company has grown to become of the best in the world, not just in the tech industry, but also through the way it supports other industries including travel and tourism sector, hospitality, small businesses, and so on. It competes with Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft in the technology companies industry and uses its large network as leverage to sell advertising Hoffmann, Proferes, & Zimmer, 2018). Through the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, the company has grown to include nine additional companies. The leadership style used by the CEO has enabled creativity, innovation, and a focus on creating a new culture, not just in management and leadership but also in the way it relates to its customers.
Leadership Style of Facebook’s CEO
The leadership style that Mark Zuckerberg uses is a transformational leadership style that effectively moves Facebook towards meeting its goal of giving people more power through creating and finding connections. Moran (2020) describes Zuckerberg as an aggressive and encouraging leader. Others have described his leadership style as transformational on the basis of how he demands consistency in innovative energy, creativity, and growth (Hoffmann, Proferes, & Zimmer, 2018). Zuckerberg is known to invite debates, challenges, and questions within different Facebook teams and departments. In his transformational style, he applies laissez-faire, autocratic, and democratic styles to manage employees (Chen, Lee, & Wang, 2020). Zuckerberg demands efficiency from employees but also requires and works on feedback, treating them fairly and equally for purposes of motivating them and creating a culture of tolerance, diversity, and growth. As a transformational leader, Zuckerberg combines several elements such as hard work, clear values, emotional intelligence, passion, work-life-balance, quest for learning, strong communication, and the ability to inspire. As an all-rounded leader, it is clear that Zuckerberg is a transformational leader focusing on changing how Facebook presents itself to external parties including its partners and customers, while ensuring an internal strategy that is transformative in nature.
The leadership style used by Facebook’s CEO has been instrumental in meeting the organizational goals of the company and propelling it to become one of the best in the world. Before delving into the leadership and management strategies, it is important to consider the organizational structure that has enabled Facebook to be unique even as other companies use a rigid or traditional format. Makris, Ferrante, and Mody (2018) define the organizational structure at Facebook as a variation of the recent democratic and free structures with a traditional setup and definition of labor and roles. The structure that is used at Facebook is adapted to the operational needs involving the core business of the organization: the Internet and information technology. This organizational structure has defined its composition and definition of roles, giving the CEO an opportunity to oversee operations in a structure that is more strategic. It uses a matrix corporate structure, defined by Auchter et al. (2018) as a firm with more than one line and area of reporting management. The employees have a number of managers and bosses. This information is important in defining the style that Zuckerberg uses because it means that more managers take the pressure off the traditional setup, through the creation of better coordination as well as shared technologies all through the organization. Therefore, function-based teams, product-based divisions, and geographic divisions have created a flexible corporate structure suitable for the CEO’s style of leadership that intends to create an innovative culture.
The Role of Mark Zuckerberg in Attaining Organizational Objectives
Zuckerberg provides leadership, an essential element of management that aids in maximizing efficiency and helping to attain organizational goals. Zuckerberg displays remarkable leadership behavior, one that emphasizes upon creating an environment that each employee excels and develops while ensuring efficiency and creativity as critical components of the process. Yamin (2020) opines that Zuckerberg’s transformational style creates an environment to drive and influence all group efforts towards the attainment of a certain goal in a manner that is coordinated and focused. One of the most important traits of a leader, one exemplified by Zuckerberg, is to sell a dream to the employees and make it understandable in a way that they understand their role and position in a larger perspective. As a leader, Zuckerberg clarifies and communicates the mission and vision of the organization of his groups and teams. The mission and vision effectively offer employees an understanding of the direction of the company and enables them to better understand their responsibilities and roles.
Zuckerberg, as a leader, has a role to offer a structured approach and to communicate plans and policies to the organization. A structured approach, according to Misra and Srivastava (2018), generates a plan of action that effectively aims to meet the organizational objectives. A critical part of this structure is ensuring that the organizational culture and structure of Facebook adheres to sustainability models, ensures a healthy and equal rights for various diverse groups, covers the large gender pay gap evident in the tech industry, and providing direction on corporate social responsibility (CSR). In his transformative leadership approach, Zuckerberg uses an inclusive planning process to offer the chance for individuals in the organization to contribute and identify, achieve, and understand clearly defined goals. Another major role of the CEO at Facebook is to imbibe values and a culture at the corporate level that has a vital role in ensuring the attainment of organizational goals. The leader’s enthusiasm and commitment towards various plans and programs shape the common organizational objectives and offers motivation and inspiration for people to perform better at a higher level (Zaman, Nawaz, & Nadeem, 2020). Therefore, Zuckerberg’s main role is to provide direction and encouragement to the entire organization enabling people to openly discuss and contribute new ideas that are creative and innovative with an aim to push the organization forward and create an environment that is positive for the betterment of the overall culture. It can be said that Zuckerberg uses the diversity and experiences of his team to improve on the organization on a daily basis.
Analysis Leadership Styles and Skills of Mark Zuckerberg
The role of Mark Zuckerberg has been previously mentioned as that of being a communicator of plans and policies in a way that offers a structured approach, motivation, inspiration, and creates a benchmark for the rest of the stakeholders to follow in creating a culture of diversity and winning. His main role is to help the entire organization and its partners to remain focused even when there is crisis, and building a culture that requires every individual to grow individually in a close alignment with the organizational and personal goals. It is clear that the role of Mark Zuckerberg is to offer direction, to inspire and encourage, to motivate his team and to ensure that all members understand their role in the attainment of organizational success. This is a transformational leadership example. His style inspires positive changes to all members of the organization. Zuckerberg carries this role effortlessly with an energetic spirit, passionate character, and deep enthusiasm. He is a transformational leader because of how he is able to sell the ideas and dreams of the organization to the people and then motivate them towards attainment of these goals in a manner that is concerned and involved.
Facebook CEO displays transformational leadership via intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence (Shafi et al., 2020). Zuckerberg offers intellectual stimulation through challenging the status quo and the position of his company in the tech world. He is also very keen on ensuring that creativity and innovation are used as key competitive advantages amongst his followers. He has been successful in encouraging workers to explore newer and better ways of handling things and provides opportunities for them to learn and gain experience. Zuckerberg also provides evidence of individualized consideration by providing encouragement and support to individuals at the organizational level. To foster a supportive relationship, Zuckerberg maintains open communication so that every employee is free to challenge, discuss, or share ideas for the leadership to provide direct recognition of contributions made. Inspirational motivation is a clear vision articulated to the employees (Bonsu & Twum-Danso, 2018). Zuckerberg offers help and direction in terms of every individual understanding their role versus what the organization expects in terms of output and outcomes. Through inspirational motivation, Zuckerberg helps employees at Facebook to experience equal levels of motivation and passion to fulfil company-related objectives. Finally, idealized influence is a role model function that a leader holds in creating respect and trust from the followers (Alqatawenh 2018). Zuckerberg easily gets employees at Facebook to emulate his example in the way he takes on his role and helps to fulfil the ideals of the company.
The leadership style chosen by Zuckerberg is advantageous to his organization because it encourages positive development, exemplifies cultural standards in the organization, fosters an ethical environment with clear standards, values and priorities, and creates a culture that encourages employees to move to a culture of working together for their own interests and those held by the company. The main skills that Zuckerberg evidences including the ability to think differently as a leader, the conversion of his own ideas into policies and plans, critical thinking, choosing the right people for the organization, training equanimity, seeing mistakes as opportunities to grow, and encouraging others to contribute towards making the company the best it can be one step at a time. Zuckerberg has shown that adapting to the rapidly changing tech industry requires strong leadership and innovation as a way of gaining an edge over the competition. Overall, Zuckerberg has been consistent in his role as a leader and in displaying a skill set unique to his company and his followers.
The transformational approach that Zuckerberg takes in running Facebook has been known to have some disadvantages that, if left unchecked, could propel the company towards increasing costs related to high employee turnover, miscommunication, and poor management. First, Nielsen et al. (2008) found that a transformation leader is one that constantly challenges and throws away traditional concepts that are no longer beneficial to an organization. Zuckerberg is known to be an individual and a leader who is not very keen on maintaining the status quo. The bad aspect with this style is that there is a need for consistent and constant feedback. Without it, Facebook processes would most likely fail. Another problem with the style used by the Facebook CEO is that the employees must be aware of what the management wants and how to achieve it. Without such communication, business processes would come to a halt. The way that the Facebook CEO challenges conventional ideas and hierarchies whenever they do not fit in to his system can cause a disruptive cycle leading to negative outcomes. For example, rather than slotting people in roles on the basis of experience and age, he values the ideas of people in obvious and clear ways regardless of the age, gender, position, or age. While this thinking is important in creating diversity, it could mean that experienced people are overlooked by the system. He has been constantly removing barriers in the organizational culture of Facebook to enable more open communication, innovation, and creativity. The negative aspect is that it could lead to employee burnout and isolation.
In conclusion, the leadership style that Mark Zuckerberg uses is a transformational leadership style that effectively moves Facebook towards meeting its goal of giving people more power through creating and finding connections. Zuckerberg stands out in his ability to analyze the current situation of his company and create a vision towards growth and improvement. The main strengths of his approach include uniting employees towards a common cause, reducing turnover costs, creation and management of change, keeping the organization ethical and open, and promotes morale and motivation through improved communication and a breakdown of traditional hierarchies. The discussion above has shown that the leadership style used by Mark Zuckerberg has enabled creativity, innovation, and a focus on creating a new culture, not just in management and leadership but also in the way it relates to its customers. It has been instrumental in meeting the organizational goals of the company and propelling it to become one of the best in the world.
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