Provide a biography of the leader
What were the circumstances that gave rise to the leader?
What theories are evident in the emergence of this leader?
What were/are the sources of power and influence the leader used?
How would you characterise the type or style of leadership?
How effective is/was this person's leadership?
What are the overall lessons of leadership you have learnt from this case study?
Background of Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is one of the most famous American computer programmers and an internet entrepreneur who was born on 14th May, 1984. He is also best known as one of the co-founders of a popular social media website named Facebook. Presently, he is CEO of Facebook and considered as one of the youngest richest billionaires in the world having a personal wealth estimated around $81.6 billion (Bloomberg, 2018). After graduation, Zuckerberg went to Harvard University and developed a reputation of ingenious software developer in the campus. Zuckerberg along with his few friends developed a dating software which later developed into Facebook. Zuckerberg dropped himself out of the University to devote his entire time to Facebook and soon his website became one of the most influential and successful sites in the world. In 2004, Facebook set its first office during which Zuckerberg had even rejected proposals made by many investors to buy his company. He showed disinterest to sell his company not only because he did not had interest in money, but also because he was motivated by his passion to build a strong network that could connect people from all over the world under a strong platform. Zuckerberg is well known for his goal-oriented mindset and is fully focused while leading his team for producing best social media website in the globe. Zuckerberg’s leadership style can be defined as aggressive and encouraging which demands constant growth and innovation. Even his subordinates are very frank to him and speaks to him for getting improvement related suggestions on everyday basis while Zuckerberg always keep collaborating with his associates to foster relationships with them (Biography.com , 2018).
Effective business leaders according to Alllen (2018) must poses “people skills” and the nature of this phrase implies that leaders must get along with their subordinates’ beliefs, backgrounds and origins. To understand leader’s personality, it becomes significant to understand leaders’ personal traits and characteristics along with knowing the circumstances that gave rise to the leader. Zuckerberg’s emergence as a strong leader can be associated with various theories and since he had to face many challenging circumstances along with opportunities, he gives a good example of a talented and ambitious leader. From very initial stage, Zuckerberg showed interest in computers for which his parents hired a computer tutor for him named David Newman. In one of the reports, Newman said that Zuckerberg possessed natural talent as at very early age he approached graduation course in the nearby college. Besides being a good leader, Zuckerberg can also be related to a highly ambitioned person who with skilled coding and programming talent was able to develop a website that became an instant hit in the University he studied in. He also has a strong vision due to which Zuckerberg was able to see outside the usual frame of computer and what people actually demanded. Challenges faced by Zuckerberg, especially during the initial stages of the site development needed him to take advice from skilled people. And since nature supported him to take the power, he was able to get support from many influential people and his friends. Zuckerberg have faced many criticisms during his leadership journey and most of the times he admits if a mistake is made from his side. This makes evident that this leader uses self-awareness theory which have emerged him in this contemporary business world as a strong leader.
Leadership Style of Mark Zuckerberg
According to Goncalves (2013), for any person, possessing all sources of power is not possible and most of the successful leaders have power sources that mainly includes five forms. Three of them emerges from organisational powers like legitimate, coercive and reward. Other two are personal powers like referent and expert. Every source of power remains interrelated, but an expert leader like Zuckerberg always remains influenced to poses legitimate power as other people in the organisation accepts this expertise as basis for the leader’s authority. Due to his strong visionary power, Zuckerberg has always shown interest in recruiting and hiring talented and qualified people in his company along with providing many good opportunities for existing employees to work on different projects. Strong managerial power of Zuckerberg can be seen in his managing capabilities as he has kept himself in top of the organisational structure hierarchy. Even, Facebook’s organisational culture shows how narrow span of control can work best in which only few subordinates are accountable to the managers. Since Zuckerberg’s life history shows that he has always done what he desired starting from his early age, it can be said that he is highly influenced by expert powers that he possesses under which he is able to perform outstandingly in technical and managerial fields. Zuckerberg’s charismatic power has always influenced other people follow him and thus he is able to execute in composed, confident and in authoritative manner. Besides having formal rights as a person to occupy a position, Zuckerberg uses his influential powers wisely to flourish his company in goal-oriented manner (Baldonado, 2015).
Mark Zuckerberg management style is almost similar to democratic management style and his leadership style can be related to laissez faire style. According to Adair (2004), Laissez-faire leadership style gives more authority to subordinates for making their own decisions while the leader limits taking majority of decision, however, the authority lies fully on the leader. Zuckerberg also believes in empowering his employees to act in more creative manner and outside the confines of tradition and bureaucracy unlike most of the other companies that makes him one of the most effective leaders in the world. Zuckerberg’s leadership style actually moulded after Late Steve Jobs leadership style whom Zuckerberg admires a lot. His aggressive and encouraging approach that demands constant growth and development have always made other CO’s of the company take part in Facebook’s major affairs, but Zuckerberg always makes sure that majority of control is kept with him. He also encourages others to take lead in company projects where every employee gets fair chance to prove themselves in front of the others. Here it can be said that sometimes Zuckerberg possess democratic leadership style where he constantly assigns work to others, but at the same time asks for providing feedback from them. One of the most effective characteristics seen in Zuckerberg’s leadership style is that he does not follow traditional hierarchy and rather puts people on different position according to their talent and intellect. According to Zuckerberg, it is pointless to follow workplace traditions rather every leader must show respect to his subordinates by measuring their qualities and not only picking up by the way they dress or represent themselves. Zuckerberg also believes in giving rewards and perks along with arranging free lunches and environmentally friendly working environment that makes his employee de-stressed during work hours.
Zuckerberg’s case study has made me learnt that how a good leader with true passion and talent can lead the world. The above case study shows that good and effective leaders are unconventional because they create extraordinary things like Zuckerberg created Facebook. His passion for making his dream come true has even helped him develop Facebook’s mission statement which is to provide people with the power for sharing and making the world an open place to live and to get connected. Zuckerberg have always shown keen interest in technology and through his strong passion and leadership style, he is able to achieve them both and thus have turned himself from an entrepreneur to a successful business leader. Great leaders have great purposes starting from hiring to marketing and attracting customers (Adair, 2004). Facebook under Zuckerberg’s leadership have created a strong networking site which teaches us that strong and effective leaders always keep purpose in mind while focussing on creating best work. I also learnt that innovative leaders allow their employees develop interest and take part in company risks. Zuckerberg’s case shows that no leader runs a business all by himself rather great success comes from great teams. During controversies, Zuckerberg did not fail to admit his mistakes that shows he poses selfless and composed nature, always trying to learn from circumstances. Here I learnt that strong leaders make mistakes, listen to criticisms but they eventually learn from it and moves forward with developed characteristics. Lastly, after evaluating entire case study, it can be said that despite of many negative and positive traits present, Zuckerberg have always proved himself as a good leader who moves steadily showing the world new possibilities along with raising his leadership style into a higher level which we all aspire to do.
Adair, J., 2004. The John Adair Handbook of Management and Leadership. London : Thorogood.
Allen, W. E., 2018. Leadership Theory: A Different Conceptual Approach. Journal of Leadership Education, 17(12), pp. 149-161.
Baldonado, A. M., 2015. What Can We Learn from Young Business Leaders Today?. International Journal of Managerial Studies and Research , 03(06), pp. 40-43.
Biography.com , 2018. Mark Zuckerberg Biography. [Online]
Available at: https://www.biography.com/people/mark-zuckerberg-507402
[Accessed 24 10 2018].
Bloomberg, 2018. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Becomes the World’s 3rd Richest Person, Passing Warren Buffett. [Online]
Available at: https://fortune.com/2018/07/06/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-net-worth-richest-person-world/
[Accessed 24 10 2018].
Goncalves, M., 2013. Leadership Styles: The Power to Influence Others. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 04(04), pp. 1-3.
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