One of the possible ways to become a good leader is to define several already successful leaders, study their biographies and experiences, and pay attention to the chosen leadership styles. Among the existing variety of excellent leaders with captivating ideas and approaches to lead people, it is impossible to avoid the name of Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, one of the youngest and richest leaders on a planet. He is a co-founder of Facebook that is one of the most famous global social networks. His philanthropic ideals make him recognizable among other current leaders. Zuckerberg (as cited in Harris, 2012) explains that “by giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent” (p.101). There are many things that make Zuckerberg a prominent leader. The current paper aims at discussing the main aspects of his leadership style and the lessons that can be taken from his experience. Mark Zuckerberg is a bright example of how young people can become good leaders using their passion, desire to work, and attention to the details and people and prove that transformational leadership is a unique way to rely on and become a significant figure in the world of business.
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Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984, in a family of a dentist and a psychiatrist (Lüster, 2011). He is a second child among his three sisters. Being raised under harsh Jewish traditions and religious aspects, he became an atheist at the age of 13. I think that it was one of his first decisions that introduced him as a person of a free will. Another key issue of Zuckerberg’s biography is his entering Harvard University and meeting students like Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, and Andrew McCollum, who became the main supporters of his views (Lüster, 2011). Being a young student at Harvard, Zuckerberg created a program just for fun that was able to overwhelm the local network switches of Harvard and deprive all students from access to the Internet (Harris, 2012). After that case, he met the Winklevoss’s brothers and Divya Narendra, who introduced their ideas on a social network for Harvard students. With time, Zuckerberg took the brightest ideas from this group of people and created his own global network that conquered the world.
During the course, I got a chance to learn a number of leadership approaches that discussed interesting ways on how leaders should behave, think, and make decisions. Trait, skills, situational, and behavioral approaches amaze with their possibility to touch upon some aspects of a person and develop them to the required point (Northouse, 2010). However, transformational leadership impressed me with its ability to consider the worth of various charismatic and affective elements and combine them properly so that a leader and the followers get an opportunity to develop, succeed, and share personal ideas to achieve the main goals (Northouse, 2010). Though it was interesting to learn how leadership can become everyone’s business and pass the tests to identify my own readiness to leadership (Kouzes & Posner, 2003), I wanted to understand how real people could benefit from transformational leadership approach, and Mark Zuckerberg turned out to be the best example.
His passion and desire to work hard and achieve the goals play an important role in his professional and personal life. He offers a number of new interesting approaches to leadership and show people that age should not matter if there is a need to create something extraordinary. However, he does not focus on his abilities or challenges only. One of his powerful leadership aspects is the desire to help other people to achieve the best results and succeed in all activities using people’s potential, knowledge, and intentions. Passion for everything he does is the Zuckerberg’s thing. His ability to differ from other people without definite intentions to do so is what makes Zuckerberg extraordinary. The combination of his knowledge and abilities cannot even stand next to his real possibilities.
Principles and Values
The principles and values chosen by Zuckerberg for his work impress with its controversy. On the one hand, Zuckerberg is introduced as a modest and generous leader with a desire to help his followers to achieve the highest points of their job. On the other hand, he makes people aggressive and encourages them to use any possible means to achieve the goals even if the means are not appropriate. As a transformational leader, Zuckerberg promotes changes in people and focuses on human emotions, values, standards, and long-term goals (Northouse, 2010). Zuckerberg makes an impossible thing: he uses the essence of transformational leadership that is the importance of the connection between people in work to increase motivation (Northouse, 2010) to introduce it as the core of the network he creates to provide people with a chance to communicate, share values, and be recognizable online.
The main principles according to which Zuckerberg works are strong communicative skills, the desire to debate to reach the truth or the best option, the necessity to have a vision and strive for it, and the ability to combine energy, enthusiasm, and support to achieve a goal. His main value is his passion for everything he tries to present. Every his program and message is a result of passionate solutions and emotions. That is why Facebook turns out to be interesting to many people around the whole globe: it is not only about the means to connect people, it is a possible to share feelings, emotions, and thoughts, a chance to be closer to people, who care each other, and a reason to combine real and virtual types of life without losing a core, human passion.
Response to Challenges
As any leader and a person, Zuckerberg faces some challenges from time and time and has to think about the best solutions with a minimum of losses, both financial and emotional. A good leader should not only focus on the achievements, success, or the necessity to organize different people. A good leader should be ready for all aspects of leadership, challenges, the necessity to make bad decisions, a possibility to make wrong decisions, and the ability to study on the mistakes and make corrections. The peculiar feature of the Zuckerberg’s style of leadership is his ability to recognize his weaknesses. He believes that it is normal for a person not to know something, and it is never bad to ask for help or some pieces of advice. A person cannot do everything by him/herself. It seems to be better to admit that something is unclear, and a kind of support is required than neglecting the fact of difficulty or lack of knowledge and continue working on a wrong basis or solution.
Zuckerberg teaches that debates and arguments are the key points in leadership. He is always ready to help people around him, explain his ideas, and introduce his vision till it is clear to everyone. His leadership is a kind of friendship with a good guide at hand. At the same time, he does not want to be accepted as a too loyal or too kind leader. Zuckerberg is able to identify the challenges of his work, inform about the necessity to work hard and for a long period, and explain the outcomes expected in the nearest future.
The results of the leadership style chosen by Zuckerberg are evident indeed. The name of Zuckerberg is known globally. At the age of 31, Zuckerberg wealth is about $38.6 billion. His IPO is probably one of biggest Internet offerings in history. His story becomes an example for many young people, who want to believe that they possess enough skills, ambitions, and knowledge to become successful and famous. Mark Zuckerberg shows one of the possible ways on how to become a leader neglecting his young age. He becomes a Person of the Year 2010 (Lussier & Achua, 2012). Nowadays, it is clear that successful leadership should not be based on practice only. It is possible to be a good leader having a little experience but a huge potential and the desire to work and help other people do the same. His decision to follow transformational leadership approach is correct indeed as it helps to focus on the current morals and ethics and pay attention to the opinions of people around, generate them, and introduce the best solution in a short period.
Mark Zuckerberg differentiates with his ability to use the skills of different people, combine the opportunities, and introduce a powerful idea to be achieved. His extraordinariness can be observed from different perspectives: he likes communicating with people, shares his points of view, listens to other opinions, evaluates the situations, and comes to the conclusions that impress. In fact, the evaluation of Zuckerberg’s achievements and his style of work helps me realize that his leadership does not contain any unique characteristics. He is the person with a number of demands, interests, and skills that can help to make the dreams come true. He does not want to lead people. What he does want is to help people be closer to each other, create the opportunities, and try to reduce poverty by means of communication that is possible globally.
Transformational leadership can be different from one person to another. The theory shows that true transformational leaders try to decline weak aspects and influence the followers in the best possible way using new possibilities (Lussier & Achua, 2012). The Zuckerberg’s example helps to understand how theory can be applied to practice. As a leader, Zuckerberg finds it necessary to focus on impact, think fast, and create a social value that does matter. At the same time, people should stay open and be closer to share information and true attitudes to the same things. Such perspectives should help to get to the truth and values that fulfill human lives. His intentions to donate and motivate other people do the same proves that his philanthropic attitude has to be appreciated and considered by good leaders, who want to become helpful and remarkable in the spheres they choose for work.
In general, the life of Mark Zuckerberg and the theoretical background about different leadership styles become an amazing experience for any potential and current leader. Research done on this person helps to realize that nothing can prevent a person with desire and abilities from achieving the goals set. Age, gender, race, and religion do not matter in case the question of leadership is raised. Zuckerberg and his team teach people how to cooperate, communicate, and achieve the goals that are clearly defined and set.
Harris, A.R. (2012). Facebook: The company and its founders. North Mankato, MI: ABDO.
Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2003). Leadership practices inventory (“LPI”) Self-Scoring Instrument. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
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Lussier, R. & Achua, C. (2012). Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Lüster, M.A. (2011). Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook creator. North Mankato, MI: ABDO.
Northouse, P. (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.