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Mark Zuckerberg Leadership Profile

The following analytic profile is a about the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is a social media guru and the youngest billionaire in the world having Facebook's value in excess of $104 billion after initial public offering on May 17, 2012, bargaining a share price of $38 per share.  Facebook reported having 1.11 billion monthly active users globally. Facebook reunited family members and friends who have been separated by wars, social issues and other reasons. Facebook made the status and the news of many individuals accessible to members of society, including school friends, old neighbours, club members, political party members and other Facebook users. Facebook was also used for political motivation such as the revolution in the Middle East. Furthermore Facebook is a very powerful advertising tool and used daily to promote ideas and businesses worldwide. Mark Zuckerberg has adopted certain leadership characteristics which will be analysed in details, including what leadership theory, why these theories were adopted, how these leadership theories were applied, and when these leadership theories were exercised. 


Path Goal Leadership Theory

Mark was excellent work facilitator, from side to side providing distinctive resources for the company, including hiring Sheryl Sandeberg of Google and securing significant amount of fund. Also he was a great interaction facilitator in particular encouraging collaboration such as setting up an alliance with Sean Parker who became the first president of Facebook website. 
Facebook phenomenal success was driven by achievement oriented leadership as Mark encouraged followers to strive for excellent by setting high performance goals such as worldwide expansion and continues improvement making the company a target for takeover. Hence during 2005 the Facebook received multiple buyout offers. The situation in Facebook quickly turned tense after widespread rumours of selling. Mark moved quickly to calm the situation down and re assured his followers of rejection to all offers, including Yahoo’s $1 billion offer. Remaining participative toward motivating his followers to attain goals. Encouraging their input for decision making in the direction of building consensus. Also He encouraged shared leadership by developing follower’s abilities to assume leadership roles within the groups. Judging from the event that sparked the settlement of $65 Million for the two brothers Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss conflicts in the team were quickly resolved and eliminated.

Transformational and Charismatic Leadership Theory

Mark wrote Facemash, the predecessor to Facebook, while attending Harvard as undergraduate student. Mark used this website to experiment and implement strategies in order to observe the behaviour of society. This real life example helped Mark to quickly utilize his emotional intelligence skills to discover that people were not interested to learning about people who didn’t know nor were looking at the photos of random people on the internet. Instead people were more interested to learn about the people that they knew. Hence Mark had the ability to monitor others feeling and emotions, to differentiate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.
People will follow a person who inspires them with passion and vision. Although at the beginning Mark had no idea if Facebook will be the most used website in the world, he predicted that Facebook is going to be very big.  Mark’s dream allowed him to gain more incentive to maintain his vision and refused to sell Facebook taking enormous personal risk. His extraordinary vision inspired others to seek the same vision by applying referent power. Followers were inspired by charisma and self confidence. Furthermore the expert programmer wrote most of the Facebook website. In addition he was honest who created trust among the employees allowing his personal integrity characteristics to be observed. Additionally Mark was not just passionate about his work but more considerably valued people effort and remains passionate about his team performance and achievement.

Trait Leadership Theory

Mark Zuckerberg possessed certain social characteristics as he emerged to the followers as a natural born leader. Hence he clearly demonstrated that he was intelligent, optimism, sociable, self confidence, energetic and mature by rejecting all the buyout offers and maintain his leadership as an inspirational CEO.

Contingency Leadership Theory

Mark Zuckerberg was a task oriented leader focussing on product development, and global expansion. Additionally he centralised his efforts on tracking performance, company achievement and the number of Facebook members on a regular basis. Mark Zuckerberg maintained a high leadership power when he managed his relationship with employees through executing rewards and punishment strategies. Mark Zuckerberg clearly had issues with Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin which latter escalated to a lawsuit followed by a settlement and early exit of the Co-Founder from the Facebook. In contrast Mark has used his power to attract Sheryl Sandeberg of Google to fill the COO position and splitting the responsibilities between the two. Hence Mark maintained the position of product developer while Sheryl focused on operating the company. In such a way it is clear that Mark attempted to match each leadership style to the situation. 

Situational Leadership Theory

It was very clear that Mark focused on directing and supporting strategies. Evaluating the maturity of the followers will help to determine the level of directivity required to steer the team toward achieving organisation vision. Readiness of the followers was important in order to determine existing capabilities, level of confidence and their willingness to perform. Facebook employees were capable programmers as they went through strict recruitment process. Hence leadership behaviour matched the follower’s behaviours. While Mark concentrated on product development there was no need to change leadership style. Hence confirming leadership and situation match.

Grid Leadership Theory

The main concerns in this theory are about product and people. Mark was a product developer who wrote Facemash and most of Facebook. The Facebook was growing quickly in terms of number of members. This phenomenal inspired the followers and assured them they were lead by a good leader. Mark also managed people by expressing his power of rewards and punishment to eliminated non conformance, including the Winklevoss brothers, Sean Parker and Edwardo Saverin.

The leadership style of Mark Zuckerberg was explored using examples and event that he lead while developing Facebook into a global empire. Many leadership theories matched the leadership style of Mark, including Grid, Situational, Contingency, Trait, Path Goal, Transformational and Charismatic.

By Sargon Odisho - Marketing and IT Manager 20/7/2013

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