The Zuckerberg Effect: Qualities of a Good Boss

6 min read
Jan 27, 2017
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Facebook hero qualities of a good boss

Mark Zuckerberg is probably one of the most beloved leaders in the business world. With a whopping 99% approval rating from his employees, he seems to be more of a superhero than a regular boss.

But the thing is that he looks just like an “everyday normal guy.”

If you didn’t know that he’s the Mark Zuckerberg, you wouldn’t suspect that this 32-year-old is one of the most influential and well-known CEOs on Earth. Oh, and also the 36th richest American and 25th most powerful person on the planet, according to Forbes.

What’s his secret to being one of the most popular and admired bosses in the world? Here are the qualities of a good boss that we can learn from Mark Zuckerberg.

He is humble

I wear the same outfit or, at least, a different copy of it almost every day.

One of Zuckerberg’s traits is that he doesn’t seem to be different than his employees. He wears gray t-shirts and black hoodies, and his hair is always in a mess. He’s just an ordinary guy, approachable for all his employees.

He’s not into a traditional hierarchy, and he’s far from slotting people into roles. He values every feedback, even from the entry-level employees and appreciates every idea. It’s different from many top-down corporations, and the employees are happy with the balance between Zuckerberg being a boss and a co-employee of the company.

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

He’s a fearless decision-maker

Founding a company is hard. Most of it isn't smooth. You'll have to make very hard decisions. You have to fire a few people. Therefore, if you don't believe in your mission, giving up is easy. The majority of founders give up. But the best founders don't give up.

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?

Zuckerberg turned them down.

Another great offer that was rejected happened when Facebook was two years old. It was still a site with roughly nine million people on it. Facebook was making $30 million in revenue, but it was not profitable yet.

Zuckerberg received two acquisition offers from Viacom for $1.5 billion and from Yahoo for $1 billion, but they were not accepted. But these are not the last huge opportunities that Zuckerberg rejected; he also didn’t accept Microsoft’s offer to acquire Facebook for $15 billion.

This boss has the guts!

He has a clear vision of the future

Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission - to make the world more open and connected.

Zuckerberg rejected many lucrative proposals for one reason: he believed that Facebook was something more than just a business. He believes that Facebook can change the world for better and his life ambition is to create more open and connected world.

Sure, sometimes he makes mistakes, but, as he says: “the biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

He’s a charity donator

We (...) begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities. We will give 99% of our Facebook shares -- currently about $45 billion -- during our lives to advance this mission.

What’s more awesome than a good boss with a vision? A good boss with a vision and mission.

In 2010, Zuckerberg donated $100 million of his money to Newark Public Schools and in December joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in signing "The Giving Pledge," a promise to donate to charity at least half of their wealth over time.

In 2013 when 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 “advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity” and promised to give away 99% of their Facebook shares during their lives.

Just how awesome it is?

He has a sense of humor

I updated my grilling app, iGrill, today and it now has Facebook integration that lets you see what other people are grilling right now around the world. Awesome.

Apart from being a humble genius with a great brain and a heart, Zuckerberg also proves that he’s got a great sense of humor.

If you saw “The Social Network,” you probably remember the way Zuckerberg’s hiring process. He divided the whole number of applicants into groups of 5 or 6 and gave them a difficult hacker job (they were asked to get root access to Python web server, exposing its SSL encryption and intercepting all traffic through a secure port, all in 10 minutes).

The plot twist was that they had to drink a shot every tenth line of code, whenever server detected intrusion, when someone of them was the last to close the pop-up window and additionally, every 3 minutes.

I haven’t heard about such a crazy recruitment process in my life!

You might also remember the joke Zuckerberg made in collaboration with H&M on April’s Fool.

H&M came up with the Zuckerberg collection: a gray round neck t-shirt and basic blue jeans. The collection pack features seven t-shirts and one pair of jeans, perfect for the whole week.

He is definitely able to laugh at himself!

Oh, and speaking about the sense of humor, this Jarvis "commercial" is also a must-watch!

Qualities of a good boss

Every manager, a team leader or a decision-maker would like to be seen as a good boss and a great leader. Looking at Mark Zuckerberg qualities, it might seem to be the simplest thing ever.

You just have to be close to your employees, be self-confident when making decisions, have a clear vision and a clear mission and be able to joke about yourself, right? We all know that it’s not that simple, though.

I think that one of the most important Zuckerberg’s traits is that he’s honest and transparent about his actions. Whether it’s a chat with a low-level employee or with an investor, he’s not afraid to be himself and treats other people with respect.

So as soon as you remember that qualities of a good boss are in fact very easy to implement 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.

Mark Zuckerberg picture by Michael Short/ Bloomberg/ Getty Images.