Julie Tucker
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The Zuckerberg Effect: Being the Best Boss

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most popular bosses in the world, having received a massive 99% approval rating from his employees. One of the main things everyone says about the founder and CEO of Facebook is that he’s just an “everyday normal guy.”

Yet appearances can be deceptive, as the 34-year-old is one of the richest and most influential CEOs in the world. Back in 2007, at the age of just 23, he became the youngest self-made billionaire in history.

He is the only person under 50 in Forbes’ ten richest people list, with a net worth of $62.3 billion, as of February 2019. Yet despite his vast wealth, he’s one of the most popular bosses in the world, with a reputation for being down-to-earth.

Where did it begin?
So what’s the secret of his amazing management and people skills? Let’s go back to 2004, when Zuckerberg, then aged 19, invented the world’s most popular social media app from his dormitory at Harvard University.

Facebook began as a small social networking site, solely for Harvard students, but its popularity grew rapidly and massively.

Realising the app’s potential, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and moved to California, where he began running it as a full-time business. Fifteen years down the line, Facebook has achieved global domination, with an estimated 2.32 billion monthly active users in January 2019.

The fact he is a university dropout who followed his dreams to build an empire makes him more appealing. He has inspired other young people to think, “I can do that!” and to go for it.

According to analysts, this makes him more legitimate to his employees. He seems more like “one of them” and there is less of a boss/employee divide. He took an idea and transformed it into a reality, using his own skills and know-how, and this has led to adoration from his employees.

When asked what they like about him, replies have included, “He built this billion-dollar company from his dorm room,” – making it feel like anyone can have the drive to follow their dreams.

Being a great boss
The young entrepreneur influences so many people with his attitude and beliefs that psychologists are calling it The Zuckerberg Effect. Every manager wishes to be considered a good boss and leader – and Zuckerberg makes it seem almost effortless.

Being the best boss involves being close to your employees and keeping sight of the fact they are individuals, being confident in yourself when decision-making, and having a clear vision.

Zuckerberg isn’t a fan of traditional company culture. He famously wears the same outfit, or a different version of it, just about every day. He isn’t flashy and wears simple grey t-shirts with black hoodies.

He comes across as being just an ordinary guy, whom all of his employees can approach without fear. An example of this was when he posted a photo online, showing his “work uniform” in his wardrobe – a row of light grey t-shirts. Psychologists noted that every outfit was casual, and that it looked the same.

Even though Zuckerberg doesn’t bow to tradition by wearing a business suit, having his own “uniform” enables him to clear his mind of unimportant decisions, such as what he should wear for work.

As a result of The Zuckerberg effect, it was reported that a more casual culture, in terms of uniform, had spread into many US offices. A number of managers relaxed the company’s formal dress code, thanks to one online photo of a wardrobe full of grey t-shirts.

Confidence and respect
Zuckerberg doesn’t follow traditional hierarchy and welcomes ideas and feedback from everyone, even entry-level employees. The staff like the idea of their CEO being a co-employee, as well as a boss.

He comes across as being honest and transparent in his actions. Whether he’s talking to an employee, or to a major investor, he will be himself and will always treat the other person with respect.

Zuckerberg is also a confident decision-maker. It isn’t easy founding a company and any CEO has to make tough decisions. A firm belief in your mission is imperative. You never give up. Zuckerberg has made some surprising decisions in the past, because of his belief in his product.

When Facebook was two years old, it had nine million users, but it wasn’t yet profitable. Viacom offered Zuckerberg $1.5 billion and Yahoo offered him $1 billion to acquire the company, but he refused. He later turned down an offer of $15 billion from Microsoft!

Zuckerberg has faith in his product. He rejected the offers because he believed Facebook was more than just a business. His ambition is to create a more connected world and he believes Facebook can do this.

Job satisfaction
Research shows that keeping employees satisfied is a major way of improving productivity – it takes more than just a good salary and financial benefits.

According to the Strategic Human Resource Management report, the most important factor in achieving employee satisfaction is treating everyone with the same respect, as Zuckerberg does. It must be implemented into the daily routine, helping to create a healthy environment.

Keeping the workplace free from stress and discriminatory practices creates a positive and healthy environment for all. The qualities of a good boss, like Mark Zuckerberg, can be implemented into everyone’s daily routine, with the principles being adapted to suit your own business.

Headspace Group provides flexible workspaces for the creative, media and technology sectors. We’ll take care of running the office, so that you can clear your mind and concentrate on the other important decisions of the day.

To find out more about our private office suites and co-working spaces, give us a call on 0800 953 0585 – or book a tour at one of our regional locations.

Image credit – © Anthony Quintano / CC BY 2.0

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