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West Point Cadets
West Point cadets and instructors

West Point Cadets

A group of 13 cadets and four instructors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point take on the weekly 'On Leadership' questions. Who better to explore the gray areas of leadership than members of The Long Gray Line?

Zuckerberg rightly focuses on his 'inside game'

Q: Facebook's young founder Mark Zuckerberg avoids press interviews, offers inscrutable answers at public forums and jealously guards his privacy--so much so that he is now the subject of an unflattering movie. Does Zuckerberg have to develop a better "outside game" to be an effective leader of his fast-growing company?

Mark Zuckerberg is the image of Facebook, and in some manner he represents every Facebook employee. He appears to be friendly and reserved, and by not changing who he is he leads authentically. Making even minor adjustments to influence his perception outside his organization might send an unwanted ripple through the entire company. Mark Zuckerberg is a clear example of a leader who is able to maintain a culture within a company that is not dependent on outside perceptions. If he is able to maintain a healthy organizational culture and successfully run his company, then Facebook employees are probably not concerned with the outside perception of the company or its leader. Zuckerberg's privacy may have resulted in unwanted media attention, but neither the core values of Facebook or his effectiveness as a leader have been negatively influenced.
--Cadet David Geib

Mark Zuckerberg is the "face" of Facebook. Avoiding the press and public attention does not mean that a leader needs to develop a better "outside game" in order to be effective. Effective leadership is about positive interpersonal influence directed towards a goal, not levels of media interaction. Mark Zuckerberg's feelings about public opinion are not the secret to Facebook's success. The very purpose of Facebook is to keep people informed about each other, not about Mark Zuckerberg, and he seems to be leading the organization effectively. His focus is on his "inside game" of continually making Facebook better every day, which he seems to be doing quite well. Perhaps the best "outside game" is a good "inside game".
--Cadet Dario Marcelli

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

By West Point Cadets

 |  October 5, 2010; 11:46 AM ET
Category:  A leader's team , Accomplishing Goals , Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Time to repair a tarnished image | Next: Zuckerberg's expensive lesson

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