Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sheryl Sandberg's Leadership Style

There are many things to like about Facebook's #2 Leader, Sheryl Sandberg. She's incredibly intelligent, personable, strategic, and has finally come up with an advertising plan to help Facebook really make some money. It would appear that Facebook did a great job in plucking her away from Google. While all of that is impressive, the thing that I am most impressed with about Sandberg from reading Brad Stone's Businessweek article "Everybody Needs a Sheryl Sandberg" is her leadership style. She praises subordinates in public, and reprimands in private. She's super direct, pulling people aside privately to tell them that she expects more from them (Stone, Businessweek, May 16 - 22, 2011). Having experienced, in some cases, the exact opposite in bosses over the years, I can attest to the merit of her leadership style. It's not easy, and most people aren't able to pull off being so direct, yet likable, while being so tactful with feedback. In some cases, I've seen brilliant people be completely ineffective because everyone around them hated them. It's hard to lead when you don't have the respect of the people around you. While Sandberg may be a brilliant mind, if she wasn't able to communicate her ideas to her subordinates, and get them to buy into her ideas, then she wouldn't be nearly as effective. I know this is a quality in Sandberg that I am trying to model my own style after.