Comparative Leadership Assessment
Leadership is regarded as the most important element of success in any organization. For orderliness and a sense of direction, every organization requires good leaders to create an vision, build a team, and inspire employees to achieve the mission and vision of an organization. Leadership is entirely about influence. A leader must influence the subordinates to pursue the sets goals and inspire changes. In the leadership process, three essential variables exist - the leader, the situation, and the followers. A common debate surrounding leadership concerns the question whether leaders are made or born. It is agreeable that both cases apply. However, it easier to make a leader than give birth to one. Born-leaders are characterized to be imbued with natural abilities such as high IQ that catalyzes their efforts to cause influence in their work area. On the other hand, trained leaders mainly rely on emotional intelligence that is based on self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, motivation, and social skills (Goleman 95). This paper assesses the leadership performance and attributes of Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook Inc., Larry Page, Google co-founder, and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple.
Mark Zuckerberg can be well described as a transformational leader. Before Facebook, he lacked corporate leadership experience. He has learnt everything that he currently knows in the business over the last decade, which makes him one of the most influential leaders in this generation after creating the world's largest social network. Zuckerberg's life is a clear demonstration of the role of emotional intelligence in influencing the lives of people on earth. Clearly, he has proven that he fits the task. The most important element of his job is following his passion. A combination of passion and skill is a key ingredient for the success of any leader. The company's vision is his passion, that is, to give all people the enablement to share and foster openness and connectivity in the world (McCracken 90). He spends a third of his time coding, which gives him the leadership role of overseeing future initiatives such as building a world-class search engine, a messaging product, and news feed, inventing virtual reality and improving drone technology among others ((McCracken 90). The founding principle of his company is that when everyone can access information and stay connected, they will gain more understanding and empathy. This principle has fueled his passion and endurance in overcoming challenges and pushing Facebook to fulfill its mission and vision. Mark Zuckerberg inspires his followers by constantly posing big challenges to them to solve daunting issues such as ensuring internet connectivity in remote places of the world. Facebook employees praise his persistence, inquisitiveness, devotion, and the ability to invest resources to improve Facebook. Zuckerberg has established openness in Facebook, a quality that inspires employees to focus on the company's vision.
Tim Cooks is a democratic leader whose efforts continued the great vision of his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs who founded Apple Inc. 14 years ago. Cook seems to have adopted several practices of entrepreneurs and developed a unique blend of leadership mantra. Consequently, the state of the company under him has been fundamentally sound. The company's stock soared from $54 to $126 since he became the CEO of Apple Inc., translating into a $700 billion market capitalization and making it the first company to gross this level (Richtel and Chen 9). Being a direct contrast to the bold visionary style of Steve Jobs, Cook used his own strengths to steer the company to great heights. Often, he has been described as thoughtful and charismatic. Cook considers that the most important aspect of the job is making difficult decisions for the company in the face of storm of criticism from the entrepreneurs who are used to making assumptions and operating by logic. For instance, many called on the company to develop a low-cost iPhone to gain competitive advantage over Google Android (Richtel and Chen 9). While reflecting on the company issues and the industry, Cook embraces diversity of thought. For him, it is important that people and companies embrace their uniqueness and use the point of difference for economic gain and creating change without trying to focus on many things. This reflection has shaped his experience in Apple. Instead of embracing diversification of products and initiatives, he has maintained a single brand of iPods, iPads, and Macs. This move improved profitability in the company, thereby earning the trust of employees to embrace product differentiation.
Larry Page has been termed as the most ambitious manager in the world. Page believes that improbable is easily given and all that seem impossible is likely. He is always ahead of his research scientists and engineers, and he often seems to live in an alternative universe where the future has already unfolded. The most important element of his job is coming up with new ideas that seem impossible, such as self-driving cars, to make impact in the world. This element conforms to his original intent while creating the company as a Stanford student - to change the worlds in unimaginable ways. Regarding the issues of the company and the industry, he stresses on the importance of paying attention to what he terms as zero-million dollar research problem (Helft 150) He underscores the importance of companies solving existing problems even as it attracts profits. His perspectives on the industry have been shaped by the completion of past projects such as Google Xs Project for telecommunications and medical projects among others. His attention to details, introverted personality and highly demanding standards stretches the creativity of the employees to meet those demands that translate into the fulfillment of the company's mission and vision.
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Transformational leadership moves beyond charisma to combine empowerment and the coaching of followers. Such leaders motivate their followers to make significant achievements, ignore self-centered interests, and work for the benefit of the organization. Mark Zuckerberg is a good example of this type of leader. He offers internship opportunities where developers receive trainings and experience to improve their skills. He also established an app known as Workforce. This technology connects people in the workplace, thereby fostering close interaction of employees. Consequently, he can receive direct feedback and the perspectives of ways of improving Facebook from employees and increase the frequency of communication with them. A good example of this action in practice is the use of transparent glass walls to separate offices.
Participative leaders deal with experienced employees with high perceived ability. In the context of this discussion, Tim Cook is the embodiment of this leadership style. According to path-goal leadership model, effective leaders must clarify paths that their subordinates must follow to achieve the goals. Tim Cook has clearly set a standard that the engineers, designers, and developers of Apple need to meet in both software and hardware development. He constantly walks into the labs to hear the views of employees. At the same time, Cook often answers customer emails, thereby increasing their participation in the company's affairs. Therefore, these traits qualify Tim Cook as a participative leader. Larry Page also falls under this leadership type. He holds 93% approval ratings from employees at Glassdoor. He has also defined the path to the future in Google in terms of development.
These three leaders have some similarities and differences. First, Zuckerberg and Page show similar passion and ambition in the projects undertaken. Unlike Cook, who has limited the activities of Apple to the production of iPods, iPads, iPhones, and Macintosh products, Zuckerberg has steered the company to pursue other projects not related to social media such as internet connectivity by internet.org, virtual reality, and use of drones for internet connectivity. Cook is relaxed, showing certain attributes of supportive leadership with repetitive tasks. Zuckerberg and Cook often employ democratic leadership style. Zuckerberg constantly consults employees as well as Facebook users. On the other hand, Cook has increased the level of transparency in Apple through quick responses to customer complaints and the improvement of work conditions of employees in China, following numerous complaints.
These leaders differ in their problem-solving approach. Thus, Cooks Apple uses customer care services to address the needs of its customers, while Page employs long-term solutions to technological problems the company seeks to solve such as the creation of driverless vehicles for the convenience of road users. On the other hand, Zuckerberg uses communication strategies in addressing the problem faced by Facebook users as well as employees. He constantly holds Q&A sessions in various countries he visits and responds to online comments from members of the Facebook community. Of the three, Zuckerberg often employs situational leadership. Additionally, Zuckerberg and Page lacked leadership experiences before establishing successful companies while Cook had a vast experience.
In conclusion, this essay has assessed the leadership performance and attributes of Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and Tim Cook. The three leaders are unique in their attributes shaped by emotional intelligence. These attributes made them adopt different leadership styles. From personal point of view, Zuckerberg's leadership is the greatest of the three because his decisions influence the lives of more than 1 billion people on Facebook across the world.