Sheryl Sandberg Leadership Style: After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1995, Sheryl Sandberg held several lofty positions within the tech industry. She’s best known, however, as the COO of Facebook, a job she has had since 2008.
Sandberg’s success and popularity make people curious about her leadership style. Knowing more about how she leads at a company like Facebook could help others manage their teams. It could also help investors better understand how Facebook (FB) grow under her continued guidance.
What Type of Leader Is Sheryl Sandberg?
It’s difficult to put a person’s leadership style into one category. But if you had to choose one more than any other, though, Sheryl Sandberg works as a transformational leader.
As a transformational leader, Sheryl Sandberg celebrates her employees’ successes and believes that praise encourages people to do better work.
The style also involves setting high expectations. Anyone working under Sheryl Sandberg can expect to put in their whole effort on every project. Those who meet or come close to meeting expectations get held up as examples for the group.
When other members of the group see the benefits of succeeding, they become driven to match that person’s work ethic.
Is Sheryl Sandberg a Laissez-Faire Leader?
To a small extent, you could say that Laissez-Faire Leader is a laissez-faire leader because she keeps herself open to suggestions from other people.
Her employees don’t feel afraid to come to her with bad news because they know that she will respond by helping them find solutions.
Sandberg also fits into the Laissez-Faire leadership model by working closely with other executives at Facebook, including Mark Zuckerberg (CEO), Mike Schroepfer (CTO), David Wehner (CFO), and Erin Egan (Chief Privacy Officer).
Facebook has about 2.7 billion active users as of 2020, so the executive team must work together to address user concerns, improve technology, and monitor the social media platform for inappropriate content.
Is Sheryl Sandberg a Transformational Leader?
Most people consider Sandberg a transformational leader because she sets high expectations, encourages people to reach those goals, and praises them for doing good work.
She’s an expert at recognizing a person’s good traits and pushing them to improve. She also knows how to encourage people to overcome traits that prevent them from moving forward in life.
When managers and employees have opportunities to work with Sandberg, they often discover that they’re capable of more than they knew.
Over time, Sandberg’s gentle nudging makes her colleagues more effective, thoughtful people who can focus on difficult jobs. In other words, she’s the type of leader who helps transform the people who work with her.
Characteristics of Sheryl Sandberg Leadership Style
Sheryl Sandberg’s leadership style includes characteristics like:
- Strong, open communication
- Setting challenging goals
- Positive reinforcement
- Gratitude for the work people do
- Learning agility that helps her become an expert in new topics quickly
- Empathy that helps her understand multiple perspectives
- Self-awareness that lets her learn from “failures”
All of these characteristics contribute to her success as a transformational leader who knows how to focus on goals and bring out the best in others.
Is Sheryl Sandberg a Servant Leader?
Sheryl Sandberg isn’t a servant leader, at least not in the traditional sense. She is aware, however, that she has a unique role as a powerful woman in the tech industry.
She has been known to take this role seriously and use it to open doors for other women.
In this sense, she dips her toes into the servant leader category, but it doesn’t play a significant role in her day to day management style.
Is Sheryl Sandberg a Visionary Leader?
Sheryl Sandberg is a visionary leader because she sets expectations for the people who work for her.
She doesn’t fit the mold of most visionary leaders, though, because she remains open to suggestions from other people.
She might set a goal and strategy for reaching that goal, but she will make changes to her ideas when someone else presents good reasons for doing so.
Sheryl Sandberg Leadership Quotes
Sheryl Sandberg has said many wise things about leadership. Some of her best quotes include:
“Leadership is not bullying and leadership is not aggression. Leadership is the expectation that you can use your voice for good. That you can make the world a better place.”
“I feel really grateful to the people who encouraged me and helped me develop. Nobody can succeed on their own.”
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
“Just as our bodies have a physiological immune system, our brains have a psychological immune system — and there are steps you can take to help kick it into gear.”
“The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”
“There is no perfect fit when you’re looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”
“Every woman I know, particularly the senior ones, has been called too aggressive at work. We know in gender blind studies that men are more aggressive in their offices than women. We know that. Yet we’re busy telling all the women that they’re too aggressive. That’s the issue.”
“Bring your whole self to work. I don’t believe we have a professional self Monday through Friday and a real self the rest of the time. It is all professional and it is all personal.”
“When you look at successful women, they have other women who have supported them, and they’ve gotten to where they are because of those women.”
“Build resilience in yourselves. When tragedy or disappointment strike, know that you have the ability to get through absolutely anything. I promise you do. As the saying goes, we are more vulnerable than we ever thought, but we are stronger than we ever imagined.”
“You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”
“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”
“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.”
“I realized that searching for a mentor has become the professional equivalent of waiting for Prince Charming. We all grew up on the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty,” which instructs young women that if they just wait for their prince to arrive, they will be kissed and whisked away on a white horse to live happily ever after. Now young women are told that if they can just find the right mentor, they will be pushed up the ladder and whisked away to the corner office to live happily ever after. Once again, we are teaching women to be too dependent on others.”
Sheryl Sandberg Leadership Style
Overall, Sheryl Sandberg has a transformational leadership style that encourages people to become better than they are. She understands that people can learn from failures in their professional and personal lives.
In fact, she doubts that there is much of a line between these aspects of life. And she encourages them to apply that knowledge when confronting new challenges.
Facebook needs executives who can show their empathy and passion. Sandberg does that perfectly, and her strengths help lift everyone who works with her.
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