Introverted and Extroverted Leaders

introverted and extroverted leaders Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with COO Sheryl Sandberg

I am writing a new book on how to be successful in Introvert-Extrovert partnerships. In reviewing the research I came across a blog post I wrote 4 years ago. It is based on a NY Times article that describes the relationship between the CEO and COO of Facebook.  Here it is: 

An unlikely pair that works, Extrovert Sheryl Sandberg and Introvert Mark Zuckerberg, COO and CEO of Facebook, respectively are profiled in an article called Mark Zuckerberg’s Most Valuable Friend by Miguel Helft in the NY Times. I believe that these introverted and extroverted leaders have at least four key elements found in well oiled relationships.

1) Respect for  differences. Sandberg is an extrovert. Zuckerberg is an introvert. A lot of people choose to hire people who look exactly like them,” Mr. Zuckerberg says. “Here we just value balance a lot more.”

2) Loyalty – Ms. Sandberg defends her boss against his critics. She says he is warm underneath that reserved exterior. “He is shy and introverted and he often does not seem very warm to people who don’t know him, but he is warm,” Ms. Sandberg says of Mr. Zuckerberg, her voice rising with empathy. “He really cares about the people who work here.”

3) Coaching – They support each other by offering honest and direct feedback. They are not afraid to push back on decisions and provide emotional support. “At a technology conference this summer, for instance, Mr. Zuckerberg flopped during an onstage interview. He gave rambling answers to questions about Facebook’s privacy policies, became visibly nervous and started sweating profusely. After the interview, Ms. Sandberg encouraged him not to beat himself up over it, but to focus on parts of the interview that went well so he could do better next time….”

4) Frequent and Regular Meetings – In their Monday morning and Friday afternoon face to face meetings, they address strategy, personnel, deals and each other. There is just no getting around sitting down face to face to iron out differences and make decisions.  I am relieved to see these two social media leaders modeling conversation beyond the screen.

Update: When they get past their differences  Introverted and Extroverted leaders can be tremendously helpful to each other.  They put the outcomes of their work first and don’t get bogged down in the process of communication.

 I would love to see an update to this article. How has their relationship evolved several years later? I will dig around and see what I can discover. 

Send me any examples from your own experience of working with your opposite type. Challenges and positives welcomed.  I can include your examples in the book. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *