Leadership Lessons From The Social Network: Teamwork

The movie, The Social Network, is a powerful portrayal of how the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his team, started out with a dream and a $1000 start-up, to become the youngest billionaire in the world. At the point of writing, Facebook is valued to be worth at least $50 billion, and this would mean that she is worth more than eBay, Yahoo, and Time Warner. This is a very impressive result given the fact that Facebook was launched in February 2004.

There are also plenty of lessons that this movie can teach us about leadership and team management, and this is the final series of the trilogy. There may be certain information in the movie that had been exaggerated to increase the excitement level, as even Zuckerberg himself, calls The Social Network “inaccurate”. Hence I would take all these information with a pinch of salt and relate most of the lessons learned, from the movie itself, and not from real life.

In this article, I will share about teamwork and how it can help you unlock the true potential as a leader.

Proper Delegation of Work. The whole team can only do well when you know what their job scopes are. In one of the scenes in the Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg wanted to expand The Face Book, and he directed his team on their roles, and what they were supposed to do. And when the two ladies who were present in the living room, asked if they could help in any way, he declined them without much thought because at that moment, he knew that he didn’t require their help in any way. On the other hand, he specifically told the others what their tasks were.

Even the Winklevoss brothers had specific roles for their team. And they knew that they were deficient in a particular talent when their programmer left the team to concentrate on his studies. Hence when news broke out that Zuckerberg was able to shut down the Harvard traffic with his “prank”, they immediately reached out to him and shared with him their ideas so that he could work for them.

Once you know what your team is supposed to be made up of, you would be able to find the right person for the job. You need to set stretched and measurable goals for them and you also need to be informed of the progress. Effective delegation is not merely pushing away the jobs that were meant for you. Effective delegation is to ensure that the person with the right skill does what he or she knows best.

For example, let’s presume that you intend to increase your customer base with a promotional blitz. Firstly, you need to know who your team members are in this project. Secondly, you then need to identify who does what, and their deliverables by a certain time. Thereafter, Jane must come up with the product packages and links with other partners, and John must reach out to X advertising companies with the marketing materials. Hence once the planning stage is over, the real action must start so that the project starts to roll with momentum from all parties.

Build Quality Relationships First, then Your Business. Now, not every partner will work together initially. It’s your job to iron out the differences. And fast. In The Social Network, Eduardo Saverin had his own ideas in ensuring success of the company. However, Mark Zuckerberg had his own ideas too. And while, Saverin was Chief Financial Officer in the business, Zuckerberg proceeded to pull Sean Parker, founder of Napster into the team. Parker and Saverin were portrayed to have mutual dislike for each other and when your teammates distrust each other, unless you find time to sort things out, many issues will simply be swept under the carpet and it will fester.

As a leader, you need to take the time to understand your partners in the business because people want you to understand their aspirations and dreams. They want you to understand what they are good in, and where they can fit in with regard to projects. Why would you want to place a person with zero knowledge in sales without first training him? And have you spent the time to understand if he even likes sales? So by investing time to understand your core team members in the business, you would be building quality relationships.

Hence understand your team, and they will learn to understand you. It will definitely take time and that’s the fun and rewarding part in building a team.

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