Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The one rule that keeps Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg's work relationship strong

sheryls.jpg

Ah, the age old question: how to nurture the best employee/employer partnership.

Well, it seems that Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, has the answer (but seriously, when does Sheryl not have the answer?)

Giving her commencement speech to the graduating class of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, this weekend, Sandberg shared the one rule she stuck to in order to maintain a healthy working relationship with Facebook founder and Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg.

Sandberg told graduates that when she joined Facebook in 2007, she asked Mark for one single commitment: “that he would give me feedback every week so that anything that bothered him would be aired and discussed quickly."

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

“Mark not only said yes but immediately added that he wanted it to be reciprocal. For the first few years, we stuck to this routine and met every Friday afternoon to voice concerns big and small. As the years went by, sharing honest reactions became part of our relationship and we now do so in real time rather than waiting for the end of the week,” said Sandberg.

Sandberg said that Zuckerberg’s encouraging reaction to the idea of taking feedback from his employees is what keeps the company functioning at such a high level and maintains positive working relationships.

She said: “Getting feedback from your boss is one thing, but it’s every bit as important to get feedback from those who work for you. This is not an easy thing to do as employees are often eager to please those above them and don’t want to criticize or question their higher-ups.”

The Facebook COO also said she now asks colleagues, as a matter of practice: “What could I do better?”

“I always thank the person who has the guts to answer me honestly, often by praising them publicly. I firmly believe that you lead best when you walk side-by-side with your colleagues. When you don’t just talk but you also listen,” Sandberg said.

Sheryl and David

Sheryl Sandberg and husband, Dave Goldberg

Sandberg’s advice rings true for all boss/employee relationships- if you don’t give each other feedback and challenge one another, misunderstandings could occur, or relationships could turn sour due to underlying, unspoken problems. Openness is key.

Sandberg ended her speech by referencing her late husband, David (who died suddenly, earlier this year), saying he was a “truly inspiring leader,” who “raised the level of performance of everyone around him,” at his company SurveyMonkey.

You can read the full speech here.

Words: Harriet Hall

Images: Rex Features

Related

11415577_10155617891025177_7133272550254997213_o.jpg

Sheryl Sandberg's beautiful essay on grieving the death of her husband

hero.jpg

Four simple ways to overcome mental fatigue in the workplace

9to5_53.jpg

Five ways to stop people interrupting you in the workplace

i dont know how.JPG

Working mum or stay-at-home parent? Four women share their decisions

job.jpg

Three lies it's actually acceptable to tell in your job interview

rexfeatures_408262k.jpg

The one thing that's proven to bring happiness at work

andy-sachs-the-devil-wears-prada-204941_1400_912.jpg

No more sinking feeling; now you can 'undo send' that misfired email

jenny.jpg

'I treat my staff as grown-ups, with no job titles and flexible hours'

Comments

More

First Dates’ Raymond taught us an important lesson about loneliness

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Apr 2017

These cheesy, cheesy recipes will give you life

Get a load of this fromagerie

by Jasmine Andersson
27 Apr 2017

This Commuter Barbie video is the most relatable thing we’ve ever seen

“Commuter Barbie has a seat at the table – and on the train!”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
27 Apr 2017

Woman thrown out of her gym for wearing a sports bra

Her workout clothes were deemed inappropriate by staff

by Hayley Spencer
27 Apr 2017

Black goth ice cream is here to save 2017

Wednesday Addams, eat your heart out

by Sarah Biddlecombe
27 Apr 2017

This is why we won't be getting a Bridesmaids sequel

Some movies really are best left alone.

27 Apr 2017

These are the 15 best-paying careers if you want to travel the world

Time for a change?

by Moya Crockett
27 Apr 2017

Scientists create artificial womb that could save premature babies

The new research is groundbreaking

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Apr 2017

First Dates viewers in tears over cancer survivor’s “perfect ending”

Sarah, who had her leg amputated at 16, just wanted someone to carry her into the sea

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Apr 2017

11 craft beers to make you feel summery whatever the weather

Bottles and cans to lift your spirits (beers)

by Amy Swales
26 Apr 2017