Last week, Mark Zuckerberg used his voice--and his Facebook account--to increase awareness and promote change in U.S. immigration policy.
He defended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the United States when they were under the age of 16 from being deported.
Earlier this year, President Trump canceled DACA, putting DACA recipients (also known as Dreamers) at risk to being deported and removed from the lives they've built in the United States. However, U.S. District Judge, William Alsup of Northern California, temporarily blocked Trump's ban on DACA when he ruled that the DACA program needed to stay intact.
As a result, the situation is being litigated and Dreamers are left waiting for congress to make a decision.
Which is why it was such an imperative time for Zuckerberg to speak up for these Dreamers. In this act, he exemplified three powerful traits that all successful leaders should embody.
1. Use your voice, and your platform, to stand up for what you believe in.
By speaking up for people who aren't being heard, Mark Zuckerberg used his power to lead. He stood up for a cause he believed in, and spoke his truth to a situation that he feels is important--even though it doesn't affect him as an individual.
Regardless of the backlash this could cause him, or his company, Zuckerberg stood up for the Dreamers. That alone shows an immense amount of leadership. Being a good leader is about thinking of the community you lead, and not just yourself.
He led with compassion, and spoke up for the thousands of DACA members who have been living in fear since last year. In his Facebook post, he says:
It takes courage and selflessness to stand up for someone else, and to see an injustice in the world and speak to it.
That is one of the most important traits a leader could have. As Martin Luther King said, "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus."
2. Respectfully challenge a major flaw in the status quo.
As a leader, it's important to not only choose what you stand up for, but how you stand up for it.
Anyone can be considered a "leader" if they get enough traction. Hitler was a leader. But a good leaders, positive leaders, and those who change the world for the better, choose wisely what and how they spread their message.
Zuckerberg both acknowledges his frustration with the government and the situation they are putting the dreamers in, while still putting his best foot forward and asking them to create positive change.
"This is a basic question of whether our government works. Can Congress come together and find a path forward, or will we default to forcing almost one million people out of their jobs and country?"
He doesn't point fingers at individuals. He doesn't blame the system as a whole. He asks a genuine question, and in it creates an incredible amount of awareness to the reality of the situation.
3. Instead of posturing as "the one in charge," ask others to support and help.
Every great leader knows they can't create impactful change on their own.
A CEO needs a COO. A VC firm needs portfolio companies to invest in. And impactful legislative change, needs both the government and its citizens. We're all in this together.
In his post, Zuckerberg empowers his audience to act and be a part of the change.
"From my conversations with leaders in Congress, I believe they want to fix this, but we need to keep the pressure on so they know we'll hold them accountable. I've been calling members of Congress and you can help by calling your Congressman or Congresswoman too right now."
He does what every good leader does best, which is give his movement a call to action. By enabling everyone to be a part of the system and create change, he unifies lawmakers and the communities they serve while speaking up for a community in need.
That humility is what set leaders apart, and makes them both memorable and powerful.