Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

 

You have to admire Facebook.

You have to, or Facebook's management will get terribly upset.

Here's a company that's made itself the de facto communication system for billions of people.

It presents itself as almost altruistic. It loves bringing people together. And to prove it, it's shown how you can hire relatively few of those people and make vast amounts of money.

There must, though, be a secret to being a great manager at Facebook. After all, you've got some fairly strange people to manage. It starts at the top.

The CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has claimed he only eats the meat from animals he himself kills.

The COO, Sheryl Sandberg, seems to believe you can fight terrorism with Facebook "likes."

So imagine what the rest of the employees are like.

Here, then, are the seven secrets of great Facebook management as offered to Business Insider by Facebook VP of people, Lori Goler.

1. Caring.

Goler says that managers must first be caring sorts. They need a passion for leading others. They have to want to be managers, rather than seeing management as a stepping stone to some sort of ego-glory. Even though management is, of course, a stepping stone to ego-glory.

2. Nurturing.

They have to allow their charges to develop. They can't hold them back under the guise of offering a firm hand. You're just a foster parent, dear manager. Soon, you have to let them go and await the next raw material to shape and let fly.

3. Setting Clear Goals.

The employees know what's expected of them. Which must be difficult, as circumstances change in the Web business all the time. Still, Facebook employees have two performance reviews a year. How tiring. To sit down every six months and have to trawl through your greatest hits and biggest misses is surely no fun. Unless you're wonderful. Which you must be, I suppose, if you have a great Facebook manager.

4. Giving Constant Feedback.

This can't be easy. Letting your staff know exactly how they're doing all the time must be terribly sapping on the energy. Imagine checking in with your lover on a regular basis. "How am I doing, darling? Am I doing alright? Am I giving you what you need?" "Yes, darling. How are you doing, darling?" Oh, goodness.

5. Removing Obstacles.

The finest of Facebook managers sees roadblocks and whips them out of employees' way, so that the employees can flourish. Facebook has some expertise in obstacle removal. You know, obstacles like governments.

6. Holding Employees Accountable.

This is a true Silicon Valley phenomenon. It's been best expressed by San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York. "Hold me accountable," he tells fans. The only problem is that fans haven't a clue what that means, other than to blame him for the abject performance of his team. I'm sure it works far better at Facebook.

7. Recognizing Great Work.

Everyone has biases. You like some of your staff more than others. What if the least liked has the best idea? Recognizing a great idea can earn you a fortune. Indeed, it's said that Mark Zuckerberg recognized a great idea when he took control of Facebook and found himself with a lawsuit brought by the Winkelvoss twins. But this isn't quite the sort of recognizing great work that the best Facebook managers enjoy. In this case, it means noticing when something has gone well and celebrating it. And if you're a Facebook manager and manage to satisfy all the Seven Heavenly Demands of being a great Facebook manager, you'll need a drink. Or several.

Published on: Jan 28, 2016
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