Marissa Mayer’s Leadership Beliefs

Looking for examples of executives who are weathering a variety of business situations? There are many case studies of leadership success, but here, Counselor identifies dynamic leaders who have been able to adapt to various business circumstances and shares quotes from each one about their leadership style and approach.

Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo

Mayer, who had previously been a technology programmer at Google, took over as the head of Yahoo in July 2012. At that point, the company was floundering, trying to find its way as a cross-section between technology and media. The company didn’t necessarily know what it wanted to be and how it would find success moving forward, but Mayer has given it more of a roadmap toward the media side. It has abandoned some of its traditional search business, and has embraced content and community as a way to monetize its business.

How To Adapt Your Leadership Style

Along the way, Mayer has also been able to change some of the culture at the new-media giant. To simplify the bureaucratic process and “make the culture the best version of itself,” Mayer launched a new online program called PB&J. It collects employee complaints, as well as their votes on problems in the office; if a problem generates at least 50 votes, online management automatically investigates the matter. She has also implemented additional leave time for new parents who work at the company.

She has also, though, drawn some criticism since she decided in February 2013 to institute a major personnel change that required all remote-working employees to convert to in-office roles. Telecommuting had become part of the culture at Yahoo, and this shift was met with derision both inside and outside of the company. Mayer has been able to weather the storm and has used her leadership philosophies to ensure that employees buy in to the changes she’s been implementing.

Some of Mayer’s leadership beliefs, in quotes: 

  • “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
  • “Employees, especially young people, want more than a paycheck.”
  • “I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful.”
  • “If you can find something that you’re really passionate about, whether you’re a man or a woman comes a lot less into play. Passion is a gender-neutralizing force.”