I can not speak for the rest of the Facebook employees, but I can tell my stories to explain why I believe the 99% approval rating is pretty fair.
After I joined Facebook in 2010, I worked on a secret project “graph search”. Within a couple months, I attended two Zuck reviews to discuss the project. He absorbed our ideas and provided feedback and support. I am not sure how other CEOs work, but as an entry level engineer I was really impressed. In the later years, I attended more Zuck reviews and saw Zuck reviews happening every day (his office has glasses walls) with both VP/directors and eng/designer/PM
In 2012, Facebook IPOed, so we had an in-campus celebration event at Hack Square. Everybody was drinking and laughing. I was trying to push my code out so I was a little late to the party. When I walked into Hack Square, Zuck was talking to someone else but he turned to me and said “congratulations”, I was so surprised that I said “thank you”. Looking back, I think he was actually the one we all should have congratulated but I am so touched by the congrats he gave me (again, an average engineer) first.
I can list more details that Zuck is so awesome but I think you can get some sense from my stories. He is a really unique CEO that I will forever love to work with. He keeps great relationship with most CEOs in the industry. He loves his wife and always mentions how much he owes her in front of the whole company.
If you still wonder why Mark Zuckerberg has the highest approval rating after reading all the answers, join Facebook and you will know for sure.
Answer by Amir Memson, iOS Software Engineer at Facebook:
Because he is just that awesome.
There are several reasons why we “approve” of him:
•The story: He built this billion user and billion dollar company from his dorm room, overcame one obstacle after another, and assembled a company with some of the most talented employees in the world.
•The principles: He is dead-focused on “making the world more open and connected.” The guy doesn’t waver; all the investments in R&D and acquisitions have been along these lines.
•The heart: He was the biggest donor of 2013, and is generally a minimalist. He is clearly committed to Internet.org, even though that’s not necessarily where the short term revenue increases are. We really feel he wants to change the world for the better.
•The guts: What other CEO has the… guts… to purchase a chat company for $19B??? It’s a very smart purchase for various reasons, but still, $19B! Even other Silicon Valley CEOs acknowledge Zuck’s fearlessness: http://read.bi/1n24ctW
•The wisdom: When we hear him speak, he gives us brain wrinkles. He has this uncanny ability to make all the right strategic moves, and when he explains the reasons for making those moves, it simply makes sense. Sure, mistakes have been made, and hindsight is 20/20, but at decision time, it was for all the right reasons.
•The trust: He doesn’t make all the decisions, in fact far from it. We feel entrusted and empowered to drive our features the way we feel is best for the people that use Facebook. This is drastically different from many top-down corporations. We’re happy with the balance between management-mandated and grass-roots-inspired decision making.
•The character: He wears T-Shirts and jeans, talks with humility, and he just seems generally very approachable. We like that.
•The business: Facebook is a rock solid business that is rapidly increasing in revenue as we speak. It makes more than 70% more in revenue than it was making just one year ago.
•The free food and perks: Yes, this makes us like him and the company too. He has the ability to put an end to it at any time, but he keeps it coming. If somebody gives me free cookies, I like them, this part is not rocket science.
And, no, having a lower approval rating is not a good thing. People don’t “approve” because they agree with everything, rather they know that they have a say, and that their opinion matters. It’s a good thing to like your boss.