What is the Leadership Style at Zappos?


Zappos is a well-known online shoe and clothing retailer that has gained a reputation for its unique corporate culture and leadership style. The company has been recognized for its exceptional customer service, employee satisfaction, and strong leadership. In this article, we will explore the leadership style at Zappos and how it has contributed to the company's success.

Zappos' Company Culture

Before we dive into the leadership style at Zappos, it's important to understand the company's culture. Zappos has a unique corporate culture that is built around 10 core values, including:

  • Deliver WOW Through Service
  • Embrace and Drive Change
  • Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  • Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  • Pursue Growth and Learning
  • Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  • Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  • Do More With Less
  • Be Passionate and Determined
  • Be Humble

These values are at the heart of everything Zappos does, and they guide the company's decisions, actions, and leadership style.

Servant Leadership

The leadership style at Zappos is often described as "servant leadership." This means that leaders at Zappos focus on serving their employees, customers, and community rather than themselves. Servant leaders prioritize the growth and well-being of their team members and strive to create a positive and empowering work environment.

At Zappos, servant leadership is reflected in the company's management philosophy, which is based on the idea that managers should support and empower their employees rather than control them. This means providing employees with the resources and autonomy they need to succeed, as well as being available to help and support them when needed.


In addition to servant leadership, Zappos also uses a management system called "holacracy." Holacracy is a decentralized management structure that replaces traditional hierarchies with self-organizing teams. In a holacracy, employees are organized into circles based on their roles and responsibilities, and they have the autonomy to make decisions and take action within their circles.

At Zappos, holacracy is used to create a more agile and responsive organization that can adapt to changing circumstances and customer needs. It also empowers employees to take ownership of their work and make decisions that are in the best interest of the company and its customers.

Empowerment and Autonomy

Empowerment and autonomy are key components of the leadership style at Zappos. The company believes that employees who are empowered and given the autonomy to make decisions are more engaged, motivated, and productive. This is reflected in Zappos' management philosophy, which emphasizes trust, transparency, and communication.

At Zappos, employees are encouraged to take risks, experiment, and learn from their mistakes. They are also given the freedom to pursue their passions and interests, both inside and outside of work. This empowerment and autonomy create a culture of innovation and creativity, where employees are motivated to come up with new ideas and solutions.


The leadership style at Zappos is unique and reflects the company's core values and culture. By focusing on servant leadership, holacracy, empowerment, and autonomy, Zappos has created a positive and empowering work environment that attracts and retains top talent. This leadership style has also contributed to the company's success, with Zappos consistently ranking as one of the best places to work and a leader in customer service.

As we look to the future, it's clear that the leadership style at Zappos will continue to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances. However, one thing is certain: Zappos' commitment to its core values and culture will remain at the heart of everything the company does.

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