Elon Musk founded some of the most innovative companies in the world, including X.com (which later became PayPal), SpaceX, and Tesla Motors. He also founded companies like Neuralink (a neurotech company) and The Boring Company (focused on infrastructure and tunnels for transportation). This is why Elon Musk stands out as one of the most innovative visionaries of our time.
Like any leadership style, Elon Musk’s style comes with some pros and cons. But what are the details of Elon Musk‘s leadership style, and what can be learned from his groundbreaking career? Read on to find out.
Elon Musk’s leadership style
Elon Musk’s leadership style is defined as transformational, he has big ideas and wants to unite his team around his vision and goals. He believes that there is a better way to do everything and is focused on constant improvement. Transformational leaders surround themselves with people who want to change the world.
Given the above, the four key components of Elon Musk’s leadership style are:
Elon Musk builds rockets, disrupts the auto industry, and has his sights set on colonizing Mars. He is known for being bold with an eye to the future. And he expects every member of his team to innovate alongside him. Musk’s grandiose vision and ambitious goals can be intimidating, but equally inspiring.
Many former and current employees admit that working for Musk is rigorous and demanding, but many point to it as a formative experience in their careers. There’s a reason for that: Musk is a very inspiring leader. Although some of his ideas are unattainable, he can excite people with his ambitions, projects, and plans.
Quick Action Leader:
Elon Musk is known for being stubborn and even impulsive, which while it has gotten him into trouble from time to time, also allows him to move quickly in his business. His fast-acting nature offers some benefits in terms of business growth and innovation but can also serve as a point of frustration for his team.
Elon Musk is known for setting aggressive, and sometimes even seemingly impossible, goals for his teams and employees. While he sets the bar high, he also recognizes that his team needs a high degree of psychological safety to pursue such stretch goals.
10 Lessons to learn from Elon Musk
Lesson 1: Lead by example
“If you’re a co-founder or CEO, you have to do all kinds of tasks that you might not want to do… If you don’t do your tasks, the company won’t succeed …” “It just works like hell. If other people are working 40 hours a week and you’re working 100 hours a week, even if you’re doing the same thing, you know you’ll accomplish in four months what it takes them a year to accomplish.”
Lesson 2: Lead with Purpose
“You have to have a very compelling goal for the company. If you put yourself in the shoes of someone who has world-class talent , that person has to believe that there is potential for a great result and believe in the leader of the company, they have to believe that you are the right person to work with. That can be a difficult thing, especially if you’re trying to attract people from other companies.” – Elon Musk
Lesson 3: Be creative
“The problem is that in many large companies, the process becomes a substitute for thinking. They (talent) are encouraged to behave like a small cog in a complex machine.” Elon Musk believes that the process prohibits the ability to innovate. Without creativity, progress and innovation are impossible.
Lesson 4: Be collaborative
“Talent is extremely important. It’s like a sports team, the team that has the best individual player often wins, but then you have to enhance how those players work together and the strategy they employ.” Elon Musk understands that teamwork is a must for a successful business. Therefore, it is essential to employ people who operate in a cohesive, committed, and oriented manner to meet the team’s objectives.
Lesson 5: Foster innovation
“Failure is an option here. If things don’t fail, you’re not innovating enough.” The first 3 launches at SpaceX failed. Musk took that as an opportunity to learn and innovate. Elon Musk allows and encourages employees to break out of “traditional” thinking and come up with new ideas.
Lesson 6: Be Decisive
“Without decisive action to lay the groundwork today, the sheer volume of affordable, high-efficiency panels needed for unsubsidized solar power to overtake fossil fuel grid power simply won’t be there when it’s needed.” In this quote, Elon Musk points out something fundamental that every leader must learn: unless you commit to act in the present, the change you want will never happen in the future. In this sense, Elon Musk discovers what he wants and then acts according to his ideas. Strategy and action lead to results.
Lesson 7: Getting comfortable with change
Being a CEO, “is eating glass and looking into the abyss.” You never know for sure the challenges that are going to arise. However, if you want to be a successful leader, you must adapt to any situation and keep moving toward your team’s goals. Regardless of what comes along, a leader comfortable with change knows how to enable their teams to build on their strengths to find solutions and innovate.
Lesson 8: Hire carefully
“Make sure that every person you hire really needs to be hired.” Elon Musk doesn’t hire just to fill a position. It’s important to make sure you hire the right person the first time. Effective leaders add people because they will help them get the job done. success; not to fill a vacancy.
Lesson 9: Set exceptionally high standards
“The number one problem for me is finding superlatively talented people. I think we’ve been lucky to find very, very talented people at SpaceX, because that’s always the driving factor for growth .” -Elon Musk
Lesson 10: Put the right people in the right role
“Creating a company is like baking a cake. You must have all the ingredients in the correct proportion.” Successful leaders set their people up for success. If you want to get the most out of your team, place them in roles that are natural to their behavioral impulses. If you try to turn your people into something they are not, you will lose valuable talent. If people are happy and energetic in their roles, they want the company to succeed.
Elon Musk is by no means a perfect CEO, and really, there is no such thing. However, with numerous successful companies on his resume and a reputation for developing some of the most innovative products and technologies on the market today, he is a leader worth scrutinizing. What did you think of today’s article? does it make sense to you? You already know what your leadership style is and how to enhance your strengths to focus them on the growth of your team.