Elon Musk is one of a kind to say the least. A genius, visionary, risk taker who wants to change the world. By all standards, he aims for what almost everyone would say is unachievable. Elon Musk is an adjective as much as a person. Should you embrace and follow the leadership style of Elon Musk?
It’s not easy being Elon Musk.
Geniuses are often jerks. They unlike most are comfortable in their loneliness at the top. Their support system consists of one – they themselves. They mock critics and seldom appreciate their supporters and admirers.
Now I don’t know Mr. Musk personally apart from having read his biography and being a witness to his theatrics on social media.
But most would agree with my assessment – he is a charismatic, hands on, inspiring genius and is obsessive, sarcastic and does not give a sh*t to what others may think of him. It’s not easy being Elon Musk.
Here’s how David Adkin sums up his assessment of Mr. Musk:
“It leads me to conclude that Elon cares about one thing above all else: saving our species. He cares so much about this that it doesn’t matter if people think he’s a jerk. To him, the greater good is more important that one individual’s feelings (even his family’s). So at the end of the day, I have to say that Elon Musk is a jerk, but he’s also an innovative jerk that we should aspire to be.”
Should we follow the leadership style of Elon Musk?
If like most, you too are influenced by how the charismatic Mr. Musk goes about managing his several businesses, it is time for you take a long pause and answer a few questions.
The management and leadership of Elon Musk comes at a cost. And like his goals and achievements, the cost is huge.
Leaving aside the criticism and flak, you need to be ready to be alone – irrespective of whether you win or lose. Embracing loneliness is not easy.
Get up from your boss chair and have a good look at the people working outside. Your people.
Now, answer the following questions:
- Do you want to grow WITH them?
- Can you prioritize their happiness and interests ahead of chasing top line growth for your business?
- Will it hurt if you lose some or most of your people trying to chase growth forecasts on a PowerPoint slide?
- Did it break your heart to read about the layoffs at Twitter and the way the layoffs were orchestrated?
If your answer to any of the above is YES, you are not qualified to embrace the Musk style of leadership and management. Neither am I.
So, we may not be visionary geniuses capable of saving the species. But we don’t have to. Let’s care for the people we work with. Let’s care for the people who work for us.
Grow slow, grow together!