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Leadership Performance Analysis of Elon Musk

Essay by   •  April 2, 2019  •  Case Study  •  2,353 Words (10 Pages)  •  113 Views

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Elon Musk is a South-African born successful technological entrepreneur, inventor, investor, and businessman who owns and runs several numbers of different companies at the same time. It has become common and not hard to find his name in all kind of headlines in recent years. He is well known and famous for his role as the Founder, CEO & CTO of SpaceX and Co-Founder, CEO & Product Architect of Tesla Motors and these two ventures were claimed as the most innovative and incredible company. Other than this, he is also involved in various successful technological business ventures such as The Boring Company, SolarCity, OpenAI, Hyperloop and more which are also not an ordinary one. Innovation and forward thinking is something that is always associated with Elon Musk and his projects. His visions are revolutionary and made the people believe that nothing is impossible by achieving his goals.

The leadership style which tends to inspire, motive and encourage the followers to make a change is defined as Transformational Leadership. It’s one of the approaches which leaders use to make changes in individuals and social system for a better future by inspiring and encouraging the followers to achieve so. Idealized influence, Inspirational Motivation, Intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration were the four elements of the Transformational Leadership. After analyzing the leadership style and performance of Elon Musk with the help of this theory, we can conclude that Musk is undebatably a Transformational leader. Idealized influence is nothing but behaving in a way that admires and inspires people which leads to being a role model. Elon Musk influences his followers with his incredible revolutionary vision like colonizing Mars and a strong belief in it. He has been a role model for a lot of people by being a risk-taker in trying new concepts with technology on his own money instead of seeking investors, SpaceX is an example for that. SpaceX is a revolutionary project which musk created on his own money and he was not afraid of taking the risk. This Inspires people in many ways and gained trust among his followers as it shows his confidence and a strong belief in his ideas and vision. And he has achieved something which everyone thought impossible. He made most of the industry experts to wonder by making a rocket that lands vertically, which everyone considered as impossible when he proposed his idea. Above all the criticism he made it successful by ignoring the Vision stealers and has set a high benchmark for the industry competitors. No one can disagree that Musk has an incredible ability to inspire the people through his vision and bring them together. When Tesla was suffering from manufacturing problems and they was behind the promised schedule of delivery, almost all customers understands the situation as they all were sharing the passion and vision of Musk and no cancelled the pre-orders of the Tesla cars. This shows how much he has inspired and influenced his followers through his vision. There was one event when the SpaceX’s all the three launches of Falcon1 rocket failed where musk proved he is an inspirational motivator. The entire SpaceX team was low because of the criticism from experts and press due to its terrible failure. Molly Singh - the former employee of SpaceX said in an interview that even at that time of failure, Musk was so confident that his idea is going to work and motivated the employees to focus on the next instead of thinking about the past and made them believe that the goal will be achieved and encouraged the employees to go ahead with the work by saying them “from my part I will never give up, and I mean never”. This shows an impressive leadership and made the employees believe in him as a leader and his vision. Whatever the product of Elon Musk, Innovation and creativity will be associated with them, whether it’s Tesla motors or SpaceX, or Hyperloop. He along with his SpaceX team researched some aspects of the rocket mechanism to reduce the cost of the rocket launch. As a result, they produced a reusable rocket which only costs $60 million for a launch, which displays his critical thinking and problem-solving ability and also he encouraged his employees to be creative and think in an untraditional way to solve problems. Having this kind of behavior is defined as Intellectual stimulation. Leaders Attending to each follower’s needs and having the empathy to listen to their concerns and acting as a mentor to the followers is defined as Individualized consideration. Apart from being ethical, Musk is a person who also spends time in knowing the needs of his every follower. For example, when musk came to know about the worker’s high injury rates in Tesla Factory, he expressed his concern about the worker's safety and showed them he cares for their wellbeing by sending an email to all the Tesla workers personally and proved he has an individual consideration for each of his followers. He asked the employees to report about every injury directly to him without any irregularity. He engages further by saying that he will improve the safety standards of workers and maintain it by meeting the safety team of Tesla Motors on a weekly basis. This shows the behavior of Supportive Leadership, according to Path-Goal Theory of Leadership and he also mentioned in the message sent to the employees that he would like to meet the injured workers. Must always has a high expectations from his employees and wants them to work hard along with him to achieve the shared vision, he tries to get the best out of each of his employees. Musk also exhibits another Leadership style stated in the Path-Goal Theory of Leadership, that is Participative Leadership. It is important to notice that Musk spends a lot of time staying online to reply to his customer’s questions and gets feedback from them to know the actual needs of the customers and tries to implement their suggestions to improve the features of Tesla Cars and make it more effective. This clearly states his Participative leadership behavior. Having a high interaction frequency with the followers is one of the characteristics of a great global leader. And all these situations demonstrates that he cares for his employee’s safety and concerns each employee’s needs taking the necessary steps to achieve it without getting stuck emotionally and this also shows his emotional intelligence, which is one of the important characteristics of good leadership. Above all, Musk really worked hard for the common good of the company and society rather than enhancing his own benefit and wealth, which is the purest transformational leadership style. Thus, I can say that he sets a standard for Transformational leadership as well, like how he made the standard bars so high for the rest of the industries through his revolutionary vision and projects.

Musk has taught several unique lessons



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