3 Leadership Lessons We Can Learn from Elon Musk

  • Elon Musk is the founder of many futuristic companies like Neuralink, Space X, and The Boring Company, but he is known for the electric cars manufacturing firm Tesla.
3 Leadership Lessons We Can Learn from Elon Musk
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“If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.” Elon Musk

Elon Musk has become a global icon and a symbol for innovation, technology, creative entrepreneurship, and leadership. The younger generation is seeking to emulate him. The inspiring story of the young billionaire is making people change their perception about what is possible and how to lead a high-performance team in order to build a global company. 

Musk is the founder of many futuristic companies like Neuralink, Space X, and The Boring Company, but he is known for the electric cars manufacturing firm Tesla. Electric cars have been around for a while, but it was Musk who was able to truly disrupt the industry and he made the competition sit up and take notice. 

With hard work, determination, and his leadership abilities, Musk has been able to build a net worth over $57.9 billion according to Forbes. Now that is the kind of success any ambitious entrepreneur would like to emulate.  

But what leadership skills can you learn from Musk? Here are top three skills you can pick up from the billionaire.  

Have A Clear Vision About The Future 

Most leaders who think about the future they tend to limit their vision based on what’s possible. Musk dreams of a world that seems impossible. There are limitations of technology and budget that can limit your vision, but the Tesla founder thinks beyond these temporary challenges. 

When Musk originally came up with the idea for Space X, people told him it’s a bad idea. It was not just regular people who told him that it can’t be done, there were people from the industry who he respected and admired who were against his company. 

American heroes like Neil Armstrong and others testified against the commercialization of space flight. These are the people who Musk was inspired by in the first place. In an emotional interview, Musk admitted that it was difficult to see some of his heroes stand against him when he was actually hoping that they would be proud of what he is trying to do and perhaps encourage him. 

Musk’s answer to all who said it can’t be done. “We have done it.” And the billionaire continues to work hard and innovate to find answers to questions that many “experts” say is impossible. 

Inspire Your Workforce 

Imagine working for a company where the CEO tells you that the biggest achievement of the company this year is that they added 20% more profit. Or their dream in the next five years is to double the revenues. Or the plan is to open 100 new offices around the world? What reaction do you think people will have? There could be a collective eye roll and perhaps some will ask “what do I get?” 

Making money is not really inspiring. We all need an income to sustain our house and pay the bills, but deep down we all crave to contribute to society and make a mark or leave a lasting legacy. 

Musk’s plans are to disrupt industries and force companies to change the way they operate. Whether it is to revolutionize the automobile industry by offering electric cars or the plans to build a colony in Mars. These are the kind of ambitions that will keep your workforce up late at night thinking about how they can make this goal a reality, and you don’t have to offer them incentives like a 10% commission to get the job done. 

According to a survey conducted by CNBC, Space X emerged as the second most popular employer in the world. Tesla ranked 10th in the same survey.  

Failure Feels Terrible, But It’s Okay 

There is a famous quote from Musk that says, “Given the options, I would rather learn from success.” While, learning from success is a nice thing, failure is something that nobody can avoid no matter how intelligent and well funded you are, and Musk knows this. 

In one of the interviews that was focused about learning from mistakes, Musk said that it feels terrible after a failure. There are many smart people working at Space X, but the reality is that there are a thousand ways in which a rocket can fail and unfortunately rockets do fail sometimes. When that happens, all the employees look to the leader for clues about how to react. At that time, Musk’s job is to rally the troops and prepare them for the next attempt, even though he personally feels “super bad” himself after a failure.  

The best thing about the Silicon Valley is that failure is considered as an option. People do fail, but there is no stigma attached to failure. It is quite common for someone to start a company and fail and then move on to a next venture to try something different.  

The same philosophy of accepting failure as a part of the journey can apply to any industry and any level of the company’s hierarchy. Is the acceptance of failure only limited to business owners? What about the employees? How do you treat your employees when they fail? How did Musk treat his team when the rockets failed? 

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