Leadership Qualities, Skills, and Type of Elon Musk

Leadership Qualities, Skills, and Type of Elon Musk

We have many successful leaders in this world and Elon Musk is one of them. Elon Musk is a South African born Canadian-American business magnate who was born June 28, 1971. He is the founder and CEO of SpaceX; co-founder and CEO of Tesla Inc.; founder and CEO of Neuralink; co-founder and chairman of SolarCity; chairman of OpenAl and last but not the list, founder of PayPal. Until May 2017, he has an estimated net worth of $15.2 billion which made him 80th richest person in the world. In December 2016, according to Forbes, he was ranked 21st powerful people of the world. If we evaluate his leadership quality and style then we will see very least leader in the world can actually successfully run different types of business. It is not that easy to lead these multiple businesses in a parallel way. If the leader possesses special qualities and skills only then it would be possible to run multiple businesses in active way. We will be discussing his leadership qualities, skills, and style which have made him a great leader.


Leadership Qualities, Skills, and Type of Elon Musk


Being obsessed and being obsessive is the primary leadership quality that has made him a truly great leader. Many leaders of this world do not get obsessed with their work. Most of the leaders used to say to get their jobs done somehow or they used to say it is good enough even though their works are not being done properly. This kind of mentality actually does not make those people great leaders. Here Musk is completely different. He is totally obsessed with his duty. He is so passionate about his work. He compares his duty as oxygen. He always uses his time by thinking of new ideas. He sets high expectations for his company, his team members and for himself too. He always used to criticize the poor performance. He always strives for excellence and does not set on mediocrity.

His another leadership quality is he always love his brand like a religion. His work is highly personal to him which is born from the heart, nurtured into the heart and passionately loved. From his inspirational TED talks, he quoted that “As a leader, you teach others how to treat your brand by how you treat your brand. If you want others to love it, you have to love it. If you want the brand to run through their veins, it has to run through yours first.” He also said that “By pouring your heart into your work and inviting people to participate in your vision, you can attract swarms of dazzled fans willing to show you their love and respect.”

Articulating a powerful vision is one of his leadership skill that also made him a successful leader. He possesses this great skill and he also knows the path how to achieve the powerful vision. The best example of his articulation a powerful vision can be given here: the state of California is investing in a $68 billion high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco that will take three hours traveling 200 miles per hour. Elon Musk’s response to this project is a high-speed railway known as Hyperloop, which would transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes, that is 800 miles per hour. His plan will take eight years to build at a cost of about $10 billion.

Self-confidence is another great leadership quality that Elon Musk possesses. Musk is such a confident leader that he invests his own money on his business projects. He already invested over $100 million of his own money into SpaceX, $10 million into SolarCity, and at least $55 million into Tesla Motors. Inc. Yet he is getting massive profits from his projects.

Elon Musk’s one of the noted leadership quality and skill is he is an innovative leader. He always looks for an innovative invention. He is the CEO & CTO of Tesla Motors, which builds electric cars. He is also the CEO of and Chief Product Architect of SpaceX, which is a space exploration company and then it became the first private company to launch a satellite into geosynchronous orbit. Later in 2013, he introduced Hyperloop transport concept, where people are hurdled through a tube, in a personal capsule, at the speed of over 750 mph. He always used to say, “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

One of his leadership style that attracts more is he always say “Lead by Example”. In this point, his two quotations are very popular. One is “If you’re co-founder or CEO you have to do all kinds of tasks you might not want to do … If you don’t do your chores, the company won’t succeed … No task is too menial.”
And the other is “Just work like hell. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, even if you’re doing the same thing, you know that you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve.”

He is such kind of a leader who possesses a lot of leadership qualities, skills, and styles. All of his qualities, skills & styles cannot be described in words. Few more of his leadership qualities, skills & styles are given below:

  • ⦁ Leading with Purpose
  • Collaborative
  • Hiring Carefully
  • Putting the Right People in the Right Role
  • Being Comfortable with Change
  • Operating with integrity
  • Being Continuous learner is a priority
  • Optimistic
  • Having clear strategic vision
  • Focusing on the big picture

Elon Musk has his own leadership philosophy. His first philosophy of leadership is creating a vision. He has a vision of having a wonderful world that will be no longer reliant on fossil fuels, will be maximizing their use of green energy, and will be exploring space and building colonies on Mars (Jacoby, 2011). His vision is attractive, simple, understandable, & beneficial. To most people, his vision is neither realistic nor believable but Musk has made his vision possible & realistic.

His another philosophy is being a social architect. He inspires his employees in many ways. In each of his ventures, Musk has managed to mobile people to accept a new group identity and a new philosophy. According to him, this special philosophy is maintaining unique standards of excellence and clearing predictable paths of progress. Musk encouraged and motivated his team with saying, “For my part, I will never give up and I mean never”.

Earning trust during the work is another philosophy of Musk. Musk earns the trust of his followers by being predictable and reliable, even in situations that are in uncertain. For example, when Tesla struggled through various crises of financial difficulty, Musk continued to fund the company out of his own pocket. And ultimately invested over $100 million into the electric car company. Musk showed how to be effective & being trustworthy among the followers in times of crisis.

Our post was a discussion on “Leadership Qualities, Skills, and Type of Elon Musk”. So, from the discussion above, it is clearly stated that how Elon Musk is so passionate for his work. He really gives his all hundred percent to what he does. He says, ‘I should not ask people to eat from the fruit bowl if I have not myself been willing to eat from the fruit bowl.”


  • sites.psu.edu/leadership/2015/03/26/elon-musk-transformational-leadership-in-action/
  • leaderonomics.com/leadership/leadership-qualities-elon-musk
  • entrepreneur.com/article/279971
  • inc.com/lisa-calhoun/elon-musks-top-4-entrepreneurial-traits.html
  • rightmanagement.com.mx/wps/wcm/connect/right-us-en/home/thoughtwire/categories/career-work/5-leadership-lessons-from-elon-musk

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Sadnan Bin Sattar

Sadnan is one of the top contributors of Gotabout Business Strategy and Analysis. He is an undergrad student of North South University; major is Finance and Accounting. He has a strong interest in strategy development.