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People Management: Elon Musk’s Leadership

Executive Summary

This report employs a variety of leadership theories to assess Elon Musk’s leadership abilities and styles at Tesla Motors. The paper focuses on Elon Musk’s leadership in general and attempts to correlate leadership attributes with several well-known traditional leadership techniques. Musk’s leadership attributes are revealed, and they are demonstrated to be consistent with all traditional leadership approaches except servant leadership. Additionally, the data provide light on a previously unknown aspect of Musk’s leadership (entrepreneurial leader). Finally, the research gives numerous recommendations to Elon Musk, including corporate entrepreneur and servant leadership strategies, in order to integrate his leadership trait with practical ideas.


Both researchers and practitioners believe that core techniques such as strategic planning and leadership are crucial for accelerating organizational success in the twenty-first century. Leadership, in its simplest form, is the power to influence people. In the twenty-first century, leadership is a problem, not just for managing a company, but also for leading the environment, since the business environment evolves constantly (Sudha and Shahnawaz, 2020). Over the last several years, organizations have been increasingly cognizant of the crucial need for leaders. As a result, leaders’ people, processes, structures, and technology must continually be adapted. This needs managers to be adaptive and prompt in their decision-making. The present research focuses exclusively on Elon Musk’s leadership qualities at Tesla Motors. The study’s major objective is to ascertain the extent to which Musk’s leadership style aligns with that of Tesla Motors. More precisely, this inquiry will look into Elon Musk’s leadership procedures at Tesla Motors and will attempt to ascertain the sorts of leadership qualities that exist in Mask’s leadership.

About Elon Musk

Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. After fleeing South Africa at the age of 17 to attend Queen’s University in Canada, he avoided his country’s mandatory military duty. The University of Pennsylvania was where he studied business and physics in 1992 (Maamoun, 2021). Economics was his first choice, but he went on to get a second bachelor’s degree in the subject. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Elon Musk enrolled at Stanford University in California to pursue a doctorate in energy physics.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, is regarded as a visionary leader who can glimpse the future. As a genius, Musk recognizes this and values himself while listening to his critics, clients, observers and fans. And he leverages this information to his advantage as effectively as he possibly can. While the company was on the verge of bankruptcy, Musk remained calm and upbeat, despite his company’s dire financial situation (Khan, 2021). Employees were worn out and mentally depleted following the rocket launch failure in 2008.

Path-Goal theory

When it comes to the path-goal theory, the CEO of SpaceX fits into three of the four behaviors associated with it (Kinley and Ben-Hur, 2020). However, his methods may be viewed as both right and wrong in some situations. After a report of a high injury rate at the workplace, he issued a personal email to his colleagues to inform them of the situation. “No words can explain how much I care about your safety and well-being,” Elon allegedly said to his colleagues. My heart bleeds every time I hear of an injury, and I want to meet with the individuals who have been harmed as soon as they are well enough so that I can get their perspective on how to make it better.” Here, Musk shows that he cares about his employees’ well-being, which is an excellent way to establish a personal connection. According to path-goal theory, the leader has to be nice and approachable, and he or she must be mindful of the needs and well-being of his or her followers. When a leader shows concern for the well-being of his employees, it may instill in them the self-assurance they need to be successful (Rao, 2022). Furthermore, Musk exhibits a participatory behavior by volunteering to chat to each of the wounded workers in order to improve the situation and reduce the injury rate. When making decisions, a participatory leader solicits input from his or her team and incorporates that input into the decision-making process.

Transformational Leader

Elon Musk, for instance, is a transformative leader who strives to raise his team’s level of trust and efficiency. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, is establishing an example of self-confidence by plunging straight into projects with his staff and earning the trust of people around him. For instance, when Tesla sought money, he spent four weeks with his floor team integrating his solar engine into a smart car in order to dazzle management and get financial assistance.

Trust is a psychological state that occurs when you decide to place your trust in another person because you have high expectations for the outcome. Musk’s ethics, principles, and personal beliefs distinguish him from the conventional change leader (Higgins, 2021). It is the job of senior management to create the proper tone for any organization, to exemplify it, and to promote and acknowledge others’ honesty while avoiding authority abuses. When his business SpaceX’s fifth Falcon 1 rocket launch failed, it resulted in both a failed assignment and a reduction in NASA spacecraft.

Charismatic leadership

Elon Musk is an example of a charismatic leader who is an active innovator and entrepreneur. An individual who exudes charisma is endowed with superhuman or extraordinary abilities. Characteristics of charismatic leadership, as include a drive to dominate, a strong belief in one’s own beliefs, the urge to influence others, and a high level of self-confidence (Muwara, and Uddin, 2020). These qualities may be said to be possessed by Musk, who is able to monitor many of his firms’ day-to-to-day operations, hire enough staff himself, and occasionally take on the work commitments of other employees. Motivating staff is one of Musk’s top priorities. Musk reshapes the nature of labor by elevating the company’s aims to hero status and giving them a brighter future. Founder and CEO Elon Musk outlines Tesla’s objective as “to leave the fossil fuel era as quickly as feasible and move toward a sustainable energy future.” Furthermore, he states his goal as “to promote wider public awareness” in his mission statement. what it takes for an authentic leader to make his or her followers perceive their organization’s work as a reflection of who they are as an individual.

Visionary leadership

Elon Musk embodies the qualities of a visionary leader. He dreams about things that no one else would dare or could dream with such delicacy. He possesses an ability to conceptualize design at a systemic level, connecting design, technology, and business, which requires a high level of confidence and stems from his proclivity for taking outrageous risks (Vasilescu, 2019). This style of leadership necessitates an individual who understands that leadership approaches, stages, and procedures are all acquired in collaboration with and through others. They are motivated by a desire to see their visions and ambitions realized. They excel at communication and management, and they have an uncanny ability to inspire others with their dreams, which they will fiercely protect and work tirelessly to realize. Musk, without a doubt, possesses a vision. He envisions a society in which humans are no longer reliant on fossil fuels, where green energy is maximized, and where humans explore space and establish colonies on Mars. This perspective is appealing, direct, understandable, practical, and quite literally energizing. Even though the majority of people believe his vision is neither feasible nor credible, Musk has made it his mission to make it both.

The characteristics and leadership skills of Elon Musk


Elon Musk is a tireless inventor who puts in an average of 100 hours per week and has a long track record of success. When it comes to setting high standards for his fellow employees, he may be the company’s most demanding employee (Chorbadzhiyska and Mironova, 2021). To him, learning and doing his job are both enjoyable experiences because the subject matter is something he is passionate about.

Risk tolerant

Starting a business is fraught with ambiguity and danger. Most businesses fail within ten years, according to a survey. It’s possible that Tesla CEO Elon Musk faced the same risks when he decided to take on a risky and uncertain business venture.


Clearly, Musk has a high belief in his own abilities and the potential-seeking component of the company’s original workforce. He is not scared to place large bets until he is sure of the outcome. In addition, each large firm must create a climate of trust and confidence among its employees (Kanat-Maymon, Elimelech and Roth, 2020). When he’s in control, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promotes a positive and inclusive work atmosphere.

Innovative and outstanding

At every level of his understanding, Musk chooses to focus on invention. He likes to start with the basics of a subject, then go on to the implementation and execution of solutions in the real world. To improve the chance of ground-breaking innovations, he places a larger focus on transitory elements such as research and development Electric car firm Tesla Motors is anything from traditional, led by Elon Musk. An attractive marketplace has grown into a one-stop shop for buyers to discuss product details (Rimmer, 2018). Video testimonials from satisfied customers are also available from this company. There is little question that Musk’s prodigious production and optimistic view on life have inspired ambitious entrepreneurs and investors.


  • Set tough goals to help people test the limits of what they are capable of.
  • Concentrate only on work that advances the organization closer to accomplishing its objective.
  • Create a work environment that values work-life balance.


To summarize, while Musk may not be the perfect leader in terms of interpersonal skills, his ultimate goal, like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, is to leave a legacy and have a huge impact on humanity. Tesla has been one of the most imaginative firms in recent years as a consequence of the acquisitions and new products produced for the benefit of society. While some may adore Musk and others loathe him, his past demonstrates that he possesses a vital component that many entrepreneurs lack, namely a strong worldview, and should be praised for seeking to improve the world. It is possible to infer that both Elon Musk’s revolutionary and transactional leadership approaches benefit employee and organizational performance.


Chorbadzhiyska, D. and Mironova, N., 2021. Communication As A Factor Of Leadership Style. Economics and Management18(1), pp.72-80.

Higgins, T., 2021. Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century. Doubleday.

Kanat-Maymon, Y., Elimelech, M. and Roth, G., 2020. Work motivations as antecedents and outcomes of leadership: Integrating self-determination theory and the full range leadership theory. European Management Journal38(4), pp.555-564.

Khan, M., 2021. A critical analysis of Elon Musk’s leadership in Tesla motors. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, pp.1-10.

Kinley, N. and Ben-Hur, S., 2020. How Leadership Works. In Leadership OS (pp. 1-18). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Maamoun, A., 2021. Elon Musk and Tesla: An Electrifying Love Affair. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals.

Muwara, D. and Uddin, K., 2020. A Critical review on Leadership: A Case Study on Elon Musk’s Leadership Style.

Rao, M.S., 2022. Innovative Leadership: Tools and Techniques to Acquire Innovative and Inspiring Ideas. In Innovative Leadership in Times of Compelling Changes (pp. 69-78). Springer, Cham.

Rimmer, M., 2018. Elon Musk’s open innovation: Tesla, intellectual property, and climate change. In Intellectual Property and Clean Energy (pp. 515-551). Springer, Singapore.

Sudha, K.S. and Shahnawaz, M.G., 2020. Narcissism personality trait and performance: task-oriented leadership and authoritarian styles as mediators. Leadership & Organization Development Journal.

Vasilescu, M., 2019. Leadership styles and theories in an effective management activity. Annals-Economy Series4, pp.47-52.


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