5 leadership lessons you can learn from visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk

The man behind SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, and Hyperloop, Elon Musk shows us how to do it right. Satyaki Sarkar

There are very few people in the world who instantly inspire awe and amazement at the drop of their names, but tech visionary and renowned inventor Elon Musk is definitely one of them. From his drive to completely revolutionise transportation on Earth and his space exploration projects, to his solar energy-based innovations, Musk has consistently proved himself to be a real life Tony Stark, working to solve the planet’s problems one at a time, with an indomitable spirit and a vision surpassing his contemporaries by leaps and bounds. Here are five important lessons to learn from this visionary genius if you’re aiming to be a good leader.

1. Have a strong, clear-cut vision
The first thing that an effective leader needs to have is a powerful vision, and one that is backed by facts and figures. They know what the end goal is, and they have a concrete plan that outlines how to achieve it, along with insights into possible obstacles and how to overcome them. Through that vision, they know how to influence and inspire others, and completely change the game. That vision is what gives a leader the power to motivate and drive his team forward, with a burning passion and belief in what he wants to achieve, and his ability to achieve it.

2. Have faith and confidence
Once you have a vision and an idea of what you wish to achieve, next is laying out the groundwork, and working towards achieving that goal. In the course of your efforts, there will be moments of doubt, failure, and insecurity, which might make you question yourself. The greatest leaders of all, however, never falter from their belief in themselves. Leaders often leverage other people’s money to finance their projects, so as to take away their own responsibility if they fail. Musk, however, constantly demonstrates his unshakeable self-confidence and faith in what he’s doing, by using his own money to finance his projects, be it SpaceX, SolarCity, or Tesla Motors.

3. Be resilient
Failure, as mentioned previously, is a part and parcel of any venture, and always a potential possibility. The sign of a great leader is when no amount of setbacks and failures can make him give up or quit. Musk, being the trailblazer that he is, has undertaken a vast number of ventures in his career, one of which was his aim of making space travel affordable and cheap. In that journey, failures, setbacks, and delays plagued him throughout the ride. However, he still kept at it, and persevered through the hurdles, learning from them and overcoming them, until his Falcon rocket was successfully launched in June 2010.

4. Have integrity
A great leader never resorts to fraud and deception to achieve his goals. Integrity is what builds confidence in a leader’s capabilities and his character, when it comes to his team as well as the general public. In spite of having invested nearly $55 million of his own money while founding Tesla Motors to produce electric cars, Musk was in need of further funding afterwards. So, he took a loan of over $400 million from the government for it, but not only did he promptly repay the loan on time, he also thanked the Department of Energy, members of Congress and everyone else who had assisted him in making his dream become a reality.

5. Be open to learning constantly
Leaders like Elon Musk know that knowledge can never be enough, and at no point can a man know everything there is to be known. A man who is constantly coming up with ground-breaking new ideas and enterprises needs to be able to expand his knowledge in order to be able to do so. Musk knows the value of that, and is therefore an avid reader who has been immensely vocal about the impact of reading on his career. It has given him the means to see a way when others fail to do so, and consistently figure out new solutions to problems he faces, on a daily basis.

Photograph: OnInnovation/Flickr 

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