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Steve Jobs vs. Elon Musk

created Apr 6th 2015, 19:58 by Max Adams



783 words
5 completed
Everyone knows about Apple. The largest corporation in world history tends to be fairly famous. Just as everyone knows the name of the corporation, most know the name of the person behind its founding and success: Steve Jobs. Lauded as one of the greatest corporate leaders of his time, Jobs used a very autocratic and strict management style. Another famous entrepreneur, king of PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla, Elon Musk, utilized a somewhat different leadership style, preferring use of his own example to Jobs’s methods. Although both have obviously reaped success, the method used by Musk is a preferable style for succeeding in most situations.
    Steve Jobs (1955-2011) is a legendary CEO (Steve Jobs, 2014). Books have been written about him, seminars praise his example as a leader, and a movie has even made about his successful life. As a leader thought, he left much lacking in theory acting, not as one would expect from a conventional CEO. Having created a $675 billion dollar business, however, he obviously got some things right (Will Apple soon be worth $1 trillion?, 2014). Jobs is described by many who knew and worked with him not shying away from “blunt delivery of criticism” (Steve Jobs: an unconventional leader, 2011). Perhaps this tactlessness was part of what resulted in his success. By using such a bold and canderous form of leadership, he may have saved much time in his management, spurring his work and the work of his coworkers to greater efficiency than ever before. The ability to relay commands and suggestions for improvement without wasted words is a valuable asset. Although some who worked with Jobs may have found it harmful to the ego to hear such open criticism, it is undeniable that allowing such things to be said can improve workplace performance and the overall success of the company.  
Efficient interpersonal actions were not all that characterized Jobs as a leader, however.  One who can often appear tasteless surely needs other elements of leadership to balance that out. Jobs was also considered by many to be, quite simply, a genius. Without this facet, this visionary ability to see what the world of technology needs and how to use that, Jobs surely would not succeed. It was this very ability that allowed him the ability to criticize and improve others to such great effect. His credibility was improved by the fact that he was able to produce such great results himself. WIthout that he surely would not have achieved the great levels of corporate and innovative success that he did in the decades he spent with his company.
    Although certainly as hard-nosed as Jobs in many situations, Elon Musk (1971-present) implements a subtler style of leadership (Elon Musk, 2015). Musk’s tactics primarily involve replacing a use of force with the high expectations of one who has exceeded every expectation ever set of them. From a young age, Musk has found interest in business and has built his life around that to an extent that even Jobs might envy. Although both were involved in their work to great extents, to Musk, work is an obsession. This obsessive devotion to his projects has resulted in the decay of his family to some extent. He was divorced again for the second time in 2014 for these causes (Elon musk Divorces His Wife Again, 2014). Despite this, thought Musk remains a great leader of his companies. Using his own high-energy example for a blueprint for success, Musk inspires employees to reconsider their values as employees and members within the companies he controls (6 Leadership Styles: Strengths, Weaknesses And Examples). This is a more effective leadership style because it allows workers to see what they should become, and shows that the success expected of them is actually feasible.
    Both leaders have, of course achieved success through their styles. It is even arguable that Jobs, perhaps has achieved greater success. Despite this, it is still clear that on an average basis in most corporations or industries, Musk’s style has more potential for success. While Jobs may save some time through his desire to work quickly with workers at sacrifice of their egos, it is possible that in doing so he creates animosity. Those who are not as gifted with vision and genius as Jobs was may also find it hard to gain credibility using this tactic, as people won’t take criticism from someone that they excel beyond. Musk’s tactic, however is applicable in every workplace. In order to get people to be better, a leader himself must become better. Although both have reached great heights through their leadership styles, the method used by Elon Musk remains more effective in an average work environment.


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