Warren Buffet’s vs. Elon Musk’s Leadership Styles
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18. Same could be said about businesses and organizations. Many companies and their visions are directly associated with their leaders. It is important for a front-liner to possess the personality and characteristics that compliment said vision and ensure that the company remains on course to obtain desired outcomes. This presentation will demonstrate how personalities and personal characteristics impact performance of a front-liner in a major company, as exemplified by Warren Buffet and Elon Musk.
Warren Buffet and Elon Musk
Both of the chosen leaders will be evaluated using the five-factor model. Warren Buffet and Elon Mask are similar in some aspects, but have more differences to account for. In this presentation, we will highlight the divergent qualities of these two leaders to see which ones are effective for their purposes as front-runners, and which ones are not. Let us compare them both, based on the two case studies reviewed in the scope of the paper.
Buffet is described as a philanthropist, whose primary qualities include reservedness, organization, practicality, and goal-orientation. He is social, sensitive, and emotionally-intelligent. Thus, Buffet is capable of emphasizing with other peoples’ emotions while keeping his own in check. Besides his empathy and kindness, Buffet as a leader is capable of easily adjusting to changes and adapting to new environments. He is highly intelligent and has strong moral framework to guide his actions. All of these qualities make him a highly-influential leader.
Musk shares Buffet’s equal in terms of raw intelligence, but is very different in many other aspects. He has low control of his own emotions, and shows little empathy to individuals working besides him. His leadership style is noticeably more authoritarian, and he leads by example, working many hours a day to achieve his goals. He has an ethical framework of his own, but it focuses on goals more so than personal or corporate welfare, making him less caring of his employees.
From the perspective of X and Y theory of motivation, Buffet is clearly a Y theory proponent. He seeks participative action from his managers and employees. Musk, on the other hand, is an authoritarian, who is guided solely by his own vision and rarely listens to other peoples’ concerns. His style of leadership is not entirely ineffective. However, it presents its own sets of challenges. One of these challenges includes change management.
Change is an important part of the business process and does not rely solely on the actions of the leader. Employees must also be on board with the change, else they are going to passively resist. Buffet’s qualities help him engage with his people and get them to follow. Musk, on the other hand, forces anyone who does not share his vision to submit or leave. These qualities do not make him an effective front-runner, as he is failing in effective communication, transformational leadership, and encouraging employee autonomy.
Musk and Buffet are different leaders. Buffet is a participative leader, whereas Musk is a more authoritarian one. While authority has its place in business, the age of hero-leaders has passed, and companies that succeed engage every employee in sharing and understanding corporate vision. Musk’s negative qualities, such as the inability to listen to others, excessive emotionality, and authoritarian principles, hold him and his company back.
They make him less effective of a front-runner when compared to Buffet. The intended achievement for this research is to highlight effective and ineffective leadership skills. Through this demonstration, I hope to convey the message that evaluating oneself, knowing one’s weaknesses, and working on eliminating them is important to be a successful leader.