Should you display your leadership prowess by being super-provocative and posting memes on Twitter like Elon Musk? Ummm, probably not. That said, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO does have a few intriguing pieces of advice that might be worth considering — especially if you’re trying to advance your business skills. Laura Wood writes about a few of these in financial news blog Go Banking Rates.
Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism Musk once explained in 2013 during a Google Hangout hosted by Google for Entrepreneurs. “Take as much feedback from as many people as you can about whatever idea you have,” Musk said. “Seek critical feedback. Ask them what’s wrong. You often have to draw it out in a nuanced way to figure out what’s wrong.”
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty either. During the same Google Hangout, Musk said, “You’ve got to do all sorts of jobs and tasks that you might not wish to do, that are not intrinsically interesting to you. You’ve got to be prepared to do whatever it takes, work whatever hours. No task is too menial. I think that’s the right attitude for the CEO of a startup.”
Don’t get bogged down in the process. “I don’t believe in process,” Musk said in a 2012 Wired interview. “In fact, when I interview a potential employee and he or she says that ‘it’s all about the process,’ I see that as a bad sign.” He adds, “The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking.”
Take risks — especially while you’re young. “As you get older, your obligations increase,” Musk once said in an interview with Forbes. “So I would encourage you to take risks now, to do something bold, you won’t regret it.”
And be sure to distinguish yourself to stand out in an overcrowded industry. “If you’re entering anything where there’s an existing marketplace, against large, entrenched competitors, then your product or service needs to be much better than theirs,” Musk said, according to Inc. “It can’t be a little bit better, because then you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer … you’re always going to buy the trusted brand unless there’s a big difference.”