It has not been a good year for Elon Musk, at least publicity-wise. Not only did Musk send out a tweet that may have cost him $40 million, but he also came under fire for other incidents. The tech giant’s sparring with journalists, smoking pot on a podcast and maybe even using Twitter while on acid has made investors more than a bit jittery. This nervousness can be seen in the Tesla stock price, which has not performed so well as of late. For a company that was once thriving, these changes have been hard to stomach. Then, more recently, reports have emerged to indicate that Musk, although a brilliant person, may not be the best manager. And for someone who manages so many companies, this is pretty concerning.
Known for setting extremely ambitious deadlines, Musk is not shy about conveying his unhappiness with a particular employee. When his requests are met with resistance by subordinates, he does not hesitate to immediately fire the person in question and then take over their portion of the work. This habit sets up a somewhat volatile work environment, as many believe that Musk takes on too much work as it is. Some question his effectiveness once he becomes involved in projects on a more granular level. With Tesla missing some important deadlines in the recent past, the public is beginning to wonder about Musk’s skill as a CEO—and this has not boded well for his stock prices.
Without the ability to delegate responsibilities, many an executive has become embroiled in small problems that take them away from their grand visions. And with Musk’s high profile, it is natural that former employees have aired their grievances in public. Recently, an engineer took to Twitter to describe Tesla’s technical issues in stunning detail. When non-disclosure agreements expire, Musk becomes vulnerable. In the coming weeks and months, the outlook of his companies rests on his ability to surmount these challenges. However, the good news is that, for all of his faults, Musk still resonates as a thought leader and a person who is a visionary. Emulating Howard Hughes and others before him, Musk boasts a rare ability to challenge the status quo and set forth a new path for the way people think. In the very near future, his public will see if he’s up to this next herculean task.