Leadership

This email by Elon Musk highlights one of the most important traits for a CEO

Elon Musk, Chairman, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors, addresses a press conference to declare that the Tesla Motors releases v7.0 System in China on a limited basis for its Model S, which will enable self-driving features such as Autosteer for a select group of beta testers on October 23, 2015 in Beijing, China.
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Elon Musk, Chairman, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors, addresses a press conference to declare that the Tesla Motors releases v7.0 System in China on a limited basis for its Model S, which will enable self-driving features such as Autosteer for a select group of beta testers on October 23, 2015 in Beijing, China.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is dedicated to his work nearly around the clock. The billionaire spends between 80 and 90 hours working each week to be as productive as possible, making time to check email even while relaxing.

A recent email to his employees shows that he not only has a strong work ethic, but also high emotional intelligence, which is "the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others," according to Psychology Today.

Research shows bosses who demonstrate high emotional intelligence make for better leaders and true team-players.

With 10,000 workers just at Tesla's Fremont, California manufacturing factory alone, Musk has recently had to deal with claims that the facility has led to high injury rates. Although he sent out an email earlier this year sharing his concern about the safety of his workers and ensuring the claims were overstated, Musk sent out a more detailed email reiterating his unease and consideration for Tesla employees.

Industry news site Electrek published an excerpt of a staff-wide email Musk recently sent out, demonstrating his compassion and emotional intelligence in leading his company:

No words can express how much I care about your safety and wellbeing [sic]. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful.

Going forward, I've asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I'm meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform.

This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we lead from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team's safety above their own.

Some of the key phrases in the email that demonstrate Musk's emotional intelligence include "how much I care," "it breaks my heart" and "so that I can understand."

And this wouldn't be the first time Musk offers to put himself in his employees' shoes to better understand their work. "My desk is at the end of the production line," Musk said during a Tesla earnings call last year. "I have a sleeping bag in a conference room next to the production line that I use quite frequently."

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