Entrepreneurs

Elon Musk tweets help to a Tesla passenger who can't find the visor mirror—and it's a masterful lesson in leadership

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.

Elon Musk took the time to respond when a passenger couldn't find the mirror on the sun visor in her parents' Tesla this week. And the move, though simple, was a brilliant lesson in leadership.

Monday, Nikki Sylianteng asked Musk via Twitter whether what she thought was the omission of a mirror on the passenger side sun visor was "intentional or an oversight." She was trying to do her makeup in the passenger seat and couldn't find it.

Musk, the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, tweeted back, assuring her it was there and directing her how to locate it.

Sylianteng was elated to hear from the billionaire tech executive — and to find the mirror. "Woo thanks!" she replied.

Musk's communicatin elicited other impressed responses. "Amazing customer support!" tweeted Nitin Alabur. "Wow, Best CEO. You need to sleep. Goodnight," says Evelyn Janeidy. "You know the product is great when the CEO himself solves customer problems. Not your average CEO. Mad respect!" says Salman Pasha.

It's not the first time Musk has tweeted support to Tesla customers.

In September, Musk responded to a potential Tesla customer who was unhappy with a sales representative he had encountered in the Stanford, Calif., store.

According to Musk, he's frequently in the trenches at Tesla in many different ways. On a conference call about the company's most recent quarterly financial report, Musk said he doesn't even have a desk, he goes to where the problem is.

"I always move my desk to wherever — well, I don't really have a desk, actually. I move myself to wherever the biggest problem is in Tesla," said Musk. He has also talked about being on at the Gigafactory, helping diagnose calibration issues until 2 a.m.

"I really believe that one should lead from the front lines and that's why I'm here," he said.

A boss's willingness to respond to individual customers can go a long way. Employees are much happier at work if they know their manager has the skill set to do what they are asking their employee to do. That's according to research that focused on 35,000 randomly selected employees and workplaces in the U.S. and Britain, highlighted by the Harvard Business Review in 2016.

"Even we were surprised by the size of the measured effect," the authors remark in a piece penned for the Harvard Business Review. "For instance, among American workers, having a technically competent boss is considerably more important for employee job satisfaction than their salary (even when pay is really high)."

The strategy seems to be working for Musk. Space X and Tesla both top the charts of tech companies top talent wants to work for, according to a recent survey conducted by job website, Hired.

See also:

Here's what it will be like to travel to Mars in Elon Musk's spaceship

Elon Musk: Up all night, at times depressed, taking the blame for Tesla production delays

Billionaire Elon Musk responds to unhappy Tesla customer on a Friday night, teaching a brilliant lesson in customer service