BUS 5211: Managing in the Global Economy, University of the People
Unit 8 Portfolio Activity
Grade: 10/10 (1006 words)
Before answering this question, I thought about authentic leaders in real life. It wasn't easy to find a leader who fulfilled all factors of it. For example, when I searched for authentic leadership, I found politicians with authentic leadership, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern, the current Prime Minister of New Zealand Land. Many sites mentioned Steven Jobs as an Authentic leader. His clear vision and passion led people to innovate and create one-of-a-kind products. However, we can also find many anecdotes of him abusing his employees in front of their colleagues or taking ideas from his subordinates and treating them as if they were his own. Steven Jobs was a great leader, but I thought his behavior of abusing others because he was too honest in his opinions or too preoccupied with achieving his goals did not meet the factors of an authentic leader.
So, I decided to do a little more research and learn more about Eron Musk, the CEO of Tesla, Inc. Recently I read the news of his adultery, and he has a child with a subordinate. I can't say that adultery is morally right, but I will discuss his leadership, concentrating on whether or not he is ethical in business.
Elon Musk, an authentic leader
Elon Musk has been very successful worldwide in the mass production of environmentally friendly electric vehicles. Undoubtedly, he has demonstrated authentic leadership and has been successful in business by earning the people's trust and getting the best out of their abilities to succeed in business. Also, he showed his authentic leadership when he responded to a crisis in the organization. According to the Tesla diversity report, Tesla Inc. comprises employees from diverse backgrounds. Black and African American employees (10%), Asian employees (21%), Hispanic and Latino or Latina employees (22%), and White employees (34%). (Kolodny, 2020) The case I will introduce is not mentioned cross-cultural clearly. However, as I described, the employees working for the company have various backgrounds, and this case involves the aspect of cultural leadership and ethics.
A report described injury rates in Tesla's Fremont factory were dangerously high. Musk responded to the report by emailing his employees as follows. "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." (Haden, 2017)
Evaluation of Musk's leadership with Four factors of authentic leadership
Before I rate Musk, I will introduce the essential factors of authentic leadership. Authentic leadership is composed of self-awareness, balanced processing, relational transparency, and an internalized moral/ethical perspective. According to Vogelgesang et al. (2019), the four components of an authentic leader can be broken down into cognitive, motivational, and active processes, allowing leaders to attain morally grounded cultural adaptation. (Vogelgesang et al., 2009).
Based on his emails, I rate his authentic leadership level relatively high, particularly ethics and personal values. In his email, he expressed his regret and admitted fault for managing safe environments for employees. Also, he proposed a concrete solution to improve the environment. (He asked employees to report directly to him any injury) Throughout the email, he successfully implied Tesla's culture. He indicated that Tesla does not draw a line between managers and employees, and he and managers care about all employees. According to Haden (2017), When a problem arises in a group, many leaders prioritize not worrying the group over the problem itself, letting them know that everything will be okay. They tend not to confront the problem without acknowledging the corporate safety blunder. As I examined Musk against the factors of authentic leadership, his level was higher than my expectation.
My case of authentic leadership
I have had an authentic leadership role. At my workplace, there is a tendency to assign work to subordinates without considering the amount of work they have and their knowledge of the work. Because they could not understand the job, they convey incorrect information to the students who are the target of their services, or they are too busy to deal with the students, resulting in a situation where the students are not satisfied with the services they receive.
Based on my experience with too much workload, when I assign tasks to my subordinates, I try to ascertain the amount of work they already have and their knowledge of the job. I believe that by talking to them face-to-face for a minute, I can show that I communicate with them as equals and have successfully built a relationship of trust with them. I have been working with them for less than a year now, and I have been able to get my subordinates to do more work than before, and I have created an environment where they are willing to do the work for me when they are available. I believe this is the result of demonstrating authentic leadership.
Through this case, we have learned that Musk is not just a great manager but a person who combines authentic leadership. As demonstrated in this essay, in achieving his lofty goals, he acknowledged that there were problems with his management, apologized sincerely, offered concrete solutions, and worked to regain the trust of his employees.
I, too, would like to contribute to creating a better society through my work. Self-discipline is essential for achieving my goal, and learning at UoPeople is one step in that direction. Also, I must be confident in my work to be myself for admitting my failures and showing honestly. I want to grow daily to take an authentic leadership role like him and gain the trust of those around me to do a good job.
Cultural intelligence for leaders (v. 1.0). (2012, December 29). Lardbucket.
Haden, J. (2017, December 7). This Elon Musk Email to Tesla Employees Is a Powerful Lesson
in Authentic, Heartfelt Leadership. Inc. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/this-elon-musk-email-to-tesla-employees-is-a-powerful-lesson-in-authentic-heartfelt-leadership.html
Kolodny, L. (2020, December 7). Tesla publishes its first-ever diversity report revealing
leadership is 83% male and 59% White. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/04/tesla-publishes-its-first-diversity-report-here-are-the-key-numbers.html
Vogelgesang, G., Clapp-Smith, R., & Palmer, N. (2009). The role of authentic leadership and
cultural intelligence in Cross-Cultural Contexts: An objectivist perspective. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 5(2), 102-117. Retrieved from