No matter how hard you work, how diligent you are, or how valued you are as a colleague, it’s unlikely that you’ll be offered a US$56 billion paycheck anytime soon. That was the amount Tesla’s directors deemed a suitable reward for Elon Musk’s efforts at the helm of the company back in 2018.

That mind-boggling pay package was recently canceled by a judge. But what made the directors value Musk so highly in the first place?

Maybe it was his charisma. According to an expert in the philosophy of leadership, charismatic chief executives are making a comeback in the corporate world. The reason, argues Sverre Spoelstra, could be that in turbulent economic times, people want a heroic figure to turn to. For some, that figure is Musk − even if he’s worth a bit less now.

Luke Salkeld

Commissioning Editor, The Conversation U.K.

How valuable is Elon Musk’s ‘charismatic’ leadership? That’s the 56 billion dollar question

Sverre Spoelstra, Lund University

Different management styles are available.

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