On Glassdoor's just-released list of the highest-rated CEOs, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk was ranked for the first time, catapulting to the eighth-place spot with a 98% CEO approval rating from employees. Since he is simultaneously serving as CEO at electric-car company Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), Musk's high approval rate vouches for his ability to juggle two important positions.
Here's a look at how Musk earned this spot, as well as some quotes from Glassdoor's interview with the CEO.
SpaceX employees have good reasons to be happy
Given SpaceX's recent track record with rocket launches (and rocket landings), it's not surprising that employees approve of Musk's leadership. Following an explosion of its Falcon 9 on the launchpad last September, a major setback for the company, SpaceX has been on a success streak in 2017.
The privately held U.S. space company recently stuck its 11th-ever rocket landing after a string of successful attempts in 2017. Even more, SpaceX reused one of its Falcon 9s earlier this year -- an important milestone for the company's mission to regularly reuse rockets and subsequently reduce the cost of space travel. And SpaceX even successfully launched and deployed the first used Dragon cargo capsule, which sits atop the Falcon 9 rocket booster for SpaceX's resupply missions to the International Space Station for NASA.
In total, SpaceX now boasts an impressive inventory of ten used Falcon 9 rockets, one of which has already launched and landed on two separate occasions.
On the back of such an impressive winning streak, employees have some strong praise for the CEO's leadership, including: "insanely intense magic," "challenging but highly rewarding, and "a family-like relationship." Furthermore, "glowing and critical" reviews alike point to "a remarkable company culture," Glassdoor said about its findings.
Musk leads over 4,000 SpaceX employees.
Musk makes it onto Glassdoor's list for the first time in 2017 thanks to employees' high approval ratings, as well as SpaceX's first time meeting the list's methodology requirements, namely a condition for 100 company reviews during a 12-month time frame. Musk's Tesla didn't meet the methodology requirements for the survey, since Tesla's senior-management rating was just below three on a five-point scale (the survey requires a senior-management score of three or higher). But Musk's cumulative CEO approval rate for Tesla on Glassdoor is 90%.
Elon Musk talks leadership
To gain some insight into the high-ranking CEO's approach to leadership, Glassdoor asked Musk directly about his ideas and methods on the subject. Here are several key quotes from the interview.
Leaders should work harder than their reports, Musk says:
If you are a manager or leading at any level at SpaceX, we stress that your team is not there to serve you. You are there to serve your team and help them do the best possible job for the company. This applies to me most of all. Leaders are also expected to work harder than those who report to them and always make sure that their needs are taken care of before yours, thus leading by example.
How does Musk stay productive and manage his time effectively? "I'd say focus on signal over noise," he told Glassdoor. "Don't waste time on stuff that doesn't actually make things better." In addition, Musk says he begins his days at home with critical emails for about 30 minutes. Then, after saying goodbye to his kids as they go to school, showering, and driving to work, Musk starts his day at work with "mostly engineering and design discussions."
Glassdoor community expert Scott Dobroski asserts that CEO leadership not only "helps define and shape company culture," but also tends to positively impact a company's performance. He put this into context for The Motley Fool:
Based on Glassdoor Economic Research, we also know that a strong company culture has a direct correlation to a company's bottom line. In fact, some of the Best Places to Work outperform the S&P 500 financially by as much as 122%. What this means is that CEOs and leadership teams should pay attention to company culture and employee sentiment because it directly impacts business success, and every business wants to succeed.
Musk's high approval rating bodes well for SpaceX's long-term potential.