Three of the world’s most successful CEOs all have one personality trait in common, which could be a key insight on their fortune—no empathy.
- Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and the late Steve Jobs all have an unemotional, uncompromising approach to their endeavors, according to biographer Walter Isaacson.
- He explained that all three of these men shared this one trait in common that helped remove their feelings and strictly pursue their business.
- These three men ran their businesses in similar ways and Isaacson thinks it could be a glimpse into why they are so successful.
- He says that Musk, like the others, is unemotional when dealing with employees or colleagues, and uncompromising when it comes to meeting the goals he has for his businesses.
Why it’s important
Isaacson is currently working on Elon Musk’s biography, and published his biography of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs over 10 years ago.
“That ability to not be as emotionally, empathetically engaged in order to see [their] vision through. It’s something Steve Jobs had, it’s something Bill Gates [has],” Isaacson said. “It’s something a lot of these people have, because they’re not looking for affection from the person sitting across from them. They’re looking to get rockets to Mars.”
All three of the leaders were described as brutal bosses at some point during their career.
Jobs was often viewed as a brutal boss and it was often said that he brought many employees to tears, according to different reports.
“Working with Steve is incredibly challenging, incredibly interesting. It was also sometimes incredibly difficult.” Former Apple PR chief, Laurence Clavere said years ago.
In the past, some of Musk’s employees at Tesla have described him as an extreme micromanager who isn’t shy about expressing his displeasure when workers fall short of his lofty standards, or fail to meet his overly ambitious deadlines. He can be harsh, and not always easy to work for, but also often inspiring and funny, according to CNBC.
These comparisons go hand in hand with Gates as well. In the early days of Microsoft he was said to be extremely critical and argumentative.
The words used to describe these leaders aren’t what a lot of people would like to be called, but Isaacson says it is all part of their genius.
These leaders know what they want and they go after it, they don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings in the process. They have their eyes on the prize at all times.