Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Thriving Amidst the Complexity of Elon Musk's Leadership - Insights from Esther Crawford

 Esther Crawford, the former Twitter director who gained fame for sleeping on the office floor, recently broke her silence on what it was like to work for Elon Musk. In a lengthy post on Twitter (now known as X), Crawford shares her experience with Musk, presenting a balanced and nuanced perspective. Her essay serves as a master class in emotional intelligence, offering valuable insights into leadership, empathy, and the significance of finding balance in business leadership. Let's delve into the lessons we can learn from Esther Crawford's experience with Elon Musk.

Life at Twitter under Elon Musk: 

Crawford admits that before working for Musk, she saw him as the visionary behind successful companies like Tesla and SpaceX. Excited about the potential for positive change, Crawford joined Twitter 2.0, reporting directly to Musk. She acknowledges that while some of Musk's ideas were smart, others were not. Despite this, Crawford openly shared her opinions and pushed back on certain matters, refusing to contribute to a culture of fear.

However, Crawford noticed that others were hesitant to criticize Musk, fearing his potential reaction. This inner circle's unwavering support created a challenging environment for open and honest discussion. Despite the ups and downs, Crawford acknowledges that Musk's intelligence and resources make him a force to be reckoned with, and she believes he can eventually turn things around.

A Lesson in Emotional Intelligence:

Crawford reflects on her time with Musk, emphasizing that great leadership requires a combination of both intellectual and emotional intelligence. While Musk excels in tackling complex problems, products involving human connection demand a different type of social-emotional intelligence. Crawford emphasizes that the best outcomes arise from leadership that balances the head and the heart.

She highlights the importance of finding a middle ground between overly harsh leadership that prioritizes goals without considering human impact and overly soft leadership that fosters a culture of permissiveness. True leadership, Crawford suggests, involves exercising both IQ and EQ and promoting healthy disagreement.

Crawford's Perspective on Elon Musk:

Despite her experiences, Crawford avoids extreme judgments of Musk. She recognizes that perspectives shape narratives, and everyone can be seen as both a hero and a villain depending on the angle of the story. Instead of vilifying or venerating Musk, Crawford focuses on the valuable lessons she learned from her time with him.


Esther Crawford's candid post provides an insightful case study on emotional intelligence in the real world, especially in leadership roles. Her experience with Elon Musk highlights the importance of balancing intellectual and emotional intelligence, promoting open communication, and embracing healthy disagreement. As we navigate the complexities of business leadership, Crawford's master class reminds us that finding a middle ground and fostering a culture of empathy and understanding are key to achieving the best outcomes in both business and human interactions.

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