Is your CEO brilliant, a jerk, or both? Here's how to tell
- Marc J. Epstein and Rob Shelton are the authors of "The Brilliant Jerk Conundrum: Thriving With and Governing a Dominant Visionary."
- They write that WeWork CEO and founder Adam Neumann was a classic "brilliant jerk."
- Being a brilliant jerk isn't necessarily a bad sign - Steve Jobs is one such example - but others have more in common with a leader like Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos or Travis Kalanick of Uber.
- It's hard to distinguish between who will lead a company towards success, and who will crash and burn. Keep an eye out for "executive omniscience."
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Is the creative CEO in the company you work for or in the company that you are investing in brilliant, a jerk, or both? We have seen numerous examples of visionary corporate leaders who set out to change the world. Some have succeeded, like Steve Jobs, who built Apple into a trillion-dollar company. Others are like Elizabeth Holmes, who created Theranos as an innovative blood testing company and then took the company into bankruptcy, losing investors almost a billion dollars.
Jobs has certainly been referred to as a "brilliant jerk." Elon Musk, trailblazer CEO at Tesla, has behaved erratically in the past and, for some, undermined his credibility as a leader. Travis Kalanick's leadership at Uber has helped change the way transportation operates in cities around the world, but his brash operating style and the company culture he created led him to be tossed out of the company. One exasperated Uber board member proposed adding "No brilliant jerks allowed" to Uber's list of cultural values.