Elon Musk never shies away from a good Twitter spat. For that matter, it doesn't really seem that he ever shies away from Twitter, period, which seems strange for someone running three different companies, with a personal worth of $266 billion, give or take. You might think he has other things to do, but apparently running a trillion-dollar company (Tesla) doesn't keep him occupied enough, so he fills his time trolling politicians online. 

The latest troll began last week when Musk tweeted a poll to his followers, asking whether he should sell 10 percent of his stock holdings and pay taxes. More than 58 percent of the 3.5 million people who voted said yes, Musk should sell some stock

He did, in fact, sell almost $7 billion worth of Tesla shares last week, while the company's stock price fell more than 15 percent. 

Musk's poll came with a follow-up, noting that he doesn't take a salary and the only way for him to pay taxes is to sell stock. Of course, taxes are clearly on Musk's mind, probably because of the impending tax bill he faces over stock options that expire later next year. With options worth more than $30 billion, Musk could face a tax bill north of $10 billion when he exercises the options.

As such, Musk seems to be a bit sensitive about politicians focusing their attention on imposing new taxes on billionaires. Most recently, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont tweeted that "We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. Period." 

In response, Musk tweeted that he didn't even realize Sen. Sanders was still alive. He then went on to suggest he'd sell more stock if Sanders gave the word.

I'm not here to argue over what a "fair share" is, or whether Musk should pay more in taxes. I also don't care whether he sells more Telsa shares. That's for someone else to fight over. I'll just say that Musk isn't wrong when he suggests that the reason he might not pay a lot of income tax is that, well, he doesn't have an income. Instead, he sells stocks, pays taxes on the gain, and pockets the proceeds. That's not a moral argument about our tax situation, but it's helpful to at least start with the facts. 

Senator Sanders knows that, but he also knows that it's a good political strategy to talk about the rich not paying enough in taxes. The tax thing, however, isn't really the point. 

The thing is, there's almost no upside to Musk's latest string of Twitter feuds. Not only is it poor taste to imply someone is irrelevant by suggesting you think they died, but no one is particularly sympathetic to the plight of billionaires having to pay more taxes, whether it's "fair" or not. There's no one who is reading Musk's tweets thinking that he won the argument. Mostly, he's just being a bully (even if he's not entirely wrong). 

The thing is, Musk has already said he plans to sell stocks during this quarter for tax purposes. It's disingenuous for him to get on Twitter and talk about whether or not to sell based on a poll of his followers, or as a pseudo-duel with a former presidential candidate.

In the meantime, his feuding over taxes isn't helping anyone. It certainly isn't helping shareholders. The stock price is down over 18 percent since the beginning of the month--all because of a few tweets, and subsequent sales. 

I personally don't think it's the stock sale specifically. Again, Musk had already telegraphed that it was likely to happen. The problem is the manner in which he seems to be going about selling large amounts of Tesla stock on a whim. That creates uncertainty and anxiety for other stakeholders, and that's a problem.

Here's the lesson: As a leader, your primary job is that of a steward. By definition, stewardship is about managing something on someone else's behalf. You don't own it, and your main responsibility is to manage it well so it grows for the benefit of shareholders, customers, employees, and other stakeholders. 

That's exactly what a CEO of a publicly traded company does--manage it on behalf of others. Sure, many CEOs become very wealthy as a result, especially founders. That doesn't make it about you, despite what you might think. Musk, on the other hand, seems to have forgotten that this isn't just about this own personal entertainment.

That's a hard transition for many founders to make. It's hard to think of the thing you created--the thing you built--as anything other than your own. But, your job is bigger than that, and you are accountable for how you handle that job.