Elon Musk and Twitter: His leadership against the world

If you are tuned into the Internet world, you are probably aware that Elon Musk bought Twitter a while ago – and now, it has become an example of bad leadership.

But why is the world’s richest man so controversial? In the corporate environment, are there better ways for him to deal with the employees of his companies, for example?

Apart from anything else, can the methodology used at Tesla be replicated for all other types of companies? This is what we will try to explain in this article!

Read on to understand more:

The 100-day-plan kind of leadership

Elon Musk is known to have impulsive attitudes, whether they be innovative or typical industrial approaches. The 100-day plan, commonly used by incoming leaders, is one of that may raise questions.

About 5 years ago, the owner of Tesla decided that he would help improve the ion battery structures of the Australian Powerpack project. The idea here was to get the job done in 100 days or do it for free if he couldn’t.

Although it sounds innovative and challenging, the well-known 100-day plan has its downsides, especially when we stop to think about the trends for the future of work and leadership styles.

Why is it a bit problematic?

Okay, of course, some people feel motivated by pointless challenges and almost unattainable goals. But a good leader needs to use their leadership as a tool for understanding: it is their goal to understand the needs of employees, the organizational context, and what solutions would drive results aligned with goals.

So it doesn’t take much research to know that many employees can feel pressured with extravagant goals and no defined action plans.

When we think about the future of work, the idea is to have horizontal hierarchies in which employees are also heard. So the 100-day plan is an top-down goal that may work, but at a high cost to the organizational climate.

Now we have a very similar situation with the Twitter purchase, which demonstrates how Musk likes ambitious goals but needs to put his employees’ mental health at risk in order to achieve them.

 Elon Musk bought Twitter. So what?

Elon Musk bought Twitter for no less than $44 billion. The main goal is to change the way the app handles the spread of information – and even fake news.

The buyer, who had already had problems with the platform, defends the position of maximum freedom of speech. Thus, he sees Twitter as a tool to allow people to speak out (even if what is spoken is fake news).

Thus, Musk’s goals are ambitious at best. Redoing the processes of a consolidated platform and going against the recommendations of those that know the platform inside out can take time and is a structural process.

The result of this? Employees will need to work hard to achieve this goal!

The latest news: massive turnover, stressful workplace

Employees needing to work more is not necessarily a problem, as long as everyone agrees and decisions are made as a team. However, this is not what we are seeing.

In reality, Elon Musk sent a middle-of-the-night email demanding an ‘extremely hardcore’ work culture with ‘long hours at high intensity‘. This is the opposite of the environment that employees had before, and quite contrary to the agile culture that has been touted as part of Tesla’s success.

 As a consequence of this new attitude we have:

  • Mass layoffs;
  • Stressful environment for those who wanted to stay;
  • Staff formed mostly by men, because women resigned when they learned about Musk’s misogynistic past;
  • Top-down goals that do not take into account the team’s previous know-how;
  • A leader who thinks he knows everything

The leader doesn’t know everything, no matter the leadership style

So here’s a spoiler: the leader doesn’t know everything. Regardless of the type of leadership used, it is essential to listen to the employees who are in the company and understand its processes.

Since the owner of Tesla has taken over, the employees that remained could have been tapped for their knowledge as they have a better understanding of the internal processes and can be of great assistance in this transitional phase.

However, Musk did not care about the most important asset of his company: the know-how of those who operate it. This is where a common mistake leaders make comes in.

This leaves us thinking about… the future of work

In conclusion, we can relate everything that has been happening to the future of work and its trends.

Here are two examples for you to think about which scenario is more beneficial:

1. A leader who has just joined and does onboarding with his employees in order to understand the company’s processes and what are the possible points of improvement. In this case, the idea is that there is a grassroots generation of ideas;

2. A leader who comes in and imposes what he thinks is best for the company, even without understanding the processes and getting to know the employees. In this case, the idea is that there is top-down.

Here, we believe that the first scenario is the best option.

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