Elon Musk’s leadership at Twitter
Why now is the time to leave the platform
Elon Musk acquired Twitter for an amount well beyond $40 billion.
Still, Twitter is not profitable. The fact that significant changes are planned with Elon Musk’s purchase is no surprise to anyone. However, the negative headlines did not take long to set the tone for the entire company and its CEO. Musk’s leadership is a prime example of the impact of bad leadership and its consequences. What can we learn from this?
How can you prevent something similar from happening in your organisation?
Restructuring is always challenging. However, there are ways to make it better or worse. One good (or better) way was found by PLEO, which recently had to terminate 15% of its jobs due to a change in business focus.
Accompanied by numerous postings and offers of help on all platforms, many employees showed their commitment to helping those who had been made redundant find new jobs. Those affected were equally positive, especially in the context of a dismissal. Many already have new jobs in sight, they have received interviews and job offers. Even if dismissals never trigger a wave of enthusiasm, such moments can be shaped as positively as possible within the scope of possibilities.
With Twitter, the plan is different. An email was sent out with the subject line “Your role at Twitter”. The person remains in the company if this is sent to the employee’s Twitter email account. The person is dismissed if it is sent to the employee’s private email address. This approach is not positive, regardless of how someone feels about restructuring and any associated plans. The expected negative effect occurred immediately. The damage to the employer brand cannot even be measured yet.
Elon Musk is already being described as a corporate psychopath. His behaviours show apparent traits of the Dark Triad. These people may also exist in your organisation. It is, therefore, even more critical that you recognise those individuals quickly.
The dark triad consists of three characteristics. Machiavellianism (prioritising power over morality, manipulative behaviour, unemotional behaviour, moral indifference in any context). Unfortunately, it is common to find such people with successful careers at higher levels of the hierarchy pyramid. Assaults and unacceptable behaviour are regular features of these people. Every organisation needs to counter such people immediately with an offer of help or, if this does not work or is rejected, removal from the organisation.
Elon Musk has not even considered the simplest of all options: using the facts in a structured, reasoned approach. Twitter loses between one and four million dollars per day. This continuous loss can only continue if the organisation is to be used as a pure tax write-off.
Starting here and taking necessary, justified steps accompanied by adequate transitional measures would have given Twitter and Elon Musk themselves a positive image. Instead, Musk engages in tirades against what he sees as existing activists who allegedly want to abolish freedom of expression. This behaviour equals fever delirium. Needless to say that this is leadership incompetence.
In addition, allowing anti-Semites like Kanye West back on the platform or tolerating them without a clear statement on how to deal with hate speech led to the current very bad situation on Twitter. This situation is entirely due to the bad leadership and behaviour of Elon Musk.
Twitter’s customers have already shown consequences. Musk’s behaviour directly harms the company financially. Clients do not want to see their advertisements, Twitter’s almost sole source of income, next to potential hate speech. This step is an understandable course of action. Car company Volkswagen, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, food corporation Mondelez — the list of those who currently no longer place ads on Twitter is long. Musk’s reaction: he openly threatened to publicly defame these former customers — typical behaviour of those in the category described above. Needless to say that I, Niels Brabandt, with my company, NB Networks, left Twitter.
If you see such behaviour in yourself, act immediately. Offer help. If this is refused, if it is not successful, if the manager’s behaviour stays the same, remove the person from the position, in most cases, from the entire organisation. In this way, you prevent many value-contributing employees from leaving the organisation. You also protect the employer brand and the investments made in employer branding. It is, therefore, worthwhile to act proactively at every level.
Do you care about excellent organisational leadership?
Let’s talk: NB@NB-Networks.com.