Experts warn that Elon Musk’s leadership style is bad for business and mental health

Chaos continued to spread as large numbers of employees walked off Twitter on November 17 following Elon Musk’s iron-fisted demands. He gave workers until 5:00 pm to decide whether to quit or stay and work “long hours at high intensity”. Meanwhile, large corporations such as CBS have suspended their Twitter accounts due to the troubled acquisition and uncertainty about its future. Musk has employed the kind of repressive leadership tactics that have wreaked havoc in the post-pandemic workplace — the opposite of what experts are calling for to heal the workplace havoc and mental health challenges caused by the pandemic.

Workplace leadership experts maintain that Musk’s leadership style is going in the wrong direction so far. in Recent Forbes.com interviewJane Lim, CEO of Deliver Happiness Foundation and author of Beyond Happiness: How Real Leaders Prioritize the Purpose of Growth and ImpactAnd the Musk, he told me, treats people like collateral damage rather than human beings, forgetting basic human decency in the way he handles layoffs. Lim’s assessment raises the question of how inhumane his actions are affecting the already bruised mental health of employees. Others worry that copycat leaders will emulate Musk’s tactics to gain a greater advantage over employee mental health.

The latest strategies for the return of the world’s richest man to office run counter to many other leaders who also insist remote work is the way of the future and the only way to survive. Steve Black, Chief Strategy Officer Tobia, asserts that the whole internal policy is a serious talent strategy that other companies must implement. “Elon Musk mandating employees back into the office full time is a dangerous talent strategy because it will likely result in many employees leaving for more flexible positions,” Black said. “at recent days Survey conditioning, we found that 65% of employees who have been forced to return to the office full time say they are more likely to look for a new job; 46% are attracted to jobs that focus on employee well-being, and 42% want the ability to work from home when they want. Musk directly counters these two factors by taking away flexibility and forcing a minimum 40 hours a week.”

Musk is heading in the wrong direction

If a motorist is going the wrong way on a one-way street, a pedestrian will pick him up. If a leader is taking a large organization in the wrong direction, knowledgeable people will let him know before it hits and burns. What follows are actions experts say corporate leaders should take in 2023 to restore post-pandemic stability to the workplace — all of which Musk is taking in reverse.

  • Psychological safety of workers. According to Jenny Yang, Vice President of People and Culture at 15 fiveLeaders need to consider the competencies they would like to see in their managers and employees, such as flexibility, self-direction, and adapting to ambiguity. “In order to survive the recession, employees’ psychological well-being will be paramount next year, so leaders in particular will need skills to handle internal communications,” she said, adding that recovering from toxic workplace trauma and honing soft skills to manage tough economic times is imperative. . “Key skills to focus on include strong mental and emotional health and the ability to relate to others.”
  • Increase team productivity without burnout. Tim Harsh, CEO and Co-Founder, Inc ollerHe told me the biggest challenge for leaders in 2023 will be managing through economic uncertainty and increasing team productivity without burning teams. “This will require clear and honest communication across the organization and the development of key performance indicators (KPIs) that everyone buys into within teams,” he said.
  • Create a stable workplace. David Hassell, CEO and Co-Founder 15 fiveHe agrees that business leaders will have to stand firm in the face of uncertainty in 2023. When business leaders rise to the occasion and navigate uncertainty, they ultimately create a positive workplace for their employees to thrive, Hassel told me, predicting that companies Will double leadership and management training and that the consolidation of the 9-to-5 workplace is over, adding, “Creating a stable workplace that establishes employee trust and loyalty is vital. This is especially important in a remote or mixed work environment. Employees who feel stable, supported by Leadership, a sense of purpose in their work and connection with others – all of which must be driven by leadership – will be less likely to detach or ‘quiet quit’ in the coming year.”

The best way to make tough decisions

Elon Musk’s tactics are completely opposite of what evidence-based research findings and expert opinions recommend. Here are the ingredients that senior leaders say are needed to heal post-pandemic workplace havoc:

  • Gallup He insists that a company’s most important asset is its employees.
  • TalentLMS Reports that 78% of employees want more support from the workplace.
  • A group of research It shows that empathy is the most important leadership skill, especially in times of crisis.
  • Experts say leaders should approach stability and certainty during economic uncertainty, not adding more confusion and upheaval.

However, many uninformed leaders will sympathize with Musk’s reckless tactics and follow in his footsteps. Steve Black at Tobia He points out that this is a dangerous path for other companies to follow. Twitter and Tesla were two powerful, well-known brands. Black points out that most brands are not in the same category. Therein lies the danger, he warns and warns organizations, “If these brands follow Musk’s example, they won’t be able to attract and retain enough top talent for a full in-office mandate to be a valid strategy. Ultimately, Tesla’s ‘strategy does, so we can too. That would be too risky for most organizations.

The best way for leaders to stay true to company culture when faced with the kinds of tough decisions Elon Musk faces is to reverse his emotionless leadership decisions. “When leaders make these tough decisions, it’s tempting to take the emotion out of them,” Jane Lim told me. “Psychologically, this can act as a salve to soothe a troubled conscience. But mindful leaders are going the opposite way. During Covid, these leaders have put titles and office politics aside and put on their empathy hats, knowing what is at stake in how they affect livelihoods. As you make these decisions, keep your company’s values ​​and goals close to you, and make them part of your considerations.Leadership should start with Why These choices are made and then How They live up to the company’s values ​​and purpose. When they are supported, the true character of the organization has the opportunity to show its humanity.”

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