Elon Musk has long been known for his unique business approach, which has helped him build companies like SpaceX and Tesla into successful ventures. However, Elon’s recent Twitter takeover sparked controversy due to his micromanaging tendencies, which have been criticized as detrimental to employee morale and productivity.
At Aurum, we work with several brilliant management speakers, HR speakers, and business speakers. For this reason, we decided to analyze the recent backlash on Elon’s management style and look at what some of our speakers have had to say about it.
Why Elon Musk ’s Management Style Is Always Making Headlines
Elon Musk ‘s management style is often described as demanding and intense, with high expectations for his employees and a relentless drive to push the boundaries of technology and innovation. He has been known to make bold and risky decisions, and has been criticized for his lack of empathy and tendency to prioritize his own vision over the well-being of his employees and the company.
Here are a few instances when Elon Musk ‘s management style has made headlines for the wrong reasons:
- Elon’s response to the 2017 workplace safety investigations, in which he promised to deal directly with anyone injured at Tesla. Several of the injured employees, however, claimed that Elon never met with them and that their case was immediately filed.
- The 2020 criticism towards Musk’s lack of empathy during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he decided to reopen Tesla’s California factory against local health guidelines.
- His 2022 announcement of a 10% reduction in Tesla headcount to cut costs and improve efficiency.
What We Know About Elon’s Twitter Acquisition So Far
Twitter’s acquisition was a long process that lasted 6 months. However, Elon was already investing in the company a few months before placing an offer to buy it. Musk believed that Twitter had the potential to be a platform for free speech, which he sees as the ultimate tool of a functioning democracy.
Here are a few highlights of Elon’s Twitter acquisition:
- Musk bought the company at $54.20 per share, for a total of $44 billion.
- Just seven days after its acquisition, Twitter began laying off its employees with the goal of cutting the workforce in half.
- On November 9th, Twitter launched Twitter Blue, enabling users to get a verified checkmark by simply paying $8/month. After only one day, Twitter had been inundated of fake accounts impersonating brands and public figures.
- By November 12th, according to some sources, around 80% of employees were fired.
- On November 16th, Elon sent a letter asking the remaining employees to either commit to working hard and long hours or leave. Most employees decided to leave.
- Elon ran a poll on Twitter asking users if he should reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter. Most users voted “yes” and Trump’s account was immediately re-activated.
- On November 25th, Elon responded to a Tweet saying he would be ready to invent a new phone if Google and Apple decided to remove Twitter from their respective stores.
- According to some sources, Twitter lost over 1 million users since Elon’s takeover, with most people moving to Mastodon, an open-source platform where anyone can set up a server and run a community. However, Elon has shared the platform’s new signups and usage are at all-time-heights since he took over.
The latest turn of events had Elon openly asking his followers, via a Twitter poll, if he should step down as CEO. The majority of respondents voted for him to step down as head of the platform. The poll received over 17.5 million votes, with 57.5% in favor of Musk stepping down and 42.5% against. Musk has previously indicated that he plans to eventually step down as CEO and find someone else to lead the company.
Twitter and The Great Resignation
The events on Twitter brought to mind a great piece Whitney Johnson wrote about “The Great Resignation”. In the article, leadership speaker Whitney Johnson discusses how more and more people are leaving their jobs in search of opportunities to grow, earn more money, have more flexibility, and work in a better environment overall.
Whitney highlights how top performers require new stimuli to remain productive. When their current job no longer provides the dopamine their brains need, they will naturally gravitate towards a new opportunity.
When Elon sent an email to all Twitter staff demanding that they agreed to “working long hours at high intensity”, the employees had a tough decision to make:
- Accepting the end of remote work, which would automatically lead to less family time, less sleep, and more chaotic commutes.
- Giving up on a workplace where mental health used to be a priority.
- Committing to long hours of work and disrupting their work-life balance.
But, as many studies have demonstrated, working longer hours does not make you more productive. Working more doesn’t necessarily translate into a higher output. However, the stimuli around you, the work culture, and making better use of time are the real factors that can motivate employees to produce better results.
What Some of Our Speakers Had To Say
Elon Musk ’s management style and overall behavior has also received criticism from some of our marketing, HR, and business speakers.
Speaker Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, has been very vocal about Musk ‘s management style. In fact, he has frequently criticized him in public, recently claiming that Twitter’s acquisition is the “second worst in history.”
During an interview with CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour, Scott Galloway described Elon Musk as someone with “a total lack of grace” who “is going to see his wealth cut in half.” Scott defines Elon as someone with “God complex” who thinks he can make terrible moves without any ramifications, including paying $44 billion for a company worth $10 billion and laying off half of the staff in a heartbeat.
Despite his strong opinion on Elon Musk ’s management style, Scott recognizes that Elon has built incredible companies in the past. However, he defines him as “a terrible role model for young business people.”
With his extensive marketing knowledge and his thorough analysis of tech giants, Scott Galloway is the perfect speaker to talk about big tech and the problems associated with it. Contact us today to have Scott turn your next event into an unforgettable experience.
Speaker Steve Cadigan, a former Chief HR Officer at LinkedIn, has weighed in on the controversy from an HR standpoint. In November 2022, Steve posted an article expressing concern about Musk ‘s management style and its impact on Twitter’s employees. Steve defines Elon Musk as the antithesis to a work culture built on trust, care, and safety.
Elon may be a genius, but his actions after the acquisition of Twitter reveal a man who contradicts himself. A man who continuously invests in cutting-edge technology for the sake of a better future, but who is also an old-fashioned boss who despises remote working and associates productivity with longer working hours.
In the article, Steve refers to Elon ‘s management style as “brutal,” and also describes how a Twitter insider revealed that one of Elon’s first actions after taking over Twitter was to cancel the company’s monthly “days of rest.”
Steve Cardigan assists global companies recruit, retain, and develop the talent that leads to business growth. Contact us today if you would like Steve to help you create a work culture that attracts top performing employees.
Speaker Ramesh Srinivasan, a professor of information studies at UCLA, wrote an article for Salon highlighting how tech billionaires like Elon Musk have been using technology to create a better world at the expense of the rest of society.
The problem with this approach, according to Ramesh, is that it ignores the fundamental issues of inequality and social justice that exist in our current world. Instead of addressing these issues, tech billionaires are seeking to escape them entirely by creating their own self-sustaining societies. Furthermore, these ventures often rely on the exploitation of labor and natural resources, further perpetuating the inequality and injustices that they seek to escape.
Ramesh suggests that the tech industry needs to shift its focus from creating utopias for the elite few and instead work towards creating a better world for everyone. Aside from sharing his thoughts through this article, Ramesh has also commented on the damage Elon caused when tweeting a conspiracy theory about Pelosi’s home attack.
Srinivasan believes that Musk is abusing a platform that is already known for spreading disinformation. We live in a society where conspiracy theories consistently spread on the internet. Ramesh blames the rise of this phenomenon on social media algorithms that reward controversial content.
Elon Musk’s tweeting of conspiracy theories resulted in the spread of disinformation. How can we trust that Twitter won’t subvert democracies and push society in extremist directions if the platform owner himself can’t refrain from disseminating false information?
Ramesh is an excellent choice for technology, innovation, society, politics, and business events. Let Aurum help you book Ramesh and make your next event a huge success.
Elon Musk ‘s management style and his recent Twitter takeover may have raised eyebrows. However, Musk’s controversial moves have clearly worked in his favor in the past.
At Aurum, we work with one of the co-founders of Twitter, Biz Stone, who has a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship, communication, and social media. As such, he is the perfect entrepreneurship speaker for events focused on communication and innovation.
Please get in touch with Aurum Bureau if you are interested in hiring Biz Stone as a speaker for your upcoming event or need help finding the best speaker for your needs.