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THE “CHIEF TWIT” DID WHAT?

  • Written by Ken Wisnefski, Founder and CEO of WebiMax

How to Establish Consistency in Inconsistent Times 


The only thing as questionable as Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter has been his approach to leadership since taking over. Business leaders can learn from the mistakes of the self-proclaimed "Chief Twit" when navigating their own periods of change. 

Change Doesn't Have to be Bad Thing 

Knowing how to lead and manage through tumultuous and unexpected changes can make or break a company. In any aspect of life, change can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Change can encourage innovation, lead to new business ventures, and improve staff optimism if managed effectively. During a transition period, listen to the employees to understand the current company values. Then use this understanding to leverage change to enhance the organization’s internal culture.

In my experience, when leading a company through a period of transition, being transparent and connecting with my team on a human level has proven to be most effective in navigating stormy seas.

Here are some ways business leaders can use a period of change to reconnect with employees and the company's core values. 

Build Trust 

Trust in leadership creates a stable foundation for employees and their organizations to adapt and flourish during periods of change. The way that high-trust businesses build and maintain their workplace relationships benefits everyone. According to a study from the global research from The Workforce Institute, that focused on the importance of elevating trust to a foundational imperative to create high-performing workplace cultures, nearly two-thirds of employees say trust directly impacts their productivity, sense of belonging, and mental health.  

Elon Musk has been under recent scrutiny due to his questionable leadership decisions in his new role as "Chief Twit." From laying off roughly half of the employees worldwide, tweeting outrageous statements, and threatening to end remote work, Musk has wasted no time testing the company's culture. These actions do not necessarily instill confidence or build trust in the leadership or the organization's direction.

For me, it has always been important to be transparent and honest with employees when trying to come to an amicable solution, especially during times of change. Having an open-door policy builds a level of trust with my team. This has created a company culture where employees feel they are valued, and their voices are heard. 

Communicate Clearly 

Excellent communication skills are an essential quality for an effective leader to possess. Some may say that the success of your business relies on it. Poor communication in the workplace can lead to low morale, missed performance goals, and even lost sales, according to a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit. When communication is lacking, important information can be misinterpreted, potentially leading to impaired relationships and hindered progress.

Elon's recent communication with Twitter has been inconsistent and chaotic. Between threats of completely uprooting the company's culture and warnings of economic turmoil, Musk’s communication with his employees has been far from clear and concise. According to the media, he recently sent his first email to all employees, telling them to prepare for "difficult times ahead." With such a lovely first impression, no wonder several of the remaining top executives at the platform have reportedly resigned. 

When leading a company through a transition period, I have had best results when I effectively articulate my visions for the company and give your team as much information as possible. This ensures we are all on the same page moving forward and establishes open and honest communication across the board. 

Exercise Personal discipline 

The best leaders lead with introspection, not authority. Self-discipline is the practice of taking consistent action regardless of your situation. Exercising self-discipline and cultivating self-awareness are ways for a leader to earn respect during a time of change. Stanford carried out a study that found that greater success can be achieved by using self-discipline to focus on long-term goals. 

Musk's recent reckless actions are some examples that highlight the issue that a lack of self-discipline can manifest. Listening only to the angry emotions inside your hormonal system is no way to run an ice cream shop, let alone a company of global reach. Impulsively firing Twitter's executive staff has left Musk with repercussions. If the "Chief Twit” is not cautious, his ego, impulsiveness, and lack of self-discipline may be the demise of the platform. 

Lead by example. Leaders set the tone for the company. Being intentional about setting aside your ego and focusing on what is important has a positive impact on the relationship you have with your team and the confidence they have moving forward. 

Don't Pretend to Have All The Answers

As a leader, admitting what you don’t know and being open to new ideas is what brings the genius out in those around you. During times of change, being vulnerable helps establish trust and fosters authentic communication amongst team members. When in flux, putting aside your ego and practicing self-discipline can pay huge dividends. Establishing these precedents will allow you to harness the power of change and utilize it for the greater good of your organization.

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