Although I am the most minimal of users on the platform and would be unaffected if the company went under, I continue to be fascinated by the way Twitter continues to lurch from one crisis to another under the erratic leadership of its new owner Elon Musk, as he tries desperately to recover from what seems like a disastrous investment.
He seems to think that people work best under edicts and threats. In his latest move, he told employees that he only wanted people who were “extremely hardcore” and be “willing to work long hours at high intensity” to build what he calls Twitter 2.0. That could be seen as a hyperbolic motivating speech, like football coaches asking players to give 110%, except that Musk followed up by giving them an ultimatum that they had to sign such a pledge by Thursday or they would be fired. That is just insulting.
Such a management style is the opposite tack that leaders should take in a time of uncertainty, noted Ben Wigert, director of research and strategy of workplace management at Gallup. Poor leadership provides an opportunity for employees to quit, especially when the job market remains tight, as it currently is.
“Saying ‘work harder,’ especially coming out of a pandemic, is tone deaf and it’s hard to undo that damage to your culture,” Wigert said.
Musk’s implication that Twitter workers aren’t doing their jobs does not “reflect a strong employer brand and culture,” he added. “They don’t reflect that inspiring organization you want to work for.”
Unsurprisingly, Musk’s ultimatum resulted in an exodus of workers.
Twitter continued to bleed engineers and other workers, after new owner Elon Musk gave them an ultimatum: Either pledge to “hardcore” work or resign with severance pay by 5 p.m. Eastern on Thursday. Many have opted for the latter.
The wave of resignations is sparking concern about Twitter’s ability to continue to operate with a skeleton crew, especially as some “critical” teams have either completely resigned or have only a few people remaining, The Verge reported.
Amid the reports of layoffs, Twitter announced via email that it would close “our office buildings” and disable employee badges until Monday, the New York Times reported.
Musk then issued another edict that asked all software coders to report to him in person at Twitter HQ in San Francisco his weekend.
Elon Musk emailed Twitter staff on Friday asking that any employees who write software code report to the 10th floor of the office in San Francisco in the early afternoon, according to multiple news reports.
The billionaire said in a follow-up email, “If possible, I would appreciate it if you could fly to SF to be present in person,” adding he would be at the company’s headquarters until midnight and would return Saturday morning, Reuters reported. The engineers should report at 2pm on Friday.
Musk said he would try to speak with remote employees by video, and that only people who could not physically get to the company’s headquarters or had a family emergency would be excused.
In his first email to Twitter employees this month, Musk said: “We are also changing Twitter policy such that remote work is no longer allowed, unless you have a specific exception.
“Managers will send the exceptions lists to me for review and approval.”
Musk’s emails came a day after reports indicated between 1,000 and 1,200 Twitter employees decided to quit the beleaguered social media company following a Thursday deadline from Musk that staffers sign up for “long hours at high intensity”, or leave.
If this is the way that Musk runs all his businesses, I am guessing that the people at Tesla and SpaceX are thrilled that all his attention and energy is being spent to Twitter so that they can do their work in peace.