The only thing as questionable as Elon Musk’s purchase of the social media platform 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.
How to connect with employees during a transition?
Understanding how to navigate through tumultuous changes can be pivotal to the success of a company. In any aspect of life, change can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Change can inspire innovation, create new business ventures, and increase staff optimism if managed successfully. During a transition period, listen to the employees to understand the company values. Then use this understanding to leverage change to improve the internal culture.
When leading a firm through a transition, being transparent and connecting with the team on a human level has proven to be most effective in navigating stormy seas. Here are ways leaders can use a period of change to reconnect with employees and the company’s values.
Trust in leadership creates a stable foundation for employees and their businesses to adapt during periods of change. Companies that put effort into maintaining interpersonal relationships in the workplace have higher levels of trust that brings benefits for everyone.
According to research carried out by Accenture, one-third of employees indicated that they would stay longer with an employer if its leaders kept their promises, and 28% said they would extend their tenure if transparency were practiced at all levels. In his new role as “Chief Twit,” Elon Musk has been under recent scrutiny due to his questionable decisions.
From laying off roughly half of the employees, tweeting outrageous statements, and threatening to end remote work, Musk has wasted no time testing Twitter’s culture. These actions do not instill confidence or build trust in the leadership or the company’s direction.
For me personally, it has always been important to be transparent and honest with the company 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.
Great communication skills are an essential quality for an effective leader. Miscommunication can lead to the misinterpretation of important information which could impair relationships and hinder productivity. A survey conducted by Expert Market found that 28% of employees listed poor communication as the reason why they weren’t able to finish projects on time.
Elon’s communication with Twitter has been inconsistent. 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. A study by the University of Chicago discovered that people who had self-discipline were more likely to deal with challenges.
The research also revealed that self-discipline has positive outcomes, including higher income, the feeling of achievement in one’s career, and a higher rate of accomplishing one’s goals. By setting a good example from the top, employees at every level will follow suit.
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 employees at 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.
Listen and Learn
Leaders should not pretend to have all of the answers. Admit what you don’t know. You may be surprised how many brilliant ideas your team could present when you listen to them.
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.