What Leaders Can Learn From Elon Musk’s Ultimatum to Tesla Executives

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A strong work ethic and passion may be the winning formula for many companies and businesses, but flexibility and empathy offer several benefits for workers and employers. While this works for most entrepreneurs and businesses, flexibility and empathy play an important role in moving forward in difficult times.

Elon Musk’s recent directive to “go back to the office or leave” Tesla employees raises concerns about their leadership, compassion, and empathy for workers. Maintaining a solid leadership foundation is vital when nations around the world emerge after the impact of the pandemic.

Thanks to technological advancement, workers can still commit and fulfill their obligations safely in the face of pandemics or other unexpected disasters. Musk’s letter to his employees leaves much to be analyzed by senior executives. Some may see this as a lack of trust and respect for workers, provoking a provocation of community collective analysis and thinking.

Today, many conventional technology companies do not require employees to return to the office full-time, especially after the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in some regions. Tesla’s directive to return to the office for all workers seems to undermine the enormous technological progress achieved through remote work.

Related: 3 Easy Ways to Improve Workplace Flexibility

The importance of flexibility and empathy in the workplace

Empathy and flexibility in the workplace help an organization adapt quickly to unexpected circumstances when they arise. These basic foundations of leadership can bring about changes that establish critical plans to overcome unforeseen obstacles.

On the contrary, the Tesla CEO’s ultimatum to workers and company executives creates a stir among workers. Several people felt that this violated ethical leadership approaches and efficient management practices. It also seems to undermine the values, choices, flexibility and control of workers, all foundations for quality of life.

The pandemic can have several drawbacks for our lives and the economy. However, its impact contributes greatly to establishing the essential place of technology, flexibility, and empathy. While it’s great for quality of life, it’s also “giving people more options and more control over where they work,” according to a recently published Forbes article.

Related: What is empathy and why is it so important to great leaders?

Establish clear expectations and technological solutions

Over the months and throughout the pandemic, nations around the world have struggled to regain their original place of productivity. Most companies sailed to remote technology solutions despite the lack of clarity, ambiguity, and unpredictability. Some took advantage of offshore outsourcing and others have focused on setting clear expectations, regardless of outcome, such as Musk’s ultimatum to his workers.

Most entrepreneurs like to work with people who have and understand clear expectations and a strong point of view. However, many still agree that times have changed and that technological solutions in the workplace, such as remote work, should begin to have a more permanent state. For many CEOs, it is important and ideal for continued productivity.

Many companies may find it challenging to set clear expectations in times of pandemic. But they can capitalize and gain important bases for recovery through remote work. Executives from companies such as Facebook, Instagram and Airbnb see this move as an economical way to move forward in flexibility and security. It also keeps current workers happy while attracting and retaining more talent.

In addition, companies that adapt to technological change take calculated steps in their approach, especially in distance work. These flexible solutions, such as hiring a near-shore software development company, present business owners and executives as compassionate, especially during the renewed rise in Covid-19 cases.

Related: Flexibility in the workplace can affect how you attract, hire, and retain talent


U.S. companies are touring and will continue to witness a permanent shift toward work settings from home. While Musk doesn’t seem to be a fan of remote work, his directives can cause more wear and tear than recovery.

In unexpected circumstances such as the outbreak of the pandemic, teleworking plays a key role in fostering flexibility and empathy in established companies. Musk may have successfully established four companies, but his order and recent successes seem to obscure his best judgment of a leader’s empathy, compassion, and flexibility in difficult times amid lack of acceptance. of changing times.

Clearly, some operations require physical presence, and their workers are praised for their unlimited creativity and inventiveness. However, more CEOs have realized that remote work has little impact on employee delivery capacity and, in most cases, even increases productivity. In addition, other senior executives such as JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon indicated that remote work is becoming increasingly permanent and acceptable in American business.

For the time being, CEOs should move on to establishing hybrid working hours where workers can come to the office two or three days a week and work the rest remotely. The transition to this technology solution is increasing rapidly, with about 30% of U.S. office employees working from home.

While a strong work ethic and passion are key determinants of success, empathy and compassion still represent the basic foundations of leadership in unexpected situations that endanger workers in changing times. In the face of the pandemic, Musk should prioritize worker safety and retain talent, especially during the Great Resignation.

Musk’s plan to return to the office is a recipe for a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. While it is a technology company that may still require physical presence, consideration of implementing proven solutions such as remote control will maintain the company’s goals and productivity. It will also put him as a compassionate leader. In addition, instead of threatening workers with a return-to-office order, the ultimate solution is to initiate a hybrid plan to return to the office in secure phases while creating and leaving flexibility for employees to work in a safe manner. remote.

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