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SpaceX to Its Employees: Elon Musk Is Untouchable

Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, to mention a few of his titles, is known for making provocative remarks. In another Twitter spat, he called Senator Elizabeth Warren “Senator Karen,” labeling him as a “damp sock puppet in human form.” Musk, who has made an offer to buy Twitter but has threatened to back out, uploaded the poo pile after the microblogging site’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, gave a detailed overview of the company’s efforts to eradicate bots and spam.

Once, he tweeted an image with the caption “Adolph Hitler,” which was accompanied by a picture of the Nazi leader “I’m not Justin Trudeau, and I don’t want to be. I had set a budget for myself.” Then, in 2018, Musk labeled British diver Vernon Unsworth a pedophile for participating in a Thai cave rescue mission to save a group of trapped youths. Then there was Musk’s tweet, which sparked an SEC complaint, in which he declared “At $420, I’m thinking about buying Tesla. Funding has been acquired.”

Okay, so there seems to be a trend here—and we haven’t even discussed the nasty picture he posted of Microsoft founder Bill Gates next to a pregnant woman or his intention to overturn Twitter’s suspension of former President Donald Trump. These activities, along with a slew of others, spurred SpaceX workers to write an open letter criticizing Musk’s conduct. “According to The New York Times, “Elon’s public conduct is a regular source of distraction and humiliation for us, especially in recent weeks.” “Elon is viewed as the face of SpaceX as our CEO and most visible spokesman – every tweet Elon writes is a de facto public statement by the firm.”

According to the New York Times, SpaceX retaliated by terminating staffers who assisted in the writing and distribution of the letter.

In an email to the Times, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said, “The letter, solicitations, and general process made employees feel uncomfortable, intimidated, and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views.” “We have much too much important job to do, and we don’t need this type of overreaching activity.””

Musk hosted a town hall meeting with Twitter workers, which sparked the uproar. ‘Unstable and unhealthy’ is a phrase used to describe a situation that is both unstable and unhealthy. Several workplace specialists, as well as Musk himself, questioned SpaceX’s handling of the incident. There are few instances in which an executive’s conduct causes workers to publicly express their problems and request that they be separated from that boss, according to David Trainer, CEO of investment research company New Constructs located in Nashville. “When people go public with their grievances, it typically signifies that private efforts to remedy them have failed.”

The workers’ utter contempt for Mr. Musk, according to Trainer, “suggests that the culture at SpaceX is unstable and toxic.”

“Investors in all of Musk’s other firms should take notice,” he added, “since SpaceX workers are certainly not the only ones who are upset.” “Unhappy personnel and a negative culture are major predictors of poor short- and long-term firm success.”

Trainer stated that “Musk appears merely to consistently overcommit himself and has little time or energy to give to stabilizing SpaceX’s culture.”

‘A Safe and Healthy Workplace’

“You can’t claim to have a healthy work environment if criticizing the CEO results in individuals being dismissed,” Wojtek Dabrowski, managing partner of Provident Communications, a crisis communications agency, said. “In the spirit of continual development, a transparent, open culture implies that critical input about leaders is welcomed and encouraged. This does not seem to be the situation in this instance.”

It’s also worth noting, according to Dabrowski, that when Musk is criticized, the president of SpaceX responds rather than Musk himself. “A great leader would not hide behind someone else and confront the remarks front on,” he stated. “Is Musk’s Twitter habit beneficial to his employees? Obviously not. Is it a source of distraction? Without a doubt, and maybe even more so than the critical letter.” “Musk seems indifferent about the effect of his tweets, even when it raises the ire of regulators, as was the case with the SEC in the past,” Dabrowski said.

‘A Low Personal Profile’ is a phrase used to describe someone who has a low personal

According to Peter Cappelli, professor of management and head of Wharton University’s Center for Human Resources, start-up and entrepreneurial organizations benefit from having CEOs who can attract attention since that focus then spreads to the brand and the company. “A good example is celebrities who have their own cosmetics and lifestyle firms,” he remarked. “When organizations get large enough to develop their own distinct identities that aren’t merely extensions of the leader’s, that becomes less significant, and there is a risk of misunderstanding.”

According to Cappelli, CEOs of well-known companies maintain a modest personal profile, and “their public image is maintained close to their function as the firm’s leader — they are in public doing things for and about the company.” “Where CEOs have personal brands and images that are separate from the brand, the danger is that the former may harm the latter,” he said. “It is rather simple for this to occur, which is why CEOs and boards of directors avoid it. We’ve seen this happen when CEOs take political positions: whatever the viewpoint is, it’s certain to alienate some customers.”

Source: The Street

What do you think?

Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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3 Comments

  1. In the USA, free speech is just that, free…speech. It is okay to bust out the boss, but not for the boss to fire employees when they disapprove of the boss or the boss believes their free speech is harming the business. Since when did employees have rights to go against the people they work for? At the very same time the boss has the right to hire and fire who they want, like, respect. Nobody makes another person work for them, do they? Why work where you dislike the boss, the management or the company? Leave, quit, resign, it is that simple when you disagree with the authority and management figures and ownership. If it is that unhealthy for you to work, leave, that’s your right too!!! What conservative research companies did the author reach out to to get other perspectives? Or was it all one sided as most left leaning liberal organizations giving us their opinion? It is okay for the left to speak out, provide cover for politicians to push their agendas and lies, but when conservatives speak out, no matter how correct, they are the worse people on earth, hipocrisy at its best. The ‘Good Ole Boy’ system is alive and well in media verses the media holding ALL politicians, CEOs, COOs, billionaires, millionaires and government to the same standard. Now, the medias, politicians and government pick the winners and losers, who can be rich with a voice and those that are rich and should not be allowed to even speak, deplorables and those worthy, righteous and the wicked. It is not about healthy discussions, unless you think like me; if you differ in opine, you are the anti-christ, racist, bigot or whatever other adjective they wish to project upon people without one piece of evidence other then someone else’s words and opinions. America is lost and we are witnessing the downfall before our very eyes; don’t believe me, watch news reporting agencies around the world, America, this President (Biden) and administration is a joke and not leading America, let alone the world.

  2. When I was in the work force, . you either transferred to a different department, or found another job. You did not go around backstabbing or belittling him or her.