Elon Musk has three rules for managers who work for him

As the richest man in the world, Elon Musk knows a thing or two about how to run a business, and he has strict rules that those who work for him must follow.

The Tesla CEO offered plenty of insight into his unique management style over the years, including three rules he has for managers at the electric car company, which just opened a new Gigafactory in Texas.

In a pair of emails obtained by CNBCMusk maintained his reputation for spontaneous mass communication by sending the two messages to all Tesla employees in October last year.

Elon Musk is now the richest man in the world according to Forbes. Credit: Alamy

Among the messages, he outlined three ways officials should respond to any emails he sends that contain explicit instructions.

It reads: “If an email is sent from me with explicit instructions, there are only three actions allowed by officials.

“1. Email me why what I said was incorrect. Sometimes I’m just wrong!

“2. Ask for further clarification if what I said was ambiguous.

“3. Execute the instructions.

If none of the above actions are performed? Musk said “the manager will be asked to step down immediately.”

Well, you can’t knock him for his candor. The other email wasn’t as harsh, describing his leniency for employees listening to music at work.

The post reads, “I just wanted to say that I am very supportive of the music in the factory, and all the little touches that make the job more enjoyable.

“An associate just sent me a note asking if we could have an earpiece for the music so the other ear can listen for security related issues. Sounds good to me.

“Also, ambient music from the speakers is also totally cool as long as there’s reasonable agreement between your co-workers as to the musical choices.

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“If there are other things you think would make your day better, let me know. I really want you to look forward to coming to work every day!

Unless, of course, you’re a manager who breaks the three-answer rule – in which case, you’re out.

Another email obtained by Electrek in April 2018, the SpaceX boss proposed a new set of rules for Tesla staff to follow, many of which referred to streamlining meetings.

According to the email, he wrote: “Excessive meetings are the bane of big business and almost always get worse over time. Please get [out] of all large meetings, unless you’re sure they bring value to the entire audience, in which case keep them very short.

The CEO of Tesla has a unique management style.  Credit: Alamy
The CEO of Tesla has a unique management style. Credit: Alamy

“Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. The frequency of meetings should drop quickly once the urgent matter is resolved.

“Leave a meeting or drop a call as soon as it’s obvious you’re not adding value. It’s not rude to leave, it’s rude to make someone stay and waste their time.

Musk also emphasized the importance of common sense, writing, “In general, always choose common sense as your guide. If following a ‘corporate rule’ is obviously ridiculous in a particular situation, so that would make a great drawing anime of Dilbert, then the rule should change.”

Maria D. Ervin