Elon Musk’s Management Style Revealed in Emails to Tesla Employees

Photo: The B Word

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is under the world’s microscope, being one of the wealthiest and highest-profile company heads around, and a new update shows that Musk is quick to send spontaneous updates to his employees at Tesla.

Musk has been known, in particular, by his employees for his spontaneous mass communications, including two emails fired off company-wide in October, as obtained and reported on by CNBC.

While Musk’s first October email encouraged employees for being able to listen to music with one earbud in at work, the second email took on a more stern tone.

Musk’s second email went on to inform employees that there are only three reasons managers should respond to one of Musk’s mass emails: to either detail how he is wrong about something, to request clarifying points or to encourage the team to execute.

If the second email’s instructions are not followed, Musk writes, the email says “that manager will be asked to resign immediately.”

In September, amidst high demand for vehicles, Musk sent a company-wide email saying that Tesla was facing the “most intense delivery week ever,” and encouraging employees to go “super hardcore” to get deliveries shipped.

You can read Musk’s full emails to Tesla employees about listening to music and how managers should respond below.

To: Everybody

From: Elon Musk

Date: Sunday October 3 [time redacted]

Subj. Music in the Factory

Just wanted to say that I very much support music in the factory, as well as any little touches that make work more enjoyable.

An associate just sent me a note asking if we could have one ear bud for music so the other ear can listen for safety-related issues. That sounds fine to me.

Also, ambient music from speakers is also totally cool so long as there is reasonable agreement among your colleagues as to the music choices.

If there are other things that you think would improve your day, please let me know. I care very much that you look forward to coming to work every day!

Here’s the second email on what to do when Musk sends you instructions:

To: Everybody

From: Elon Musk

Date: Monday October 4 [time redacted]

Subj. Please Note

If an email is sent from me with explicit directions, there are only three actions allowed by managers.

1. Email me back to explain why what I said was incorrect. Sometimes, I’m just plain wrong!

2. Request further clarification if what I said was ambiguous.

3. Execute the directions.

If none of the above are done, that manager will be asked to resign immediately.

Thank you,


Almost reminds us of how late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs used to send emails. Short and sweet and without the fluff.