Elon Musk masters one communications principle


Photo of Elon Musk with title, "Elon Musk masters one communications principle"

“If you can physically make it to the office and you don’t show up, resignation accepted.” -Elon Musk
“To build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.” -Elon Musk

As I watch the sh*t show going down at Twitter, the first thing that comes to my mind is:


Elon Musk knows nothing about how to motivate and appreciate his hard-working team. He’s a disaster at management.

I’ve written a lot about how to build a kinder workplace and conversely, how to ruin employee engagement. I have a “no-asshole rule.” In short, Musk is an asshole and he is proud of that.


Then I realized he has mastered one important internal communications principle:

He is authentic and transparent.

I’ll give him that. Twitter employees know exactly who he is and what he values in life. Manic productivity over work-life balance. Cut-throat, competitive employees over team building. Money over all.


“You’ve heard…some of the things that I’ve said publicly, and I think what you’ll find is that the things I say publicly are the same things that I say privately.” -Elon Musk

Check out this quiz to guess who said which horrible thing: Musk or Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Homer Simpson’s boss Mr. Burns is a greedy megalomanic.


“When people show you who they are, believe them.” –Maya Angelou

When I ghostwrite and edit for executives and other leaders, I help them communicate in their authentic, honest voice. I recommend leaders be direct and transparent with their teams. I suggest they communicate in kind, supportive ways with their employees’ concerns top of mind.


Musk has the direct and transparent thing down. He is incapable of being caring or motivational. He is showing the world who he is.


Effective internal communications that engage employees are encouraging, motivational, and appreciative. And yes, direct and transparent.

Many have suggested Musk is trying to destroy Twitter. He’s certainly not going to have any loyal, committed employees left when he’s done.


Let his story be a lesson for leaders everywhere.


Let me know if you could use help with internal or external communications, marketing, or leadership.


I help professional services firms avoid BORING and boost employee engagement, productivity, and readership. I translate technical, complex, and lackluster language into accessible, dynamic, story-driven text. Get known in your industry through outstanding thought leadership content. Walk your talk through outstanding, effective communications with your employees and clients.


Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business.

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