It took Elon Musk a few words to give the best leadership advice you’ll hear today

In 2018, in an email meant for him Staff members which was eventually leaked to the public, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent a remarkable “warning” to his managers. The warning?

Communication should go through the shortest route necessary to get the job done, not through the ‘command structure’. Any manager who tries to force communication through the chain of command will soon find himself working elsewhere.

Musk was concerned about what so many companies are dealing with these days: poor communication slowing things down and preventing things from innovating.

For Musk, information must travel in every direction, between all levels, regardless of your rank or position. If something is to be communicated in a way that increases efficiency and productivity, to its point, it has to travel the shortest distance.

He also added in his email to his employees: “If an individual employee, to get something done between departments, he has to talk to his manager, who talks to a director, who talks to a VP, who talks to another VP, whoever talks to a director, who talks to a manager, who talks to someone who does the actual work, then really stupid things will happen, it must be okay for people to talk directly and just make the right thing happen .”

So what’s the starting point for making sure this happens across your organization?

Freedom and autonomy

Autonomy is one of the fundamental elements of what intrinsically motivates people, leading to better performance.

Knowledge workers need the right data, insights, and tools to make high-quality, agile decisions that benefit the team. This requires trust on the part of leadership by putting power in the hands of their employees.

That’s why leaders, even in the most efficiency-driven organizations, need to give teams freedom and autonomy in quiet times so they can do what they do best. They need to practice innovating and coordinating without the manager in the middle.

Ultimately, the power of good leaders comes from pushing authority down so that others can make their own decisions.

Good leaders understand that they don’t have all the answers and that everyone has something to contribute. It’s a shift from the command-and-control, “command-structure” communication patterns Musk mentioned earlier to one where leaders and managers relinquish control so that individual employees closest to action are empowered to act independently. to trade.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.

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