Pejorative Leadership Principals, Part I

The word pejorative is actually not very precise. I simply mean bad. On the Siberia ’99 team, I began to hone my leadership skills. The team and I came up with several important leadership points. I do not remember them all, but we called them The Pejorative Leadership Principals (PLP)*. This might help the “leader” attempting greatness by negatory people skills or for the generally work disinclined.


Show no aptitude. I find this one especially helpful in long-term relationships. The idea is sort of biblical. It is the logical opposite of the concept: “To whom much is given, much is required.” It works like this: At a big dinner, someone asks you slice ten loaves of bread. As a leader, you must, at least, be willing to pitch in. Therefore, you take the bread knife and go at it; viciously maul the loaf. The crumbs and chunks should fall in all directions in a one-meter radius. In addition, it helps to always appear that you are about to cut your thumb off. One very practiced at this principal will quickly be replaced without loosing face. He will be greeted with sympathetic smiles at his poor inexperience with the bread knife. Be creative! This works well with almost all household chores.


Delegate weakness. Learning this skill helps the Pejorative Leader maintain a high level of energy by not engaging needlessly in work-related activities. Say, for example, that you are on a hike, but someone else is setting the pace. Since it is, after all, a pace, it is probably too fast for you. It is tactless to say, “Hey, John, could you slow it down. I don’t want to sweat out here!” Instead, you make your way to the pacesetter and quietly say, “Hey, John. This pace is fine for me, maybe even a little slow. But, ah, have you noticed Dan? I think he might get a heatstroke or something if we keep this up. For his sake, let’s slow this whole hike thing down. Oh, by the way, be a pal and carry my backpack so that I can keep an eye on him. Thanks!”


Volunteer strategically. I think this one is obvious. You have to get an eye for when the work is nearly completed, or when too many people have volunteered. At the right moment, you pipe up and let your good intentions known, and the louder the better. The only difficult part is to genuinely look disappointed when they say, “Thanks Mike, but we are nearly finished washing your car.” I find it useful to say something like, “Not again! That always happens to me. I never get to do any work around here… Uh, make sure you get the rims.”

When I think of the rest, I will post Part II. Perhaps it is obvious, but Maya really wanted me to add that the above is all written tongue in cheek. 🙂


*Note on source: I do not recall his name, but I remember reading a southern humorist about 15 years ago, who writes similar things . Some of these ideas might have resonated from his writings. The ’99 team will vouch to the fact that we came up with (and practiced) these principals, in their above-stated form.


3 Responses to “Pejorative Leadership Principals, Part I”

  1. 1 Alissa Maxwell February 10, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    AAAAHHHH!! You almost made me spit out my coffee. What a great way to start my Friday morning with a hearty laugh! I am so glad to see that our team influence continues to shine through. If you ever write a book on these principles, one way to memorize them it to chant repetedly at an ever increasing volume, “Shown no Aptitude… Delegate Weakness… Volunteer Strategically…” I feel like there should be one more, but maybe someone else will remember.
    =) Alissa

  2. 2 Phyllis February 11, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Oh, such memories! Are you going to write about the skit that involved you and Chris running around wearing towels and beating each other with birch branches next? 😀

    I can’t remember any of the other princiPLES either. 😉

  3. 3 Steve February 11, 2006 at 9:17 am

    That was totally excellent! 🙂 *wields air guitar* I was crackin’ up. So much of it reminds me of military leadership.

    NAVY = Never Again Volunteer Yourself

    In the Army they used to say: “Screw up, move up.” (verb substitution in effect)

    And of course, I found that in both the Army and the Navy (and the corporate world) you had better know what you’re doing if you choose to do it well… because they will have you doing it every time from now on until Christ returns!

    Great, great post!

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