March 5, 2023

Doug Dastardly's Bad Advice #1: On Leadership

Timothy Ahn

My very dear poppet, my pigsnie:

I am glad that you have consulted your uncle for advice on the ruination of your first human charge, Client #942. If I am to believe that Client #942 has recently attained a position of leadership, it seems justified that you are nervous about your first ruination procedure. Leaders are valued members of society, and it is on them to provide motivation and facilitate an organization's work. Yet you have a rich opportunity to inflict great sorrow and bring to ruin a prospective leader. As some human poets have explained: the fall only becomes greater the higher the place from which the person falls. Because leaders are often considered to be the face of their movements, you can be assured that the downfall of Client #942 will lead to a trickling effect that can secure the ruination of others as well. Fortunately, you have already acted well in asking me for the necessary means to bring ruin to your charge. Though you may seek to design a scandal of great peril, I find that a more efficacious procedure composed of smaller misdemeanors will provide greater long-term downfalls. Not only are they much more difficult to discern, they inevitably build up with each other. Of course, you would probably ask me to explain the means that I have used to provide such knowledge. That will not be necessary, as these are evergreen tactics that I have personally observed for many generations.

1. Gossip

Leaders are very much expected to understand the inner workings of their organization and delegate responsibility. Thus, Client #942 is justified in wanting to be at the center of attention. This is not a difficult urge to tap into, my pigsnie. However, I suspect it is not as much a genuine desire to be an appreciated or dependable figure as it is an obsession to be viewed as important or valuable. It is for this reason that instilling a propensity to engage in gossip is a deceptively easy task. Gossip has always been a sort of acceptable vice for humans to indulge in, especially in this new generation of this thing called the "Internet", but even we understand that all things must be done in moderation. Allow Client #492 to pick their battles regarding who is worthy of scrutiny, criticism, and other forms of reproach. In this way, you can persuade Client #492 that they're not a bad person, and when they do participate in the currency of lies and slander, it's for a cause that matters. They're not a slanderer, they're an investigator. It's not a rumor, it's a leak. It's justifiable if he's just "passing it along" rather than outright making actual lies. Continuously rationalize to Client #942 that it's important to be in the know, and anyone who ignores these glorious epiphanies is willfully ignorant, not wanting true change. Anything and everything that is rumored can potentially be true, so make sure to keep him away from anything that presents a sense of vulnerability. Of course, make sure he uses this same reasoning when interacting with others. Present him as someone who cares for the well-being of his own people, or should I say his own tribe. And on the rare occasion that he is right, pat him on the back and use this one occurrence to justify his other abuses. There is one potential pitfall that you might encounter, and that is the usage of logical reasoning. I loathe it so. Yet there are some sorts of people who utilize logic like a madman would wield a cleaver—as a toy and not a tool. They would lean on it only if it conveniences them. There is no guarantee that Client #492 is that sort of argumentative, vindictive person, however, and perhaps his personality is incompatible with this tactic. Do not try to innovate and attempt to make do with this pitfall since you are still a novice in the lowly craft.

2. Micromanagement

Iterating on the necessity to maximize control and efficiency, your second recommended tool for the downfall of a leader is micromanagement. I'm sure you know what this is, considering how much I monitor your studies in lower education. Control is key, so make sure you repeat this inside Client #492's head until he believes it. It's all about the hustle and drive to succeed. In this way, you not only set up your charge for the fear of failure but also ensure the prevention of building resilience. Fear is one classic way to motivate the desire to extend control over the organization's affairs. He's the leader, after all. He's the boss who deserves to know how things are going, because if things go wrong down there, who knows what else can go wrong up here? However, you must understand fear does not work on all clients. I know this, my pigsnie, because I have a fair share of clients who operate more under stupidity rather than irrationality. Pride, in my opinion, is a more refined manner of instilling the micromanaging mindset. Utilize pride more often than fear, especially since I have found that the latter tends to stem from the former. But like with all fine ingredients, you must carefully portion. Excessive condescension and grandiose messianic complexes tend to spoil the dish sooner, so it is best advised that you instead only pour enough to create false humility—a weary soul bombarded by fools. Craft a covert echo chamber that affirms everything he believes in. Not only should your charge maintain an environment that ensures his constant surveillance over all affairs, he himself should ignore those dissidents or philistines who don't understand his vision for the organization. In the end, you must convince Client #492 that this behavior is for the good of the organization. People favor leaders who are responsible and have a strong grip on things, so by consistently providing feedback, it feels like he is truly helping them. Now, it is also important to internalize that assumptions and good faith are hardly reliable in this day and age. Therefore, have Client #492 repeat this important fact: trust must be earned. Now, do you believe that this idea is internalized through enclosure and quarantine? No, my pigsnie. It is through further interaction. Surround him with people who think like him. But make sure he continues his business as usual in all circumstances, while still insinuating that there are always those kinds of unenlightened people—those who are lesser because they just can't do things right or aren't up to date in the know. Establish proper expectations for those he works with. If anyone messes up, be sure to let them know. Criticism is important for growth, after all. But so is looking at history. You must have Client #492 allude to a glorious golden past of success and not to a future rife with potential for growth. No, no, no. Too many uncontrollable factors. The angel is in the details, not the full picture. Furthermore, if people find Client #492 to be excessively irksome, try the retort that it's merely part of the work culture. Because a leader should care for others, it only makes sense that the environment should reflect the ideals of its people. Plus, the people chose him as a leader, so they are to blame, not him. If anyone leaves, they were simply not fit to serve the purposes of the organization in the first place. On the side, be sure to get a good amount of people to admire the leader to the point that they are more loyal to him than to the organization as a whole, although, for that purpose, some extra remedial lessons could be in order.

3. No Real Accountability

Perhaps your patience has run out and you decided to steer Client #942 into a more reckless path of vice. This an understandable result for a novice such as you, but still, such a devastating end would not be quite palatable for us, who prefer slower marination of clients. Nevertheless, a scandal can be salvageable in more ways than one. If at this point Client #492 has long established, or should I say, ingratiated, himself as not just a functional but also a key figure in the organization, you might wonder how this can be true. The secret mantra is this, my dear pigsnie: image over integrity. Reputation over repentance. After all, if the leader of the organization suddenly departs, people would be in utter fright. And not only that, the leader must continue their essential work for the edification of the organization, as well as their own personal ambitions. Accountability is but an annoying obstacle that gets nothing done and decreases efficiency and output. Comfort your charge by appealing to the ideals of the organization and of the people he has transgressed. One example is to appeal to the people's ideal of forgiveness. In this harsh world where some people do not even admit their wrongdoings, a mere apology with no true substance would still appear to be genuine. Suggest a temporary sabbatical rather than a permanent departure; it would allow Client #492 to have his cake and eat it too. Set aside a "time of reflection," and keep him away from any sort of idea that immediate reparations and due punishment will solve anything. No, only naïve idealists believe that. And then afterward: get him back to work once all of that pooh-pooh is over and done with. He's got plenty of busy work to do, after all, for the sake of his dreams and the sake of continuing service for the organization. But make sure Client #492's demeanor and yours are very much held in check. Rageful remarks like "rules for thee, not for me" may have some tempting flavor, but they are empty calories. I remember trying to use that one mantra, but it only had a lukewarm result. It permanently shut out my client from the organization, not enabling him to remain and to continue my pernicious influence from within. Remember, though your goal is the ruination of your client, it is all the more savory when others are caught in his downfall. What do the youngins call this, anyway? "Bonus points"?

Of course, my pigsnie, you may have already detected that there are other ways to bring about downfalls in your charge. Utilize these tactics at your creative whims, but remember that if you desire the greatest effect, the ones that I have listed will be among the most efficient ways to create a slow, savory ruination in a leader. I still remember when I brought ruin to my first client. Was I proud? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Of course not. We folk can't experience joy, so why should they?

Your hateful uncle,


I'm a Psychology Intern and a graduate from University of California, Irvine with a double major in psychology and business economics. When not researching, I enjoy visiting new restaurants and picking up a good book to read. Remember that at Thaddeus Resource Center, you are never alone!

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