Blog 9A. “The Beatings Will Continue until Morale Improves”


Paleontologists say respect for the dead and need for closure started at least 2 ½ or 3 million years ago. Our nature hasn’t changed much in the past several hundred thousand to 2 million years. We’ve always enjoyed people who

led by example, praise, and allowing us to be creative. There’ve always been “leaders” who were the opposite, who inspired the phrase “the beatings will continue until morale improves”.

Some of the poor behavior may be evil. A lot is likely from people abused in their youth who as adults, abuse others.

History and literature have many examples of rulers who were kind, generous, and fostered creativity; and of others who were violent, authoritarian abusers.

Abraham Maslow wrote about good companies and bad:

“People like to be self-determined, to control their own fate and economic and social movement; … They like responsibility … and taking initiative…”

And, “People avoid being a ‘no-thing’. …detest being regulated … as an object…Their psyche is harmed if … unappreciated, manipulated, dominated, pushed around, exploited, used, ‘screwed’, controlled, laughed at… Executives of enterprises [with] this …culture make their people more paranoid, more hostile, more nasty, more malevolent, more destructive”.

“…Taxpayers provide the schools, roads, sewage removal, transportation, government, police departments, fire departments, and public health… for a healthy society. Society provides …excellent managers and high quality workers [for] humane [companies] and the domineering ones.”

“…. Companies that …improve society should be rewarded… [for] improve[ing] the people in their region and thereby improve[ing] democracy.”

“Some …penalty should be assessed against enterprises that undo the effects of a political democracy, of good schools, etc. … and that make their people more paranoid, more hostile, more nasty, more malevolent, more destructive, etc. This is like sabotage against the whole society. And they should be made to pay for it.”

Marshall Goldsmith, Patrick Lencioni, and David Rock address these two ways to lead. Each points out successes of a good leader and the disasters a bad leader causes.

The discussion will continue in New Blog 9B.

Illustrations in my blogs are either my own drawings or courtesy of

Contact me at 650-762-6755 or for more information or to start a conversation.

Pieter Kark, MD, San Mateo, CA 94401-2238


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