Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Pettiness of Minor Tyrants

There is nothing so annoying as a Minor Tyrant.

You know them.  You have worked with them or stood in line with them or have sat next to them.  We all have at one time.  The person who takes great delight in the minor amount of power that they perceive themselves to hold - and exercise on everyone around them.

You shudder when you hear their voice.  You cringe when you see an e-mail with them titled.  You desperately try to master your anger and disgust when another diktat comes down.

Why?  Because of the nature of the exercise of power.

Minor tyrants major in the exercise of pettiness.  It is what they know.  It is their only claim to fame, this small amount of power that wield about as if it were a lightning bolt. Everything, from the greatest to the smallest, must be exercised and viewed through their lens of life and area of responsibility.  If not, they go to great lengths to make one pay, endlessly seeking ways to undercut the authority of others, always probing for the weakness (no matter how small) that will allow them to feel they have claimed the upper hand.

Oddly enough, those in power above them do not always see their destructive ways.  They may see them as idiosyncratic and possibly as loyal people - after all, many Minor Tyrants always try to ensure that they are well thought of by those above them and and are perceived as valuable.  But those in authority do not see - or maybe choose not to see - the seemingly endless cycle of anger and powerlessness they leave in their wake.

How to deal with Minor Tyrants?  A difficult proposition at best.  There are only two ways I know.  The first is simply to master one's emotions and tongue when one is in their presence or range of power, always seeking to be calm and courteous and work with them - and finally around them to accomplish that which must be done.

The second, of course, is simply to be patient.  More often than not, the Petty Tyrant will eventually overreach themselves in their exercise of pettiness.

And while patience is often difficult to master, it is always quite rewarding in the end, especially in such matters.


  1. hear hear. The only problem with patience is that there seems to be a never ending source of the little pricks.

    1. I just try to have more patience, Preppy. Some of them can actually be managed. Others...well, more patience.


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