6 Reasons why pirates make the best leaders

By Courtney Jones

They’re a savvy lot, indeed.

Often wily, never without a plan and always with an eye on the coveted prize, buccaneering pirates of days long past were adept with skills born to manage the fickle temperament of their industry, thwart the machinations of usurping competitors and lead a crew comprised of loyal yet varied characters.

So whether you’ve pegged the Jack Sparrows and Black Beards as plundering plagues on free trade or simply overzealous privateering enthusiasts— ain’t nobody got time to argue semantics on Friday!

But if you share these transferrable traits, your management skills are definitely up to pARRR….

(Okay, first time, last time—promise!)

Not all treasure is silver and gold mates, so take what you can from this list. Give nothing back.


1. Pirate captains are creative tacticians. They strategize the best course of action to take in battle and the ingeniously clever ways to achieve the desired result.

Lead like a pirate: Tacticians are shrewd decision makers. Make good decisions.


2. Pirate captains take risks, and calculated risks are necessary to achieving victory.

Lead like a pirate: Security is mostly superstition. Dare to fail to achieve success.


3. Pirate captains lead by example, recognizing leadership is a privilege gained through trust.

Lead like a pirate: Avoid mutiny. You aren’t good at everything, recognize where others can do a better job and delegate accordingly.


4. Pirates have mastered the art of parley. They’re proficient at holding a civilized discussion between opposing sides during a workplace dispute.

Lead like a pirate: Identify points of agreement and disagreement; listen to what each side is saying and discuss an action plan moving forward. Then throw the offending parties overboard. (Just kidding, don’t do that…)


5. Pirate captains adhere to a code, and they divvy up the booty evenly.

Lead like a pirate: Sharing the wealth creates a motivated team. Hoarding the spoils of success (be it money, praise, etc…) inspires nothing but disgruntled conflict. Don’t be a greedy hoarder.


6. Pirate captains have pets. Pets in the workplace heighten employee morale and encourage productivity.

Lead like a pirate: Avoid monkeys. A dog would be preferable; probably a small one.  But no cats. Cats in the office would just be weird.


So even if their “business” dealings may be open to interpretation, pirates lived by a code of conduct and displayed a brand of leadership that we can still learn from today. And remember, the problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?

by Courtney Jones

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