Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland.
I am sure by now that you all see the repeating patterns in the lives of these men and women. Each died as a result of prescription drug use, and this all leads to the ever pressing question of “Who was enabling the behavior to an extreme so great that the end result was death?”
I want to say first that the responsibility does rest with Jackson, Ledger, Smith, Monroe and Garland. If you are unwilling to do the work to stop an addiction, then of course, you are ultimately responsible.
But, as we all know, when an addiction is present, there are also enablers. In the case of these celebrities, there were multiple doctors involved, and in the case of Jackson, it seems to me that a doctor (or doctors) were not only enabling but were actually living in the home with him. I am sitting here today scratching my head thinking “If AEG reported that Jackson was in such great health, why in the world did he need a live in doctor?…AND…why did it take 3 days for the authorities to find Dr.Murray?”
Police and federal agents Wednesday raided offices of Michael Jackson’s personal doctor Conrad Murray, in a search for medical records they believed would constitute evidence of manslaughter, so now the case is going to break wide open, and my hunch is that since Ledger and Smith died so recently, there will be a full out investigation of these celebrity doctors who are peddling prescription drugs.
This whole situation has just brought to my mind that this situation happens everywhere…not necessarily with prescription drugs but through what I call “destructive confidants”…people who exhibit behaviors which protect, shield and “enable” leaders and can cause destruction not only to the leader but the family and the companies they serve.
Today, I want to leave you with 7 warning signs that the leader in your company or small business may be taking advice from a destructive confidant:
1) The leader is becoming more and more isolated, spending the bulk of his time with the confidant.
2) The leader no longer takes advice from people who have their head on straight. They are only taking advice from the confidant.
3) The leader is totally unaware of decisions being made around him. The confidant is shielding her from bad news…only good news is allowed.
4) The leader begins to bring in “yes men and women”…people who only say “yes” to the leader at each and every turn.
5) You have a feeling the confidant is in the relationship only to gain more power for himself (if you notice a confidant gaining power and then moving on to the next “powerful relationship”, this is a red flag indeed.)
6) The leader seems to become more and more reliant on the confidant. She cannot seem to make a decision without clearing it first with the confidant, is calling the confidant in the middle of the night and always seems to have the confidant around.
7) You get the sense that the confidant is lying to others and cheating to “beat the system” and to gain more power.
If you are someone in an organization, and you notice any of the above signs, it’s time to take action. If you have a Board of Directors, the Chairman of the Board needs to be alerted (if he/she does not already know it,) and swift action needs to take place to address the situation. If you believe that there is a psychological situation at hand, contact your Human Resources adviser or director in confidence to discuss the proper steps to take to address the issue. While this is a challenging situation, it is certainly one that someone needs to address sooner rather than later.