September 16, 2021

The 7 Warning Signs You Are Dealing With a Destructive Confidant

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. While detoxification from Percocet is rarely life-threatening, it is difficult to go through alone, read about percocet withdrawals here. Failure rates grow higher and higher if addicts don’t access help through medications and counseling. While addicts and their families may know they need help for addiction, they may be at a loss to determine where they should access help. A family physician’s office may be a good place to start. If the addict obtained Percocet through the doctor’s office, the doctor will know why the drug was prescribed and how often the prescription was refilled.

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.

Michael Jackson: The King of Pop But Also A Global Leader

I join the world today in celebrating the life of music icon Michael Jackson.

It is odd to me that just yesterday, I shared one of my favorite quotes with you by John Quincy Adams:

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

– John Quincy Adams

We all may not realize, but if you buy into the above quote, Michael Jackson is one of the most world changing leaders of the last five decades.  He changed the way the music industry looked, sounded and felt.  He inspired dance.  His video Black or White showed that he wanted the world to know about the cultures of the world, wanted to see walls between black and white fall down, and I do believe that his life is an inspiration to us all.

I hope today that everyone will remember and know that Michael Jackson was a genius and was followed by not millions but billions of people.   In 1970, when the song ABC came out, I will never forget this day.  Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5 were on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.  My next door neighbor, Teresa Castleberry, had learned a few Michael Jackson “moves” and she came over to my house, and she danced away (and taught me a few of the moves).  My whole family was laughing and just in awe over her moves…we had never seen them done before…but they were Michael’s moves.  So, he changed even the way Teresa Castleberry and little ole me viewed dance.

So, just a few of the obvious things to tickle your brain.

1) The video TRHRILLER changed the world of video music.  After THRILLER, everyone in the music industry (and the public) saw the bar raised on music video and had to start getting super creative with the way they presented their music to MTV and VH1.  No more just standing behind the mic and singing your song into the camera.

2) The moonwalk changed dance (just look at the hip hop industry if you don’t believe this)

3) The video Black or White was controversial at its time, but racial, cultural and geographical barriers are falling down as I write this.  You may argue that this had nothing to do with Black or White.  I would argue the video was the catalyst for the acceptance movement we are experiencing around the world.

So, today, I leave you with the video.  Just watch and see Michael Jackson…not just the king of pop but a visionary and global leader.