Recovery for those accused of abusive behavior


Recovery for those accused of abusive behavior

Have you been accused of abusive behavior? I know it seems unfair and unjust – especially when you are used to hearing: Brilliant. Awsome. Commanding. Demanding. Takes responsibility and gets things done; right!

It is lonely at the top. You not only made the company, you are the company. You shoulder the responsibility for the company and all the people who work there. At times it is terrifying and often the most fun thing you can do. No one knows what it is like being you. They only know your PR and you may have begun to believe it too.

We know that predictable things happen to people when they get into powerful positions. They can lose empathy, sexually objectify people, lose compassion, experience themselves as exceptional (rules don’t apply), become more impulsive, are less risk-aware, think that they are more sexually attractive, and, are less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view. The result can be abusive behavior that affects not only the person or people who are abused but the entire company.

Power affects the brain of any person in a power position. Power impairs a specific neural process called “mirroring” that may be a cornerstone of empathy. One researcher found that in powerful people “mirror” neurons no longer induced as strong motor resonance as in non-powerful people.

In other words, the natural tendency of the brain to follow the movements of others, which ordinarily creates a symmetry of standing posture, speed of gestures, drinking or smoking in tandem, etc. was no longer operating. This power-induced asymmetries in processing our social interaction partners might be part of what creates social blindness. Power has been called a drug that causes brain damage.

If we understand that the behaviors that have resulted in complaints are the result of impaired brain function and are circumstantial, then it stands to reason that a person could recover and return to work. With a holistic process that addresses the issues of the powerful person, the victims, and the company as a whole, the results could be an even more productive and creative workplace.