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The Addicted Professional Leader

Posted on February 7, 2018

execAddiction is no respecter of status, and it is estimated that approximately 10% of those in corporate leadership currently has a serious dependency issue. Unfortunately, this problem is often overlooked or poorly managed. Business institutions who ignore the crisis of addiction may lose millions of dollars due to lost productivity, poor decision making, and reduced organizational effectiveness. Recognizing and dealing with the dependency of a professional leader is extremely difficult. These individuals may have little or no direct supervision. They normally have flexible schedules and can schedule their own time with no explanation.


The lack of accountability at the top professional levels can shield fellow employees from knowledge of the leader’s personal addiction.


A corporate leader is a powerful individual, having large numbers of people under their direct supervision and with the opportunity to influence others’ professional future in a positive or negative manner. In this hierarchy, subordinates who do notice issues will not confront their supervisor out of fear of consequences. These leaders, by the very nature of their position, demand a lot of loyalty which bar others from questioning their behavior. Most importantly, professional leaders by their very nature have outstanding personal social and management skills. They are problem solvers and risk takers by nature. When those skills are turned to masking a deficiency, this addict is very adept at disguising his/her weakness and, unfortunately, their professional skills actually increase the depths of addiction through the very talents that got to them to an elevated position.


These qualities can foster a delusion of confidence and success even when actual performance is declining. 


Like any addict or alcoholic seeking sobriety, willingness to confront the barriers that undermine permanent abstinence is paramount. Many will find that the same guidelines they have used to succeed in business have different applications in recovery. Through a multifaceted team approach to treatment, those hoping to confront the obstacles that have led to relapse in the past are given the tools they need to recover. With dedication, hard work, and a “new awakening,” many professionals who successfully complete treatment go on to experience great advancement in their careers, more meaning associated with their jobs, increased family and personal life and higher levels of happiness and stability.


For more information regarding our executive program HeadWaters at Origins please visit: www.headwatersorigins.com.