Let me first set up the edifice by discovering, understanding and creating acceptance of a trait, a characteristic, commonly, and yet so not commonly found, in the human specie - the trait of finding pleasure, in either viewing or causing, the pain experienced by another fellow human. It is benumbing to all senses, when you witness the delight of one human over the insult of other. In everyday parlance, we use the word ‘sadist’ quite casually, largely because of its inappropriate use, it fails to create the impact, the word inherently possesses. Sadists are taken in stride. Should they be taken lightly and with no disdain? What kind of environment they induce in the society and more specifically for this analysis is the relationship and its effect upon corporate/professional life.
Sadists are revengeful. As a 13 year old, I first discovered this trait in Miss Havisham, who was relentless in punishing, Estella, her daughter who desired Pip (Philip), because in her youthful years, she had a lackluster and painful love-life; where love was met with desertion; eventually she ended up being averse to the male gender, a presence of such was a red rag to her (In Dicken’s novel -Great Expectations). Sadist managers, who have a deep secretive past are revengeful too. And Vindictive as well.
Sadist managers/leaders are die-hard practitioners of hypocrisy; they believe in kissing the child for the nurse’s sake; putting to sleep the proverbial allegory that the cat and dog may kiss, yet are never best friends. The manager with one arm around his colleagues in appreciation can be holding a dagger in the other, ready to cave it in, straight into the chest!
A savage mind finds pleasure in the pain of others -- In a sitcom, that I frequently watch, there is a deranged character, who whenever he inflicts a wound on others, or his ownself, involuntarily remarks, “I like it!” Robert Burns wrote, “Man's inhumanity to man, makes countless thousands mourn”. Humaness is foreign to a vile mind. Those afflicted with Sadism make great fellowship with the Swarm of Snakes. Rabindranath Tagore says, “Man is worse than an animal when he is animal”.
Isn't watching a bull fight, a pleasure for an entire stadium of spectators who have “paid” for a seat to do what? Watch with glee, either the gorging of the innocent bull or the trained predator matador, himself. When men are in the hell of their own making, he thinks, he owns the heaven on earth.
In Gulistan-e-Saadi, it is mentioned, now that another is suffering pain at thy hand, trust not that thy heart shall be exempt from affliction. The perpetrators (manager and CEO’s) of all acts of injustice, harboring on the unacceptable and mostly despicable, know fully well, what they are upto; to them it is exhilarating primitive and medieval sort of satisfaction, they find the punishments of those times, which regrettably are classified on their mind, as “memorable times”.
Sadist leader achieves nothing. Healers survive all odds and emerge victorious in any form of engagement. Sarcasm, which is a major tool in the armory of this savage type of leader, never heals. Those who indulge obviously are those who have been weaned in their lives on acetic pickles.
Many a manager mistakenly believe that cruelty, ruthlessness and sadistic approach breeds tenacity for colleagues, for them to achieve better results; nay, they never do. All it does and can do is destroy to bits the fabric of unity and harmony within colleagues.
A cleansed heart would never be found wearing a dirty or foggy lense: hence all that appears is good and clean. This is not to suggest an ostrich approach, but to indicate alertness to the goodness that surrounds the manager or the leader. Be just to the weak and oppressed colleagues.
“The healing process is made of unconditional love, forgiveness and letting go of fear” (Gerald Jampolsky). Nothing is more beautiful than helping colleagues heal their open wounds. Nobel acts are embedded within the realm of spontaneity, only when nobility is visibly pronounced in the character of the supervisor. Those are not planned. They happen and come naturally to the blessed ones.
It is only fools who bite each other, but wise men agree together. Again to remind, Saadi, says, “For one sigh may put a whole world into a flame”. Just as one hand washes the other, so does the healing colleague/manager wash off dirt between team mates, with subtlety and wisdom — healing attitude comes of freewill, and it essentially is one of the noblest weapons to create fusion and harmony between the various stakeholders.
Threats give no credible results, but kindness does. Nelson Mandela’s treatment of his captors is a case in point. Lord Byron had said, laughter is the cheapest medicine; let me re-state the thought a bit, a smile is the cheapest and an unending source, either for inspiration or for balming a hurting wound. No manager should let this truth lapse into fading memory, that your physical self of the future, will reflect your thoughts of today.
A new CEO, who walks into an institution, and goes on a witch-hunt, to make his arrival/presence felt will get entirely different set of results, than the one, who embraces with generosity all the team members.
A healer CEO embalms the environment and guards it from taking negative energy. They avoid saying or doing anything that would imbibe emergence of dissension in ranks. The political ideology of ‘divide and rule’, does not ever give an iota of success in running an organisation.
Those who in the corporate history attempted to do this for perpetuation of their ownself, invariably always ended up on the wrong side of the fence.
The visibility of attention given to some over others must be used with great tact, intitution and profundity. If one colleague is given publicity or more prominence over the others for no good reason, or even if there can be a case of valid recognition, it should never be done to the exclusive disadvantage of all others. A healer CEO remains sensitive and cognisant to such emotional needs of his team mates. Leaders have to be awake to situations around themselves, only they can and should appreciate a great feat or clean up cobwebs of misunderstandings in their managerial ranks.
A healing attitude comes naturally to the leader, only when he/she recognises his/her ability/identity; the greater purpose of his life and existence, of the Nobel wisdom of ages -- and the readiness to reconnect with spirituality. The purity of giving attention to colleagues, when they are in a state of distress, for whatever, professional or personal reasons, is unalloyed generosity.
The healer CEO is seen as a conciliator between competency and rival groups within an entity. From the pages of American history, President Abraham Lincoln stared out as being one major cohesive force that withstood the widespread activism towards dis-integration of the American society. To support in the maintenance of unity of the nation, he went on to appoint in his cabinet, his most die-hard opponents, some of whom had last lost elections to him. He neutralised their negativity and capitalised on through effective usage of their skills and intellect; through his healing act of showing visible belief, faith and trust in their (opponents) actions, Abraham brought in the best pieces of legislation, that went not only to ensure continuation of democracy but also in strengthening it.
Corporate healing by Business leaders is as much needed as political healing.
The writer is a senior banker and freelance columnist