Abusive Leaders: Spotting the Signs

Lisa Cherry —  December 3, 2014


How do we recognize the signs of an abusive leader?

How do we appropriately honor and respect authority without one day regretting that we did not see the signs of a problem?

The world is still watching the Bill Cosby drama. As this story has unfolded, the questions roll through our minds:

If this story is accurate, why did no one stop him over the years?

How did people miss the signs of a major problem?   and...

How could he have such a strong good side and bad side at the same time?

I read the article Bill Cosby and 12 Signs of Abusive Leadership the other day, and I thought it contained a great deal of wisdom. The warning signs as stated in this list can help us recognize dangers our families need to note.

Of course, we must always be careful of taking a list and seeing problems around every corner. (Kind of like when you read a symptom list of a disease and then talk yourself into having it yourself!) But under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we can see the truth before anyone gets hurt!

Also, we must not blame the victims. I question Bishop Mattera’s fourth point in which he says “Abusive leaders often stay away from smart, confident, independent subordinates who are able to think and take care of themselves.”

Regardless of IQ or personality, a young person is vulnerable because of his or her lack of life experiences. Is there anyone who isn’t naïve to some degree when he or she is young? Someone who is naïve has a “lack of experience or knowledge.” This does not mean they are not intelligent, confident or independent. An abuser will look for younger people and exploit this vulnerability.

Mr. Cosby has had a place of respect for more than a generation. As we sort out our feelings and wait on the end of this story, let us keep praying for truth to be completely revealed, and that all parties involved would find healing and restoration in Jesus.

Image source: Wikipedia