When Your Boss Needs Help: Intervention for ExecutivesMarch 13, 2019
Addiction is an equal-opportunity disease. It doesn’t discriminate about who falls prey to developing it, nor does it care about how successful its sufferers may be in other aspects of their lives.
People who have high-pressure jobs in running companies they founded are often more susceptible to developing a drug or alcohol addiction. These so-called “high-functioning” addicts may seem to have it all together on the surface, but on the inside, they’re falling apart.
Addiction in the Workplace
Though the common media portrayal of an addicted person is someone who can’t hold down a job and is at risk of losing everything, this isn’t the case for everyone. Many functional addicts remain responsible and productive, despite the extent of their disease. Often, their success as C-suite executives might mask the fact that they drink or use drugs on their lunch break, or every night when they get home from the office. Many times, it is also easier for people in leadership positions to hide their behavior or make excuses for long absences away from the office.
As their addiction continues, however, the quality of these executives’ work will eventually begin to suffer, even if their colleagues are actively accommodating their disease. They may underperform, fail to show up for meetings or appointments, anger customers or make other expensive mistakes that cause them to be a company liability. Their poor decision-making skills can lead to inappropriate behavior with clients or anyone who reports to them.
Executives Jeopardizing Their Careers
Since executives play highly public-facing roles, being in active addiction puts them at an increased risk of losing it all, even if their job performance hasn’t noticeably declined. Though the Americans with Disabilities Act protects workers from getting fired for having an addiction, if the executive is engaging in behavior such as sexual harassment or causing the company to lose profits, the board of directors may decide to terminate their contract.
Those who end up entering addiction treatment often do so at the urging of concerned family members and friends. However, if you work with someone who is putting their career and life at risk with drug or alcohol addiction, an executive intervention is the best solution in many cases.
What Is Intervention for Executives?
When you picture an intervention, you may envision a group of family members sitting around their kitchen table, or meeting in the comfort of their living room. Unlike the family model of intervention, the participants in an executive intervention are the executive’s work colleagues.
An executive intervention calls for a highly qualified professional interventionist – one who can not only convince the addicted person to seek drug detox and/or rehabilitation, but one who will also work with the executive and their colleagues to support their efforts to return to the workplace after they complete their rehab program.
Interventions held in a professional environment have a high success rate. However, they still require careful planning and orchestration by an outside, neutral party who can guide this sensitive conversation in a productive direction that minimizes the chance of the addicted person reacting with hostility or refusing to get help.
Safe, Caring Intervention for Executives
An executive intervention offers a proactive way to address the substance misuse problems that affect many professionals in leadership positions. Given the costs associated with losing someone with C-suite knowledge and experience, professionals should recognize the wisdom of addressing an addiction problem to protect the future of the company.
Hiring a leading specialist to conduct a substance misuse intervention is the best way to ensure an executive with an addiction problem gets the help they need to recover and move on with their lives in a productive and healthy way.