Shaken, Not Stirred: Messiah.

October 30, 2016
Jim Bond

Jim Bond

Shaken, Not Stirred: Messiah.


A blog by Jim Bond.

Sponsored by Pro-Master Carpet Cleaning, 231-757-9061,

No, this isn’t a religious post.

This is about a group of people, apparently of growing membership and affiliation. These are individuals who feel they are the only ones with the solution to any given problem, and only they can save us from whatever path to a degradation destination toward which we’re heading.

And no, it isn’t political either.

The idea came to me as a result of a Facebook post which stated: “The biggest communication problem is we don’t listen to understand, we listen to reply.” I hit ‘share’ and added: “And then there are those who don’t listen at all, just argue…Ready, Fire, Aim”.

This is called a ‘Messianic or Messiah Complex’ and is described by as “A complex in which sufferers have a desire to redeem and save others, some sufferers have harboured the delusion of being a saviour of people”. (Not a misspelling, the author was a Brit).

Yes, we have all encountered them, either in business or personally. There’s a tendency to discard everything which has happened in the past, the good along with the bad, deeming it unworthy. Rather than asking questions to gain understanding, they state solutions. In conversation, they respond with arms crossed and other negative body language, including deep sighs or the ‘huffy breath’ or ‘mad breath’ made popular in the children’s books Junie B. Jones.

The real danger here is exhibited in philosopher George Santayana’s quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. 

It’s also been my experience that when their plans don’t work, there’s a tendency to blame others.

Look, we’ve all been guilty of it and many of us still are in segments of our life and interaction with others. I know I’ve been guilty of that form of arrogance.

When you look at it, ‘Messiah’ types possess a pattern of authoritarian behavior. There is a tendency toward rigidity of views, only believing in black and white or ‘right or wrong’ solutions. They like to tell people what to do and how to do it. Interestingly, in addition to exhibiting excessive conformity and intolerance, there is also a need to be submissive to authority. Interesting mix, huh?

In business, it’s one of the hallmarks of a management style from the 1960s and before. And also, the trait is mostly embodied by men. Examples can be found in the hit AMC series Madmen.

To me, leadership is like art. I can’t explain it, but I recognize it when I see it. Bad leadership is everywhere.

In life, it’s really aggravating.

Several years ago I became embroiled in a conversation with an individual who had hit a deer. The exchange went like this:

Her: “Well insurance will cover fixing the engine, but what about the bodywork?”

Me: “Insurance will take care of that too.”

Her: “No, they only fix the engine.”

Me: “No, they fix everything.”

Her: “NO, they DON’T!”

Whereupon, I figured further conversation was pointless, especially knowing that when the matter was settled, the conversation would be settled as well.

So, I issued a huffy breath while I crossed my arms. (See paragraph 6). 

Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was the German philosopher who first defined the authoritarian personality. In one of his writings he stated: “The authoritarian person directs his/her aggression towards other groups, often racial minorities. This is an attempt to relieve the feeling of personal weakness with a search for absolute answers and strengths in the outside world”.

Well all know them. We’ve all encountered them. Unfortunately, we’ve all probably exhibited the some of the traits at one time or another, either in the workplace or tragically, with our children.

So, those of us who deal with co-workers, clients, friends, voters, or are in any way connected to the public, perhaps heed the words of Sir Charles Branson, especially if you’re in management:

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of the employees, they will take care of the clients.”

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