Beware the Charming Bully: Jeff Sessions and Russia-gate

One of the refrains that was heard when former Senator Jeff Sessions was going through his nomination hearings was that he was such a warm, friendly, even endearing guy. Many didn’t know how to square this impression with the man who so alarmed Coretta Scott King in 1986 when he was nominated as a federal judge that she wrote a 10-page letter detailing why his confirmation would “have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband's dream." People were confused about his character because few realized the characteristics of the benevolent dictator personality.

In business, benevolent dictators are often are described as being demanding, but caring about their employees. As I wrote in my new book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A dictator boss uses whatever tools he has at his disposal to get what he wants—including affability, charm and benevolence. His true character only emerges when he’s thwarted. We are beginning to see this as Sessions’ lies come to light. A comprehensive article in the Kansas City Star details the growing “Russia-gate” scandal and Sessions’ role in it. It is clear that bullies will do anything to stay in power once they get there, including deception, deceit and a suddenly faulty memory when it comes to whether Sessions had communications with the Russians during the election.

There is one saving grace when it comes to dealing with Sessions—his employer is the American people, and they’re clearly not pleased. The outcry has gotten him to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation into ties with Russia, but it remains to be seen if it eventually forces his resignation. As with a dictatorial boss in a corporate setting, this sort of individual needs close watch and revolutionist involvement from employees and employer.  

Just forcing Sessions out however is not sufficient. An independent investigation is required. Given the brazen denials by most Republicans, including Trump, that there was no collusion with the Russians, clearly suggests that they will go to any lengths to prevent this, thus eroding democracy even further. The question not being asked is—If there is nothing to hide here, why on earth would they oppose such an investigation?

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