“A man who cannot be enticed by money or intimidated by the threat of jail or death has two of the strongest weapons that anyone has to offer”. — Jesse Jackson
It is an unfortunate fact of leadership that if you hold a position of power then there will be individuals or groups who will try to influence and control you so they can use the power you hold for their exclusive benefit.
If you follow the principles of Right Behavior (see my earlier posts) then there should not be any major action or decision that manipulators can threaten to expose to try and control you. The worst that they can therefore do is to try and use a genuine mistake that you may have made in the past and threaten to expose that as a misdeed.
If you are faced with such a situation the only solution is to listen to the person or people making the threat without any comment beyond expressing, what will be genuine, regret at having made a genuine mistake.
Thank the people for bringing this to your attention and listen to find out what they want. This will teach you a lot about the motivations of this person or group of people and help you defend yourself against their future attempts to control you.
Do not make any kind of agreement to assist them but instead ask for some time to consider what they have told you. It is almost certain that your meeting is being recorded so you have to be extremely careful not to provide these completely unscrupulous people with any evidence that could be misinterpreted and used to harm you.
Once the encounter is over then you must take immediate action to make a public admission of the error they have highlighted and take every action to rectify that error in full.
There is no other way out of this type of situation without becoming ensnared in the manipulator’s control. Read that sentence again because it could save you a lifetime of misery. I have seen the lives of noble people who have submitted become perverted into mere shadows of their former selves.
This is how the majority of people become caught in networks of corruption. You only need to submit to them once and you will become one of their puppets for the rest of your time in your leadership post and probably longer.
Yes your ego will take a bruising from admitting having made a mistake. Yes your enemies will make good use of your having made a mistake.
Having been through this myself I can only tell you: Get over it. You are human. If you are working hard then you will be making genuine mistakes. Constant 18 hour days will pretty much make sure of it.
Finally be aware that owning up to the error will not make these enemies go away and forget you. Depending on the circumstances you may be about to enter the most challenging type of leadership lesson – one of advancement versus corruption. Where you will learn your own true worth and of all those around you.
As they say “Buckle up, it’s going to be the ride of a lifetime“.