The kinky sex muse in corporate leadership

In the popular imagination, a typical kinky sex scene has a portly grandee on all fours bound by leather straps to the leg of a sprawling bed in a hotel room while a shapely jezebel with overdone makeup, stripped down to her stockings and a heaving bra, looms over him, a bittersweet whip in hand, listening to him beg her to lavish on him one last round of well-placed stings of the lash.

Few of us are aware that like scenes abound in the corporate world and that quite often we the pontificators against kinky sex unsuspectingly assume a role akin to that of giver or receiver of fetish lashes. It’s as if in our everyday lives God, in a replay of 2 Samuel 12:1-9, cleverly presents to us kinky sex scenes that in some unobvious way recalls aspects of our own workplace behaviour so that he can lure us into passing indirect judgment on ourselves when we hasten to criticize the observed deviant behaviour.

The similarities between kinky sex and certain types of workplace behaviour may not be at once apparent, so I will offer an example. I have in mind the byzantine procurement and financial regulations that top management sometimes imposes in an organization. Often, the obstructive complexity of these regulations leads to paralysis: every effort launched to get some work done soon shatters against the omnipresent rock of frustrating regulations. The situation that develops in the office then begins to look like a reconstruction of a kinky sex scene: we have staff bound hand and foot to the legs of their desks by crippling regulations while top management looms over them with a whip, urging them forward in their assignments. What kicks (of professional satisfaction) some get from wielding that whip!

Take a long hard look at your workplace—do these words ring true?

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