Even before the ruinous prostitution scandal involving New York Governor Eliot Spitzer hit full force last week, pundits had churned out chapter and verse analyzing why this talented and high-achieving man would squander his political capital and leadership potential so recklessly. (Spitzer’s resignation is official today.)
Most of the explanations were trite: “naked hubris”; “power corrupts”; “just plain stupid,” and on.) But David Brooks of the New York Times takes a deeper consideration of why the most talented and successful among us, those who achieve “Bigness,” sometimes behave very badly.
…our social structure seems to produce significant numbers of people with rank-link imbalances. That is to say, they have all of the social skills required to improve their social rank, but none of the social skills that lead to genuine bonding. They are good at vertical relationships with mentors and bosses, but bad at horizontal relationships with friends and lovers.