Bathsheba, King David and You: Avoiding the failure of success

This is a “Cliff Notes” version of a presentation I give based on the well-known paper by Dean Ludwig and Clinton Longenecker entitled The Bathsheba Syndrome: The Ethical Failure of Successful Leaders.  This paper is copyrighted so you will have to spend 5 bucks to read it, but if you are a leader, it will be the best $5 you ever spent.  Here’s a quick synopsis.   A great number of leadership failures can be explained by the Bathsheba Syndrome, many of those within the Navy. Basically the Bathsheba Syndrome is this:

  • Ethical failures in leaders is a product of success, not pressure to perform
  • Success may cause leaders to shift focus from those things that made them successful to less important issues
  • Success leads to access to privileged information that may be abused
  • Success leads to unrestrained control of an organization
  • Success leads to inflated ego, leading one to believe they can fix anything

Do any of these traits sound familiar in recent leadership meltdowns?

If you are interested in reading some examples, here is an article on Leadership in the 21st Century that might interest you.

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