What is your “Conduct Credit” Rating?

Do you know the exact balance of your credit card when you charge something? Probably not. We use up credit without a clear idea of how much we have, until we get a bill or max out. Some people have more credit than others, which means they can charge more.

In the workplace, we have credit too.

There is a lot written about harassment as an abuse of power—that bad conduct is an outgrowth of bad people doing bad things. As a workplace investigator, I have come across a concept of “conduct credit.” That is, sometimes a person is permitted to engage in, and forgiven for, inappropriate conduct, because they are a good person who has done good things, and has built up a lot of credit with those around them.  And sometimes a person is called out for conduct because they have a credit deficit.

It would take a person with good credit longer to be called out for inappropriate conduct and they are given more leeway in the workplace—the ability to “charge” more.

We cannot assume we have the same credit, and can engage in the same conduct, with everyone. Credit takes a long time to build, and once ruined takes years to mend.  Building conduct credit is as important as good conduct, especially for leaders.  Because no one is perfect.