Idiosyncrasy Credit When Taking on New Roles

In Dr. Goethals’s course, we heavily discussed idiosyncrasy credit and its relation to leaders. For those of you that may have forgotten or did not discuss this theory in your course, idiosyncrasy credit is the latitude that a leader has to bring about change to the group. Specifically, the theory focuses on how credit can be earned through competence and conformity. However, the part of this theory that was always the most intriguing to me was how if a person has “derivative credit”, which is if a group has a favorable view of the leader, the followers are likely more tolerant of them if they are to make mistakes. This is because the leader has credit built up with the followers in the past, making the followers respect him or her more and in turn granting them more leeway.

Specifically, I see this theory in action in regard to my boss. Over the years in her leader position in the Inpathy subdivision, she has built up idiosyncrasy credit in terms of both competence and conformity. In the competence aspect, our team has been very successful in maintaining good relationships with our consumers and assisting them in getting the best access to mental health care possible. As a result, all members of our team as well as the rest of the InSight company acknowledge all of the progress we have made. In terms of conformity, because Inpathy is arguably the smallest subdivision under InSight, we have a very tightknit team. Our team used to only consist of three full-time employees and then two interns, including myself. Over the years, we have added and subtracting members to our team, and to this day, our five original team members are still working together. As my boss holds us all together, she demonstrates strong signs of loyalty to Inpathy and is always supportive of those that work beneath her in any circumstance, especially conflicts. However, within the past year, my boss has taken on an additional role in InSight. Not only is she still the leader of Inpathy, but she is also now a provider, giving telehealthcare to our company’s consumers. On top of that, she is going back to school to get another degree that will propel her further ahead in her position. As a result of the new roles she has been taking on, she has much more on her plate which leads to a few mistakes here and there. For example, she is not as responsive anymore to emails. In the past, I would be able to email her and get a reply very quickly whereas now, she has so many emails in her inbox it is very likely that she overlooks some or opens them and forgets to reply. However, because she has so much idiosyncrasy built up within our team, no one gets frustrated but instead reaches out to see if there is something we can do to assist her in any way. If this was a new boss on our team, someone we did not know as well, it is likely that we would get frustrated more quickly and lose respect for him or her for not doing their job as well as they should. But, because we have so much respect for our boss and know the greatness she is capable of, we are very tolerant and provide her with much latitude.