In today's fast-paced, immediate-gratification, information age, we have come to use credit and credit scores to determine a level of buying power and almost to determine a level of status within society. You can easily go online and check your credit rating or credit score with several different banks or credit card companies. But what about your idiosyncrasy credit? Where are you "credit-wise" with your team, work group or family with the amount of influence you have?
What are idiosyncrasy credits? In “Social Exchange Theory” they are the interpersonal influence credits that a person (frequently in a leader/follower relationship) earns by completing some task, action, or behavior for an individual, team, or organization. Why do you do things for others? Why do others do things for you? Is it because you like them, or they like you, or is it because you are making a deposit or withdrawal into the emotional bank accounts?
Just like putting money in a piggy bank, each person makes deposits by completing some task, action, or behavior for the other person, team or group which has some emotional value. Withdrawals are also made by requesting someone to “put up with,” accept or tolerate an action with a negative emotional value or behavior from the other person.
How many emotional bank accounts can a person have? As many as the number of relationships that the person maintains. A person’s ability to manage many emotional bank accounts is directly related to their effectiveness in managing relationships. Just like the person's ability to manage their credit accounts, you can have as many as you want as long as you are able to maintain the account.
Is it possible to have too many Idiosyncrasy credits? Is it possible to have too much money in the bank, or too many diamonds or gold nuggets? How is it bad to have too many friends? Personally, I don't think I'll ever experience having too much money, but hey, I guess it is within the realm of possibilities. Likewise, having too many idiosyncrasy credits is probably a problem/opportunity you would like to have.
Is it possible to have too few idiosyncrasy credits? It is possible to become “overdrawn” if too many purchases were made using the credit and it can't be repaid, or too many withdrawals are made from one person’s ATM account. With idiosyncrasy credits, it is the same. Maybe you will have a better "credit" rating with a family member, or a long-time friend, but then again you can only spend so much before your credit rating starts to go down.
An emotionally intelligent/sensitive person detects when they need to make deposits into another person’s emotional bank account or when they are getting close to empty. A person who is not emotionally intelligent/sensitive frequently does not put enough deposits into the emotional bank account and frequently becomes overdrawn in their emotional bank account. Keeping track of your emotional bank accounts is an art that requires practice, work and daily attention for those relationships that are important.
So what, you may ask? Here's the so what... People are social creatures and relationships determine how social we are...if we don't have enough idiosyncrasy credits in our emotional bank accounts, then we risk becoming socially shunned or minimally we are not given the future credit we ask for in the group or team. Antoine Saint-Exupery said in 1942 in Flight From Arras, “Man is a knot into which relationships are tied.” Our relationships are directly connected to our levels of idiosyncrasy credits, and how we deposit, save, or spend them, may determine our levels of involvement in our social groups. “In the end, who among us does not choose to be a little less right, to be a little less lonely?” – Robert Brault
So, let's go back to the initial question...What is your idiosyncrasy credit rating? Is social media impacting your idiosyncrasy credit with those whom you interact, and if so, how? Is this changing due to the information age and the instant access everyone has to information about others? Should we allow it to continue?
About the Author: Dr. Chris Fuzie is the Owner of CMF Leadership Consulting and a trainer/coach/consultant for leadership of public, private, profit, and non-profit organizations. Chris holds a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D), M.A. and B.A. in Organizational Leadership, and has graduate certificates in Human Resources and Criminal Justice Education. Chris retired as the Assistant Division Commander of Investigations for Modesto Police Department after 28 years of public service.