Are “Heroes” Entitled To Bad Behavior? Best Buy Ethics, by Kathleen Edmond.
Recently, we had a situation in a store that posed an interesting cultural challenge. The specifics of the story are not important but, suffice to say, we had an employee who was lauded as a “hero” by Best Buy and held in extremely high regard by her peers and leaders. Unfortunately, she was later implicated in a theft ring within the company and terminated along with several other employees.
The theft, it should be noted, was completely unrelated to her prior heroic deeds. It was simply a case of one employee embodying both the absolute best and worst of our company values at different points in time. The whole episode was rather disappointing, as you might imagine. Although this specific incident occurred in a store outside the U.S., the same thing could, and has, occurred in various locations across the enterprise. My questions for you:
1) Once someone attains “hero” status, can they lose that perception and the goodwill that comes with it?
2) Should a heroic employee receive a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card, so to speak, and be entitled to behave badly after the fact? Why or why not?
3) Conversely, should heroes be held to a higher ethical standard going forward than “normal” people? Please explain.
4) Have you ever observed a similar situation where you work? If so, how did your workplace culture respond? Did the culture grant him/her a Get Out Of Jail Free pass or go the other direction and offer less grace than would normally be expected?