In yesterday’s post I wrote about my personal experience with bad behavior in a professional context and the cost that putting up with bad behavior.

Today I’d like to talk about passing someone’s bad behavior onto another manager or company and the, literally devastating, consequences that can have.

Have you ever passed along a problem child to another department?

Have you ever given a good (or at least less than truthful) reference for someone who was underperforming or behaving inappropriately when they were employed by you?

If not, congratulations. If you have, I’m not here to blame. It’s human nature.

We tend to think that the person who was underperforming or not behaving appropriately might do better in another department or company.

We tend not to want to throw people under the bus.

But maybe we should.

Consider the case of Melissa Caddick, the Australian con artist who ran a Ponzi scheme bilking millions from her friends and family.

If you haven’t listened to the excellent podcast, “Liar Liar” add it to your list. It’s great!

In episode 2, the hosts of the podcast discuss Caddick’s early career and unveiled a history of fraudulent behavior.

One of her earliest managers caught her forging checks. Instead of reporting her to the police, they agreed that she would leave immediately. There were no consequences to her actions. She didn’t even repay the money. The podcast host said that her manager was just “glad to see the back of her.”

Later, Caddick was caught falsifying documents – that manager brushed it off as an honest mistake.

Would Melissa Caddick have made different choices had her previous managers put a stop to her behavior early on? Hard to say.

But NOT putting a stop to this bad behavior in the early years certainly led Caddick to escalate with devastating consequences.

What duty of care do we owe to our colleagues or fellow leaders in other companies?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Note: I know in my home country of Australia behavior is actually spelled behaviour…but I have a lot of American followers so chose to go with the American spelling. 🙂