Consequences are a vital key in staff management. Your most brilliant ideas can soar or crash depending on how much thought you give to consequences in your planning. It’s easy to overlook this vital factor.
1. Consequences For Whom?
Like beauty, consequences are in the eye of the beholder. A project engineer sees the conclusion of a big civil project as a major achievement and the opportunity for a large cash bonus. For a tradesman it carries the prospect of unemployment. When making changes, make sure you build in positive effects for your staff.
2. Peer Pressure
As a manager you may have lots of formal power. But informal power is important too. Most employees are very conscious of how their peers think. The prospect of derision and disapproval by peers can influence their behaviour in ways quite unfamiliar to you. Encouraging staff to do work or take “opportunities” that may isolate them from their peers is something you need to consider carefully.
3. Threat And Opportunity
Your new operating system reduces errors, saves time, cuts tedious clerical work and co-ordinates information from various sources. It’s a wonderful improvement. The conscientious, loyal, senior clerical employees with 25 years service may see it as a threat. They may see all the skills that have made them such a valuable employee “going up in smoke”. Try to anticipate such a response. This allows you to resolve any misunderstandings before it escalates to a major problem.
4. Perspective and Consequences
As a manager you and your employees have different views of the world of work. Anticipating positive management consequences is part of your job. But anticipating employee reactions, both positive and negative, is part of your job too. “I’m the boss and they’d better do what I want” just doesn’t work anymore.
5. Unforseen Consequences
It’s impossible to anticipate every conceivable effect of every initiative, change or improvement. That’s no reason to blunder ahead, blind to the reactions you’re creating. Be prepared for all the results your actions are likely to create. When the unforseen occurs, you’ll be able to concentrate on handling it.
Preparing to handle consequences positively is part of the planning process. Always try to create benefits for employees who are involved in change and performance improvements. But remember, their perspective is different to yours.
Carefully considering the effects of your actions will make your management job a lot easier. Ignoring consequences or failing to recognize them will become a rod for your back.