Do you remember when you started to figure out consequences? You know, like when you started to figure out it will hurt if I do that, or I will fall if I do that or she will yell if I do that? Everything has a consequence, not all are bad, and not all are good.
Webster’s dictionary says it’s the conclusion derived through logic, which made me laugh. I am not certain I have always exercised logic and derived my consequence. I think it’s derived through experience more often than logic. And when someone brings up consequences I never think it’s a good thing, a positive thing. I usually feel a daunting concern of what will be…
As we grow up we try to avoid consequences or get around them or defer them or mitigate them. We try to shovel them off to someone else because we don’t want the consequence and we don’t really want to admit that we did something that brought about consequences.
Take for example, divorce. There are many consequences to divorce. And if you have a family those consequences grow in number and probably in pain. If you get divorced your consequence is less time with your children and likely the introduction of a step parent. So one of your consequences is sharing. Only not sharing in a way that maybe you want to, or maybe not sharing fairly. And you give up less say in what happens in your children’s lives and you willingly or unwillingly become less of an influence or less of a leader in their lives because you are simply not with them as often or as much. For the record, I don’t believe its quality time, I believe its quantity time.
So in essence you give up your leadership of your family because you have divided, divided everything. And I think that is the nastiest consequence of all, the one you don’t anticipate, the one you don’t see coming. We try to analyze, think through – know better, do better – but we still get caught out, still get surprized still get the consequence we tried to avoid.
Growing up I knew some of my consequences, it had been made very clear to me what they were, but I did it anyway. Call it head strong, call it stubborn, call it stupid. It was and is how I determine my own risk tolerance and understanding of how people and systems work. As a leader, whether it’s your family or your business your consequences of dealing with and managing the care and comfort of your team can be a great reward, layered with loyalty, dedication, respect and hard work. But your consequences can also be mistreatment, disrespect, intolerance, rigidity, lack of motivation, volatility, and frustration.
So what do you do? You assess the need/want, measure the risk, plan risk mitigation, check your plan with trusted colleagues/friends/family, test your plan, share your plan, act on your plan, adjust your plan, continue the plan, complete the plan, assess the plan, redo the plan. Start all over.
We will never see all of our consequences, we will never be able to avoid some of the consequences. We will be able to ask for help, understand we are human and offer grace when we see our team fall down. We are the leaders whose consequences teach us something, whose desire to do better trumps our desire to wallow. We are the leaders that go outside the box, we are the leaders that move people forward, we are the leaders that make the consequences clear when we can, and we are the leaders that offer a space to try.
We are the leaders.