Broadspring Consulting

Managing Behaviour And Consequences


Behaviour creates Consequences and Intention drives behaviour

Managing people’s behaviour can be tough

Giving feedback on an employee’s behaviour can be challenging, and yet it needs to be done otherwise the undesired consequences will continue.

Some clients have said they are unsure of how to provide feedback without being too confronting or making a situation worse.

It can be most difficult when the behaviour itself is acceptable and yet the outcome or consequence it has created is unacceptable.

Behaviour is what we can observe.

It is also what can be corrected by training and feedback.

An employee’s behaviour is what is guided by workplace policy and procedure.

Behaviour is usually what other employees will complain about. Or comment on.

Behaviour is something that we often take very personally and suggesting change can feel risky and confronting.

When you speak to an employee do you focus purely on their behaviour or do you also discuss the impact or consequence of their behaviour?

Behaviour creates consequences

All behaviour creates consequences whether intended or not. It is these consequences that cause us to pay attention to a behaviour.

That attention can be positive and encouraging more of the behaviour.
Our attention can be to end the negative consequences and seek to modify the behaviour.

The consequences are what managers need to be tuned in to and also what need to motivate change in the individual behaving.

When an employee is behaving in ways that create negative consequences and shows no care or concern for those consequences, there is a significant concern.

At times as manager or team leader you will be aware of wider ranging consequences of behaviour that the employee may nor have access to.

Discussing consequences makes the conversation about work and the business rather than personal to the individual. In this way discussing consequences can be just as effective and less threatening.

Intention is the unspoken driver and also a change lever.

At times it can be difficult to “break through” in a conversation about the need for behaviour change.

Approaching a performance feedback conversation believing that the person did not intend to create the negative consequences that they did is most effective.

It also allows a powerful conversation opener
“When you did (describe the behaviour) what was it that you were hoping the outcome would be?

This allows individuals who were unaware to be made aware gently yet clearly.

It also cuts through to unintended consequences.
One coaching client deleted an Update item from her team meeting agenda as everyone was under time pressure. Her intention was to save time. Team members seemed more tense after a few meetings so she check in with them (at my suggestion) only to find that those Update time son the agenda were a key part of the team feeling connected and united.

Understanding the links between Intention Behaviour and Consequences can have significant positive effects.