An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances.
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Precedents are important. It is important to set some precedents. It is important to avoid setting some. Many understand the value of precedents and may even go about exploiting them. Most don’t. Especially in their professional lives.
Do not do out-of-turn favours for any one.
It can set a precedent which may affect you (or worse: the organisation you are working in) adversely in the not-so-easily-predictable future.
Use discretionary powers with caution.
Many positions offer us with discretionary powers. Use them when utmost necessary. You may know how to deal with fire, your successors may not. They may burn their hands and also the organisation.
Beware of ballooning precedents.
Precedents are also negotiation benchmarks. While you may set a nominal precedent in the present, it may balloon into something unmanageable in the next round of negotiations.
Set good precedents.
Be transparent. Honest. Forthcoming. This would be reason enough for your subordinates to be the same. Do what you expect others to be. As they have said often, actions speak louder than words.
Author: Amartya Dey, India
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