Discipline is something you develop in yourself by deliberate and consistent decisions. It is not something a person automatically has but is a characteristic that must be learned and developed. Discipline is what helps maintain what is good in life and build on it to improve even more. It is developed by regularly choosing to make the necessary decisions and take the correct actions. A disciplined person may live by a rule or system of rules governing their conduct or activity. As you live by these good choices, you become a disciplined person.
A disciplined leader gets more done.
Many people put in the expected hours at work. Some get much more done in those hours than others. One reason is that the disciplined person knows how to keep breaks short and focus back on the task at hand.
A disciplined person starts on time, but also ends on time. Whether it is the start of your day or running a meeting, a disciplined person is prepared, ready to start when it is time, and focused enough to accomplish what is needed in the necessary time.
A disciplined leader develops good habits.
Self-discipline is the ability to control your behavior in a way that leads you to be more productive or have better habits. Systems or rituals can help you organize the activities you regularly do into an orderly fashion that eliminates time spent deciding what to do next or how to do it. These rituals can be as simple as cleaning off your desk before going home at night so it is not cluttered when you return in the morning. A ritual could include taking 10 minutes to plan the next day so you are ready when you arrive in the office the next day.
Systems are the habits that are packaged together, like a series of procedures. An example may be a system for tracking meeting decisions and action items. This might include transferring all dates discussed in the meeting onto their calendar, and adding your responsibilities to your to-do list, and adding time to work on these items to your daily schedule. In this way, within minutes of your meeting, you have all the pertinent information on the right calendars and to -do lists.
A disciplined leader excels at self-management.
A disciplined person is a self-starter. They don’t need someone else to regularly check in to remind them of the next job to do. They know how to determine what needs to be done and what can wait. They know where to go to get answers or expertise they don’t have. A disciplined person sets their own direction for the day rather than waiting for the supervisor to give them their jobs. A disciplined leader manages their time in such a way that everything gets done and they still have time to dream and plan for the future.
A disciplined leader keeps going when things get tough.
Being a leader is not always easy. Pushback can come from many angles, including some of your own staff or even those you serve. Financial issues can become a big concern when money isn’t coming in as expected. A time crunch can also be tough, when the amount that needs to be done seems to be greater than the time available. Things can get tough too, when a leader feel like they are leading beyond their limits. In all the different ways that things can get tough, the disciplined leader will never give up. They will push through. They may arrange for deadline extensions or make some financial adjustments. They may get outside help, whether personal coaching, or more staff, to push ahead when they feel they are in new territory and unsure how to proceed.
Discipline is a valuable characteristic of anybody, but especially a leader. This characteristic will help a leader get through many situations when an undisciplined person may give up or just panic and do a poor job. Work at becoming a disciplined leader, one good decision, one good habit, after another. If you want to lead well, develop the character of discipline.
If you are looking to become more disciplined, checkout next week’s post on how to develop discipline as a leader.
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