Every manager needs this; Self-Discipline

ShowUp Team | Published: July 13, 2020

Knowledge is valuable, hence the importance of being a lifelong learner. Wisdom is a measure of growth based on the exchange of knowledge and the choice to grow from each experience. It is in the action steps to get from knowledge to wisdom where the real power in leadership is at.

The willingness to do the work required in applying knowledge to gain wisdom can come from an understanding of what being disciplined entails. Your leadership approach in your own position at work can be enhanced with an understanding of this key concept. Self-discipline is the combination of 3 things - the desire, commitment, and willingness to make something happen against all distractions or adversity.

The following quote is one I refer to often in my sessions on what a health self-concept in a work environment entails and how it adds to a leadership style and approach.

Self discipline in leadership is key. The discipline to connect with and control your own emotions and the emotional reactions of others, the discipline to lead with kindness and compassion against all adversity, and the discipline to rise above and lead others toward success.

To act with self-discipline takes a motivation to stay in focus in the moment all the while concentrating on the bigger picture and how you can make an impact. You can frame your own self-discipline motivators and make it work for you.

Consider the following steps:

  1. Clarity of mind.
  2. Development of objectives: measurable action steps.
  3. Flushing out the details to complete the action.

Self-discipline allows a person to feel his individuality, his inner strength, his talent. He is master of, rather than a slave to, his thoughts and emotions.

Step 1: Clarity of mind.

Keeping it real. A discipline to develop presence. It dispels the distractions and confusion of purposeless chatter and clears the way for greater productivity in the direction of sustainable growth. The ability to stay present is one of our most natural capabilities. The moment between energy and rest where self awareness in the form of pause happens to get to your creative flow.

This is where you inner uniqueness and strengths come to surface. In this sense it is how you make progress by making it meaningful to you and empowering others through your excitement and positive emotions. This boosts your motivation to continue on to the next step. Keeping your mind clear helps you to keep focus on your inner self to find peace within, to create harmony with movement, and stability within your environment. Happiness in this state of mind allows you to learn from every experience and want to apply it to your objectives.

Step 2: Development of objectives: measurable action steps.

Objectives differ from goals in that they don’t set you up to feel failure if you don't meet them. They serve you purpose to signify what is important to you and connect the action to the desire. They provide concise movement by detailing out the small steps needed by you to attain the desired result. Keeping it real keeps it attainable. Objectives are centered on a chosen measurable verb that describes the action you are going to take to lead you to the desired result.

For example:
Employ, Recall, Describe, Apply. (Bloom’s Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs) It is the framing of words in the objectives where you give yourself permission to test it, evaluate it and rewrite it if need be to successfully measure it. For example say your objective was to Apply something specific; and throughout the process you ended up finding something better to apply. You can go back and rewrite the objective to measure what you actually ended up doing.

Step 3: Flushing out the details to complete the action.

Flushing out the micro action steps with the acceptance that your action will be made up of one step forward in applying knowledge and finding new wisdom, then two steps back to process the new found wisdom, test own assumptions, re-frame and grow and then find clarity of mind to take the next step.

This is the source of creativity and finding innovative solutions to bridge the disparity to what was once seen as a surmountable endeavor to measurable moments of success; and more times than not, the successful outcome is one that surfaced by surprise and not the one expected. That’s where staying open to new perspective and pivoting when needed is the key to significant impact. That’s effective leadership.

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