All the time and skill in the world won’t make a difference without discipline. Discipline is the key to effective organization and productivity, and as a leader, it’s your number one responsibility. Having personal discipline and instilling it in your workforce means following through on commitments, sticking to deadlines and organizational plans and maximizing efficiency. So much time and energy can go to waste in your company and in your life if you don’t have that determination and focus on the task in front of you.
Discipline is that essential element that keeps your life and your business running smoothly. You have to harness and keep up your personal discipline for your own health and well-being, and then you need to learn to exemplify it and teach it for effective and productive leadership. Here are a few ways you can promote that focus and determination and build discipline in yourself and others around you:
Ask for Buy-In and Commitment
Discipline is all about delaying gratification. It’s about imposing organization on yourself and being able to consistently hold yourself to that organization. Discipline doesn’t happen unless you pick a moment and decide to commit to bringing that discipline to bear.
The same goes for your workforce. Once you’re modeling that discipline for them, it’s time to invite them in to make that change. Discipline is something that shapes all parts of your life as well. If you can’t manage to discipline yourself with your exercise and eating habits, you may quickly slip when trying to discipline your business habits.
Work With Your Body, Not Against It
Disciplining yourself doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Pay attention to your thoughts and your natural rhythms, and use those when putting your schedule together. It’ll be easier to hold yourself to a clear timeframe when you’re working with your body, not against it. When do you think most clearly? When do you find yourself getting most sleepy or fidgety? If you and your team are most productive in the mornings, shape the schedule and environment to take advantage of that.
If you set a clearly defined time for concentration and individual work, you can increase productivity by ensuring each team member has their space and time for concentration. The camaraderie of following that same schedule as a team can help increase productivity as well. If you and many of your team members lose energy in the afternoon, you can make that a time for more social interaction and physical movement.
Use Schedules Carefully and Stick to Them
Intentional time management is essential for individual and group discipline. And for that, you need a schedule. Keep your priorities in mind and craft a schedule that makes sense and allows your team to finish the work it needs to get done. Set aside team for meetings and collaboration, and then strictly hold yourselves to your time constraints. Meetings that drag on or that tend to focus on unimportant or non-essential things detract from discipline and productivity. “Work schedules need to be flexible but tight,” says John Foy, attorney, and founder of John Foy and Associates. “The calendar is nothing more than a tool for productivity. If it ever feels oppressive or becomes counterproductive, you need to adjust it.”
Keeping yourself on a schedule as a team may be difficult at first, but as you get more disciplined and hold yourself to the planned timeframe, the whole team will benefit. When you know the group schedule will go as planned, you’re free to make individual plans for both work and personal purposes around the team schedule. That increases productivity, helps people meet deadlines and other commitments, and it increases the quality of life.
Foster Intentional Habits
Your goal in bringing increased discipline to your team is to eventually make that increased productivity and organization effortless. In setting out on this adventure your team should be united in purpose. Together you are trying to build habits and create new reflexes that contribute to the success and support of the mission of your business.
It can be hard to shake off old habits and routines as you try to push forward as a business, but that just shows you the power of habit once it’s firmly established. If your new schedules and rhythms make sense and are intuitive to your team, it should be easy to settle into the new routine once you’ve gotten over the hump of leaving the old one behind. You can declare your disciplined leadership a success once you’ve made discipline not a buzzword or a stressful new business plan but a habit you don’t even have to think about.