Leadership & Discipline
The difference between good and great often comes down to discipline. So my question is this – how disciplined are you as a leader? Context, fluidity, and other nuanced behaviors are positive traits to embrace so long as they don’t serve as an excuse for a lack of discipline. I’m not suggesting that leaders should be robotic or static in approach – quite to the contrary. Implementing a framework of discipline allows leaders more flexibility not less. While subjecting yourself to the rigor of discipline is not easy, it is essential if you want to maximize your effectiveness as a leader. The best leaders I know are extremely disciplined people – they simply do the things others are not willing to do. Are you disciplined in all facets of your life, or just those which come more easily to you?
There’s a lot of material in circulation about strengths and weaknesses, but the truth of the matter is the mantra of “playing to your strengths” is often an excuse to avoid doing things you dislike or don’t happen to be very good at. It’s much easier for most people to refine their areas of giftedness and revel in the admiration of being a high achiever than it is to be honest about their shortcomings. I want you to take a hard look in the mirror - is it truly an attempt to increase your efficiency that guides you to play to your strengths, or is it pride, ego, arrogance and laziness that precludes you from being disciplined? Remember that being efficient is not always the same thing as being effective. Here’s the thing – you don’t need to observe a leader for long to know whether or not they’re disciplined. Disciplined leaders stand out because they’re the one’s that get things done – the ones you can count on.
The good news for those willing to do the work is you can have your cake and eat it too. By applying rigor and discipline to aspects of your personal and professional life that you normally tend to avoid, your strengths will standout even more. How many times have you put up with, or overlooked certain weaknesses in people because of their considerable strengths in other areas? Wouldn’t it be better to find yourself in a place where others weren’t tolerating certain of your behaviors in lieu of others? It’s been said that “Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” Wouldn’t it be better to be viewed as a complete package – the real deal? Sure it would, so why not apply the discipline it takes to ensure that outcome?
I want you to envision a golfer who is long off the tee - the grip it and rip it type who can out drive anyone on the range, yet never wins a round because of their pathetic short game. Here’s the thing; it’s not that this champion of the long drive can’t master their short game, they just spend more time on the driving range than on the putting green. They would rather receive the accolades that are sure to come from their mighty display in the tee box rather than suffer the chuckles that might result from sculling a chip shot around the putting green. Know the type? The sad thing is they don’t just exist on the golf course…
My bottom line is this…real leaders don’t accept mediocrity - they constantly seek improvement. If you want to become a true standout as opposed to someone who has great potential my message is simple – become very intentional about bringing discipline to every area of your life. Take an assessment of what you do well and what you don’t, and then apply rigor, process, structure and discipline to each of those areas. Hard work isn’t easy, but it does pay huge dividends.
As always, feel free to share any thoughts or tips by commenting below…