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Good things come from discipline.

We had a work Christmas party over the holidays.  I had been on maternity leave for a couple of months and had not seen everyone for a while.  What shocked me the most were the two people that greeted me with a hug and were genuinely happy to see me.

The reason I was taken aback by this gesture was that I had had crucial conversations with both of these individuals.  These conversations were uncomfortable and unpleasant.  Needless to say, I didn’t expect for us to be best friends after the conversation.

As I was driving home, I really thought hard about the positive interaction we shared and how discipline played a part in it.

Here’s what I came up with.

Discipline is crucial to the stability of any organization.

Great leaders discipline…

  1. For the sake of the vision
    • If the vision is “to provide great customer service,” and you see the opposite of that and do not correct it, your vision will quickly lose its significance.
    • If a leader can’t discipline, they really haven’t bought into the vision.  Weigh your possible “tough conversations” against the overall vision, and that will shed light on the severity and urgency of the conversation.
  2. For the sake of the team
    • If you allow someone on the team to get away with being late, for example, and there are no consequences, you have told the rest of the team that you don’t really mean what you say and policies don’t carry much weight.
  3. For the sake of the individual
    • If you allow a team member to cut corners and not completely carry out their responsibility, you are doing them a disservice and ultimately dishonoring them by not keeping them accountable.
    • Disciplining shows you care.

So, in disciplining the two individuals, I believe both decided to take it as an opportunity to grow and overcome the setback.  Both are now thriving in their roles and the organization is better because they are there.

As a leader, I don’t jump for joy at the thought of uncomfortable conversations and disciplining others.  When these situations arise, I usually have to remind myself that discipline is necessary for the organization to thrive.  When discipline is done correctly, the vision, team and individual are all stronger because of it.

How well do you carry out discipline in your role?