Discipline at work

Ahh, discipline – a huge value of an employee, which gurus of management and business coaches are eager to achieve. Today discipline at work is the basis of order. But alas, it has its own downside.

On the one hand, we are committed to the concentration and efficiency, which is achieved only through discipline. On the other hand, this “noose” takes us farther and farther away from desires, risks, creativity to monotonous duties.

It’s difficult to discuss controversial issues, especially when it comes to the office work. It’s familiar to us on our own experience. The compromise in business matters can be reached  only intelligently. As well as discipline: to learn discipline you need to understand what it is and what it is not.

At its core discipline is an internal state. Something akin to the ability to manage yourself. Irrepressible colleague, who constantly complains that you are late by 20 minutes, while he has come on time is the controller. If he is your leader, maybe he will be able to get you back into operation. But, alas, his actions do not contribute to the discipline, that state of mind which makes you get out of bed early, because you do not allow yourself to be late. Internal control of impulses is a distinguishing sign of discipline.

Control of impulses by your boss also works. As Voltaire said, conscience is not the fear of God, it’s the fear of the police. Controlling eye of your boss who cares how carefully you meet the deadlines and how carefully you treat the customers will make you achieve inner discipline faster. At the workspace with the system of values ​​promoting self-discipline, we are more inclined to develop and implement it.

Managers, who create an atmosphere conducive to self-discipline of the staff are better able to increase efficiency and improve job satisfaction. But how to make employees engaged not only in self-discipline, but also in striving for a common ultimate goal? This can be achieved only realizing that the lack of discipline is confusion and laziness and over-discipline is dictatorship. With the discipline, you can just reach the ultimate goal, but it is unlikely to make the process fun.

We often believe that if something is good for us, the more we’ll have it, the better. The existence of the basic elements of discipline is good, but if it is more, everything will only get worse. Thus, each manager and each employee must find a middle ground. Eventually, if you overdo with discipline, you will find yourself on a barren, dead-end road to workaholism, perfectionism and punishment. It is easy to get confused and end up in a deadlock.

The work of the organized and energetic employee will likely be very productive, while the workaholic will spend time on evaluating the work of others. An internal standard that leads you to honing your skills, create an atmosphere of excellence. While the look of perfectionist, carefully studying every detail and disturbing you on every small occasion, leads to paralysis.

Clear objectives and regular assessment of the actions develop self-discipline. Person understands what must be done and how well he copes with it. But excessive assessment may turn into criticism and punishment, that generate anxiety and irritation.

How can a manager stick balance between diligence, commitment to excellence and moderate control – essential elements of a successful working space – and workaholism, perfectionism and punishment, inhibiting workflows?

Mainly due to the ability to set clear goals and  slacken thereins. This is a balance that encourages self-discipline of an employee and at the same time the head is more likely to achieve objectives. That’s what real discipline in the workspace mean.

One of the most obvious (though not always easy) aim of the employer is clear objectives. People should know what they need to do and why do they need to do it. The task will be successful if it is achievable and corresponds to the general understanding of success. In the disciplined workspace each employee feels responsibility for the overall success of the business. Eventually, when you refer to a waiter at a good restaurant, he would never say “Sorry, I do not serve this table”.

Employees need to be regularly reminded of the posed problems in a relaxed form: “Hey, how are we doing with cold calls?”. And it is also useful to make an official audit of their productivity. This will allow to celebrate the achievment of goal with applause, gratitude, prizes, gifts and money.

But  clear goals will not help nto improve the self-discipline of the employees, untill company’s goals become personal goals of the employees. That’s the right moment to slacken thereins. What does it mean: the head tells the employee what to do but does not specify how to achieve the goal. The employee has a chance to interact with the head during the implementation of the task, return to the discussion of the goals, if the experience shows that it is possible to achieve higher performance.

This interaction promotes the formation of a disciplined work environment and self-discipline of the employees. Dictated goals in exchange for a salary is one scope of work. The goals achieved through negotiation, when an employee has the right to discuss what he or she is trying to achieve, and how it can be done – it’s a different scope of disciplined labor.

But it is also true that not every employee is capable of self-discipline. In modern conditions of personnel management it is necessary to slightly push the employee in this direction. Because in the end discipline is an inner transformation, the result of someone deliberately aimed at promoting, supporting and prospects.

All we balance between freedom and control. Reaching the balance, we learn discipline.

P.S. How to avoid excessive control and workaholism

It’s quite difficult to maneuver between workaholism and hard work, on the one hand, and strong goals and strict control, on the other hand. And it is not always easy to determine at what stage you are right now. Here are some signs that you approach the inner balance, underlying discipline:

  • There is a deadline for a big task. You automatically schedule the mini-deadlines. Nobody tells you how to structure your time.
  • You spend as much time to work as it is necessary for its completion.
  • You can close your office door and concentrate on work. However, from time to time you can also walk through the corridors and pay attention to people.
  • You have a general plan, but you can modify it.
  • The subordinates can always turn to you with their suggestions.
  • You can do the job that is not included into your main job responsibilities.
  • You are operative in most cases.

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