Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leaders Need Discipline

By Richard Brody

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In well over thirty years of qualifying, developing, working with, and advising volunteer leaders, I have come to the conclusion that amongst the most essential leadership traits necessary to be effective, is discipline. In terms of this discussion of leadership, the relevant definitions given by include: "1) Training to act in accordance with rules; 2) Behavior in accordance with rules of conduct; 3) A branch of learning." Leaders lacking discipline (especially self discipline) are rarely successful over the long term. Jim Rohn wrote, "Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment."

1. We often hear and read that effective leaders need meaningful goals. While this is true and valid, the mere possession of goals without the commitment or discipline to make those goals reality, makes far too many of these individual's goals little more than empty rhetoric. To effectively make one's goals become reality, an effective leader needs the self discipline to commit to giving as much time and effort as necessary to achieve his objectives. I have observed far too many individuals begin their tenure actively and enthusiastically, simply to lose their energy and drive, suffering from burnout. To avoid this tendency it is essential that a leader develop a positive attitude and self confidence.

2. Effective leaders develop and use agendas for the meetings they conduct. Meetings conducted without well- planned agendas often deteriorate and accomplish little. Disciplined leaders transmit these agendas in advance of a meeting, and use Parliamentary Procedure to assure the meetings stay on track.

3. Much of the duties of a leader are somewhat mundane, but necessary. The effective leader always maintains the discipline to maintain the necessary parts of his routine, and assures that nothing falls through the holes, due to his inattentiveness and lack of discipline.

4. Some of what a leader does requires paying special attention to specific details, in order to assure that there is a successful result. This is often especially true when it comes to anything that requires expert negotiations, because the eventual success of a negotiation is often dependent on a leader's follow up.

5. Many leaders receive lots of correspondence. These individuals must have the discipline to respond on a timely basis.

6. One of the most effective means of communication for leaders in this digital, financially challenged organizational environment, is to commit to writing a Blog on a regular and recurring basis. It is not enough to simply write it occasionally, and it is also not sufficient to write it, and not to inform others that it is available for reading and review. Leaders must commit to having the discipline to make this Blog effective and informative.

There are so many areas that discipline is called for when it comes to leadership. Those individuals who have the self discipline are invariably the most effective.