When Will meets Discipline…

One of the great pleasures of writing and distributing these Energy Tips are the responses I receive. Although all responses are welcomed and informative, every-now-and-then I get one that rocks my boat. This weeks “boat-rocker” has relevance for all of us.

When Will meets Discipline…

My good friend and colleague Tom Edwards is not much on emails. Tom, like many of us, believes emailing someone is impersonal and often clouds the important aspects of effective communication. Last week when he was “chiding” me for emailing him rather than calling, he made a truly insightful statement about energy…

“Energy is when ‘will’ meets discipline and gratitude replaces selfishness.”

Energy Performance Tip:

Tom’s statement helped me understand some of the things I’ve been thinking about lately, especially the concept of discipline and its relationship to energy. There has been more than one manager who has emailed me about the difficulty they experience disciplining people. The concept of discipline is a misunderstood term in business today. Most believe discipline is a lot like judgment, that it ultimately creates conflict. Some of the misunderstanding comes from our early learning; that it’s something bad and to be avoided. Discipline however is a good thing!

The word discipline comes from Latin meaning “To learn.” The Greeks used the word to express “Saving the mind.” In both definitions discipline means helping a person increase his or her understand. It does not mean to judge or to criticize! We discipline, not because a person made an error, but so they don’t make the same error again. It’s corrective action! From that perspective an employee is being energized, not criticized. When the will of the manager is to help employees make improvement he or she is producing a greater degree of ENERGY for the employee, the company and the one doing the discipline.

“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them” - Bernard M. Baruch

“All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them, but confront them.” - William F. Halsey

Energy Development Tip

There are four steps to use energy more effectively when disciplining someone.

1) Introduction – the first step of discipline is to make sure you communicate what you want achieved on the job – both in performance and behavior. If employees don’t know what is expected how will they know how to perform?
2) Involvement – when someone does not perform to the standard of the team the next step is for the manager to get involved. This step requires a casual conversation with the employee concerning those standards. It’s designed to find if he or she understands what’s expected and to course-correct if necessary.
3) Interaction – the third step is a little more involvement and requires a one-on-one meeting to explain what is acceptable action or behavior.
4) Intensification – The last step is much more severe and requires taking a stronger and more formal approach. In intensification the manager is looking for immediate correction of action or behavior and, some cases, it may mean termination.

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome trying to succeed.” - Booker T. Washington

Expert Reactions:

"Dr. Bob, my experiences suggest a strong need for the services you offer. Your 4 energy steps are so relevant and in line with my approach to workplace violence prevention. From my vantage point, understanding and practicing your 4 steps can have measurable positive value in supervisor – employee relationships, performance, morale and worker safety and security. Today, workplaces make a serious mistake by promoting personnel with technical competency to the position of supervisor without training or validation of leadership potential. Most of the issues I assess and evaluate for Clients emanate from poor communication, distrust, lack of confidence in supervisory capability, assumptions, judgmental attitudes, rush to discipline including termination that is often adjudicated heartlessly. I see the unintended consequence of your program as having a positive impact on reducing the typical behavior that leads to more aggressive incidents of workplace violence. It can help reduce conflict, help supervisors appreciate the value of compassion and empathy and bridge the gap of misunderstanding that often leads to confrontations and ultimate violence. I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head, Dr. Bob!" - Feliz Nater, CSC, President, Nater Associates, Ltd

Contact Dr. Bob for a free 15-minute consultation: drbob@energydrivenleader.com

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Dr. Bob Rausch

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