Posted by & filed under Accountability, Behavioral Assessment, Leadership.

Unless you change how you are, you’ll always have what you’ve got.

Whatever your personal or career goals are, self-discipline is the single most important tool to help you accomplish them. Put these daily practices into action to accomplish your own goals and become a more effective leader in the meantime!

Revisit your goals each day. Visualize yourself accomplishing your goals. The power of a clear vision will help jettison you toward your career goal.  Take that vision seriously by doing something to help that dream become a reality.

Enlist a network. Start to use networks of friends and colleagues in your goals. Their support, encouragement and insight will aid your persistence.  It might even help you find a connection that you need!

Recover quickly. Barbara Corcoran, famed New York city real estate broker and host of television’s “Shark Tank” claims that the number one predictor of success is the ability to recover quickly, and she’s right. Force yourself to recover from failure. It is unlikely that you will reach your goal without any failed attempts or risks, so jump in and be ready to bounce back.

How do you transfer your acumen for self-discipline into a work environment that promotes self-discipline on its own? You are probably like most managers, in that taking disciplinary action is one of the least favorite parts of your job. That is why promoting an environment of self- discipline is so valuable.

Here is how to foster self-discipline in your team:

1. Provide a thorough training program. By providing and fostering a comprehensive training program you are setting the tone for continuous improvement. If chosen strategically, you will get the return on your training investment and much more—a demonstration of your priorities as a manager and organization.

2. Clarify expectations. This seems obvious, but clarifying expectations in this case expands on the expectations you have for job performance and task completion. It also means that you should clarify your expectations of continuous improvement, employee initiatives, and problem solving.

3. Fan the flame of positive behavior. Catch people handling situations positively and taking action on their own. Reward them in whatever way you can, even if all you can do is give praise.

4. React positively to new ideas. Is your workplace open to new ideas?  Give any new idea some air time, whether it is implemented or not. This encourages people to take ownership over their work domain and pursue their own goals, without you driving their motivation.

5. Keep a beat on your staff members. Do this by meeting with them regularly. These weekly meetings are typical, but often get pushed aside during busy periods.This sends the message that the meeting is unimportant. Emphasize how much you care about meeting with your staff members by setting their weekly update meeting in stone.

Finally, recent research has given us a new tool in the self-discipline battle. We now know that each of us has a limited reservoir of self-discipline when we start out the day. So the colleague or friend you know who always seems to get things done, even though she has just as much (or more) on her plate than you do, has learned to more efficiently utilize her daily budget of self discipline or self-control.

Think of your brain as a car that can get 35 miles per gallon, versus a monster truck that only gets 15 (or even 10) miles per gallon. In the words of Harvard Business review author, Tony Schwartz, “The answer, surprisingly, is not that they have more will or discipline than you do. The counterintuitive secret to getting things done is to make them more automatic, so they require less energy.”

Now consider all of your daily tasks, whether they are large or small. Start to set up systems that help you take care of the tasks you don’t want to spend your daily allotment of self-discipline on, so you can save it for the most important challenges and projects that you are faced with.

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