The Science of Discipline in the Workplace

Most organizations and teams are not pure democracies, in the end there is someone who is in charge. More often than we like to think this person in charge is asked to discipline a peer in cases of insubordination. Though we don’t like to think about it, insubordination does happen.

Whether it’s simply the character of a selected team member’s temperament or somebody simply having an instant of rebellion however will a front runner influence insubordination adult to adult?

First and foremost having a standard in place with dealing with general and/or specific types of insubordination is key. In the corporate world this often comes in the form of an employee handbook—a document like this can be invaluable even for a very small business, that may be run more casually. It is far easier to have rules in place then to try to enforce something without precedent.

Some leaders, managers and bosses will accommodate successful team members who have rebellious personalities if they are getting the job done and fundamentally respect the leader, other team members and the organization.

However, leaders ought to recognize that some team members could also be aggravated or resentful by the accommodation vogue and leaders WHO use this vogue might loose their credibleness with different team members if they are too loosey-goosey.
At the opposite finish of the spectrum there’s a strict leadership vogue during which propriety is of the top importance to the leader—sometimes to the purpose wherever any questioning of the leader is considered insubordination.
Team members usually recognize precisely wherever the road is once this vogue is used, however leaders will loose out on honest, critical feedback and may foster an atmosphere of fear and low morale.
While both these extreme styles have potential benefits and drawbacks, staying consistent is important.Inconsistent treatment of insubordination can inevitably cause chaos, low morale and loss of respect. Playing favorites or permitting one thing on Tuesday, but then not on Thursday is a quick way to lay waste to any respect or credibility a leader as earned from her team.
Some believe the most effective thanks to handle insubordination, adult to adult, in a very leader-to-team-member relationship is thru immediate constructive criticism.

Address the behavior politely, but firmly. Be as objective as possible about the transgression. While for many this will feel like the most uncomfortable and difficult option in the short term, in the long term this style may reap the most healthy team environment.

The End of the “Nanny” Style Leader

The new workplace is more fluid and job titles are becoming less important. Many of today’s employees seek interesting projects with meaningful problems to solve. They want meaningful work and not just titles.

One major change in organizations is that in these new types of project-oriented spaces, teams do more and more without first seeking approval from those who are above them. People in non-management positions are acting and thinking more like traditional leaders.
And in many organizations, this is exactly the kind of team member that is wanted. Those who are problem solvers that can work with varied peer groups, keep themselves organized and on task and move forward on their own with confidence. Essentially being their own boss.

So, if organizations are looking for this kind of team member and the traditional “nanny” type manager is no longer needed, what is the role of the leader in this new world?
Simply put, you should be there to share your experience. You are the extra cog, the extra ball bearing. A floater. Someone with confidence and experience who can transition from one part of a project to another to help where help is needed. Leaders are now the support staff—not to say you should be making copies and bringing some one coffee (though maybe sometimes that is the most useful thing you could be doing for your team), but you are there as the multi-tool.

Imagine being this kind of leader who trusts his team members to do their jobs and doesn’t “helicopter-parent” yet drops in on a parachute with a light touch and a wisdom based suggestion just when the team needs it.

Embrace the Chaos of The Non-9-to-5

Being a small business owner almost guarantees one isn’t going to work a simple 9-5. Some may start their day only a few hours after night owls are going to bed, while others may have nothing but empty hours until lunch time and then it all comes rushing in at once. Others may experience a trickling in over 10-12 hour days.

Working with these irregular hours is key. Breaking up when one works will help maintain energy, focus, and problem solving—we have all experienced a scenario in which no matter how much energy we put into a project we loose sight of what is truly important, become exhausted and our thinking becomes muddled and useless.

When on concentrates on a non-work project for a while it allows our mighty subconscious to come to life and do some problem solving for us, while we get whatever else done. One will come back to the work project with fresh eyes, fresh ideas, and energy to implement them.

Embrace the irregularities involved in running our own business. Insisting on a the standard and rigid 9-5 only limits the possibilities and opportunities. Staying flexible means more opportunities and the time to take advantage of them, not less.

Of course, embracing the chaos requires one to keep an accurate schedule whether paper or digital. Write down important dates and times, make lists, set reminders. When working within the rigidity of the 9-5 it is often easy enough to know you’ve got eight hours to get it all done, not so for the small business owner.

Finally, while embracing the differences between the rigid 9-5, which for many is a challenge easily met, on must recognize their own limitations. Yes, do things non-traditionally. Yes, take advantage of more opportunities. Yes, be available for an overseas client at 4am and the local client at 4pm. But. On must recognize their own limitations are it is all for naught.

For many new independents it might be difficult to know, at first, what their limits are. Be prepared to recognize that moment in which although you’ve taken juggling lessons you begin to wish you had four arms.

Some Thoughts on Trust

When it comes to leadership, it is hard to think of something more important than trust. One could be talented, with an impressive CV. One could say the quote unquote “right things” but if one doesn’t have his colleagues trust, they have nothing.

Trust is difficult because it isn’t something one can do. It isn’t a bullet point on a resume. It’s pathos—an emotional connection with your peers. And it has two roots. It requires a strong belief on the part of you peers that you have their best interests in mind. Second, it requires a strong belief that you have the ability and knowledge to act on that vested interest.

So how does one plant the seed that will grow roots and flower with trust? Asking people for their advice and listening to them. People need to be heard. One needs to take an interest in what is important to their peers. This makes people feel they have validation. One must always be genuine. There is no middle ground when it comes to “playing politics.” One either has agendas or they don’t.

This influence is key for any leader, but it can also help anyone who would like to exert positive influence over the peers even if they are not a leader.

Good Leaders Ask for Help

In the American culture we have traditionally viewed great leaders as almost super-human in their strength. But of course, this strength is not often thought of as purely physical. Society has viewed great leaders as emotionally strong to the point of stoicism. Or we might think of it as mental of physical stamina.

Whatever the case may be, all leaders are human, and humans are vulnerable. Good leaders should view showing their vulnerability from time to time, by asking for help, an asset. A good leader should not think in terms of showing any vulnerability as a weakness.
There are two clear reasons why trying to be more than human isn’t a good plan. First, it is unsustainable. Life will eventually find a way to put a weakness, flaw or fault in our path and we will need help to overcome it.

Second, it isn’t good leadership. If we all can agree that leadership is about connection we can agree on this second point. We know that people will only work hard, create and risk for you if they feel connected. How can one create this level of trust by only putting our strengths on display? When the time comes for a leader to face one of their weakness they may come of as dishonest or at worst an outright fraud.

The best thing to remember is that our struggles define us in equal measure as our successes. Being able to be honest about needing help is an essential trait of a great leader.

Leadership is a Practice

It is reasonable to state that the contention about whether leaders are conceived or created has been settled. The fortune spent consistently by organizations on different types of education for leaders is proof enough for the possibility that, while certain leadership abilities might be hereditary, a lot of the stuff needed to be a leader can be learned.

The appropriate response, for most HR offices, has been courses, with a lot of classroom learning. The issue is that the classroom learning gives members information yet not the abilities required to do the things that will make them viable pioneers. Unified to this is an absence of acknowledgment of the significance of propensities to human conduct. It is on the grounds that we are animals of propensity that – notwithstanding when enlivened by courses when we are on them and first come back from them – we once in a while change how we approach our function in the more drawn out term, with the outcome that the association neglects to see the enhancement in business it was anticipating.

It is just by transforming book learning into abilities, that is, making them regular practices in our lives, that an individual can truly change and on account of a real or hopeful leader procure the stuff to be compelling. The essential thought is that giving only a couple of minutes daily to building up these key abilities can change how people carry on thus make them progressive and powerful.