4 Defining Steps to Better Leadership Discipline

By Lee Ellis

I really love summertime. But to be honest, it derails my sense of discipline. Perhaps it’s the additional summer activities or vacation time. This isn’t a guilt trip, but there are still worthwhile and sometimes difficult things that need to get done during the Summer, right? What can we do about it as leaders?

My Busy Summer

Recently, my wife Mary and I moved into a new home to get closer to some of our children and grandchildren, and this experience has challenged every ounce of discipline in my mind, body, and spirit. Moving takes an enormous amount of work to pack, unpack, and organize. In the process, normal productive habit patterns get busted, choices seem unending, and the complexity of technology changes, address changes, etc. is mindboggling.

I admit to having some characteristics of ADD, so staying disciplined is even more essential. This battle made me realize how much success hinges on being focused and disciplined in life and leadership.

The Value of Disciplined Training

Discipline is the backbone of military culture, and it was a critical part of my indoctrination and training into the service. Most veterans will tell you that the rigors of their disciplined, military experience were one of the greatest assets that they picked up as a member of the Armed Forces.

It created a natural resilience and strength that can only come from intentionally creating new habits with all military men and women. [Tweet This]

In my Vietnam POW experience, the value of discipline became a steady anchor to live as normal as possible under the challenging conditions of prison life. In this brief clip, I describe some of my disciplined acts in the camps –

4 Steps to Better Discipline

Discipline is found at the core of every success in life. It’s what helps us choose and follow the right path, keeping us on track to achieve our goals. [Tweet This]

Whether it’s a young Millennial or Gen Z or a seasoned Boomer, it’s courageously learning to do what we don’t want to do and doing what we know that we should do. Here are four helpful steps to better discipline –

  1. Recognize that choices become habits. Whether good or bad, the same choice done repeatedly becomes a habit. It’s just human nature. Be aware of your choices and how they affect your desires and goals.
  2. Protect your character. It will keep you on track and help you make more consistent, daily choices. Download the Honor Code if you need some guidance.
  3. Manage distractions. Whether it’s disabling notifications on your cell phone and computer to scheduling thinking and planning time on your calendar, these small changes can yield big results.
  4. Overcome Procrastination. From simple to serious, we all procrastinate about various things. Try doing a couple of things that you’ve been putting off (or dreading) and see the results.

My Challenge for You

Perhaps someday, I’ll do a blog about the crying need for discipline in the today’s culture—even good manners would help. But in the meantime, like most everything in leadership and personal development, the commitment to be disciplined has to start within—with me and you personally.

Have a fun Summer, but develop or retain those disciplined habits that keep you growing and advancing forward. Please also share your comments below—we’d love to hear your wisdom, too. LE

Watch the free Leading with Honor Coaching Video that accompanies this article. It’s only available via email. Sign up to receive instant access.


14 Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton

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