Self-discipline and Leadership

Leadership and self-discipline go hand in hand. It is not possible to imagine an effective leader who lacks self-discipline, willpower, self-control, and self-mastery. The main characteristic of a leader is that he is in complete control of himself and of every situation.

There has seldom been a time in history when leaders were so needed and so much in demand as today. We need leaders at every level of society, both in the profit and nonprofit sectors. We need leaders in our families, businesses, places of worship, community organizations, and, especially, politics. We need men and Self-discipline and Leadership women who take their responsibilities seriously and are willing to step forward to take command of the situation.

Fortunately, leadership is learnable. Leaders are developed—usually self-developed—over time through hard work, experience, and training. As Peter Drucker once said, "There may be natural-born leaders, but there are so few of them, that they make no difference in the great scheme of things."

The first quality of leadership is the quality of vi­sion. Leaders have vision. They have the ability to project forward into the future and develop a clear picture of where they want their organizations to Self-discipline and Leadership go. They then have the ability to share this vision with others and gain others' commitment to make this vision a reality.

You become a leader when you accept responsibility for results. You become a leader when you begin to think, act, and talk like a leader. You become a leader when you develop a vision for yourself and for your company, your life, or your area of responsibility, e.g. a military leader has a vision of vic­tory, from which he never deviates; a business leader has a vision of success for the business based on excellent Self-discipline and Leadership performance, to which he or she is completely committed.

The leader sets the standard for the organization. It is not
possible for anyone in the organization to have a clearer
vision or to aspire to a higher standard of excellence than
the leader. For this reason, the leader is the role model,
the one who sets the tone and the morale for everyone
in the organization. You cannot raise morale in a business; it filters down from the top, from the leader. The behavior of the leader influences and affects the behavior of everyone else. Imaginethat everyone is watching you and patterning Self-discipline and Leadership everything they do and say based on your behavior. If the leader is positive, confident, and upbeat, everyone in the organization will be influenced by this behavior and will be more positive, confident, and upbeat as well.

When you become a leader, you must discipline yourself to be "leaderlike." You must walk, talk, and act the part of a leader. You become a different person with different responsibilities.

When you become a leader you no longer have the luxury to "let it all hang out." From the time you are pro­moted into leadership, you have a special Self-discipline and Leadership responsibility to discipline and control your words and behaviors in such a way so that you bring about the best possible results for your organization and for other people.

The leader sets the standards for the organization's be­havior, quality of work, personal organization, time man­agement, and appearance. In excellent organizations, the leader is the person who everyone looks up to and wants to emulate. In most cases, the leader works harder than others in the company. The leader appears to be more committed, determined, courageous, visionary, and persistent than anyone else.

The leader also sets the Self-discipline and Leadership standard for how people are treated in the organization. When the leader treats people with courtesy, consideration, and concern, it quickly be­comes known that these are the standards to which others must adhere.

In addition to a clear vision for the organization, the leader must have a set of values and organizing principles that guide behavior and decision making. Everyone must know what the leader and the company stand for and be­lieve in. The job of the leader, then, is to articulate this vision of excellent performance within the constraints of high ethical standards at all times Self-discipline and Leadership. He or she must live the values and behaviors he or she teaches.

The very best standard for a leader is the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

1. Why are leaders of such great value at present? Give examples.

2. What kind of vision should leaders have?

3. Do you support the author’s idea that leadership is learnable? Comment on Peter Drucker’s statement.

4. How are leadership and self-discipline interrelated?

5. What does “being leaderlike” mean?

6. Do you share the opinion that “morale filters down from the leader”? Why, why not?

7. Discuss Self-discipline and Leadership the standards the leader sets for the organization.

8. Agree or disagree with the following statement: “The leader must live the values and behaviours he or she teaches”. Does it concern their private life as well? Should he or she set the example for their family?

9. Comment on the Golden Rule. Why is it called “the very best standard for a leader”? Can it be applied only to leaders?

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Read the text below and be ready to discuss each of the principles. Do you find them equally important? Can you think of some others? Would you use them, as a Self-discipline and Leadership leader?

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