Discipline (verb) VS Discipline (noun)

If you are a manager it is inevitable that you have had to Discipline (v) a staff etc. Most managers do not like this act of having to discipline an employee, the reason for this being they would not want to be disciplined themselves. Yet we simply consider this as part of being a modern manager, just part of the job I hate. When you transform your thinking to being a coach, you would use the “discipline” meeting as an opportunity to learn a little bit more about why the need to discipline exists. What I mean by this is in a coaching culture discipline is a red flag that one of your employees is in need of help. So instead of simply “writing them up” it might be best to work with your employees to see how they could be better supported, how could the work be made simpler so the opportunity for the type of error requiring the discipline simply does not exist. 

As a leader working with my coach Karyn Ross on my own sense of discipline (N) I started pondering on how much I dislike the word, I am guessing because in school for me the word discipline (v) often came with detention, which in boarding school meant I had to wear my uniform all weekend and wake up especially early and go to a classroom and do pretty much nothing. I am personally excited about learning how to be more disciplined in my life but the word does have a negative connotation to it for me. 

One of the positive aspects of “discipline” in the school system was just discovered by me, in a discussion with a school principal who I am coaching in developing a school improvement plan etc. One of the improvement areas is “discipline” and how we were initially looking at that area was how to better standardize our discipline policies, how to better engage parents and students in helping with this standardization. As we continued our discussion we asked ourselves, why do we think discipline is so important in the school system and we realized it was not so everyone knew what kind of punishment to escalate the student to but really what kind of intervention to put in place for the student. In the school system when we have a kid in need of frequent discipline, it is usually a cry for help, so the school needs to identify how they will come through for the child and provide the appropriate “help” or “intervention”; Maybe we should try applying this thinking in the workplace as well. 

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