It’s wrong of us to badmouth a leader. We should also understand that they always find out. The complaints are sometimes entertained by people who feel personally challenged and are wondering if the challenge is reasonable. Those that are not looking for a challenge will often throw in with the complainers. Misery loves company. When we try to win people to our side, we should never assume that everyone shares that sentiment. Those that don’t will eventually express concern to the leader. This isn’t breaking a confidence so much as it’s looking out for the team dynamic. Great teammates that have a problem with the leadership’s decision talk to the leader first.
What level of discipline should I demand? As the leader of a team, the answer is pretty simple. A leader should never demand more discipline than they are personally able to maintain. This truth works itself out pretty well in application. Leaders that demand more than they model don’t gain any respect and therefore create an ineffective culture. Those that demand less than they personally maintain don’t respect their team enough to challenge them. The team can sniff this out pretty quick and therefore the culture is also ineffective. Leaders that model solid discipline never worry about a line because they live under the same conditions that they demand. They know how much is too much and how much is not enough. Nothing inspires more than a leader that publicly challenges himself with high standards and clearly expects the same from the rest of the team.
John Maxwell said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I agree with this statement. This is especially true in the area of discipline. The discipline of a leader determines the success of a team. If a leader justifies a lack of discipline through sentiment or a lack of personal discipline, then the team will not have the discipline to succeed. Leaders that are not satisfied with the discipline of their team have to take a close look at what they personally do and believe. It’s important to understand that the success of a team is directly tied to the self-discipline of the leader.
When I work at the last minute, I know that my best work will not be the result. This is because I have had to learn to be disciplined enough to plan ahead and to collaborate with others so that adjustments can be made before the deadline. That product is always better than what I have to settle for when time running out is the only source of initiative. People who only work last minute have no idea if they work best under pressure. How could they? They have always settled for what they could pull off without any margin for improvement.
We have all heard that person say, “I wait until the last minute because I work best under pressure.” Working well under pressure is a good skill to have, but it should not be an excuse to operate with such a lack of discipline that we fail to start a project until the decision to start has been made for us by an imminent deadline. Great teammates make better decisions than intentionally waiting until the last minute to be motivated.