Aside from a handful of bitter souls, no one likes having to discipline employees. As you can imagine, employees hate disciplinary action even more than the managers who have to dish it out! Disciplinary action is a necessary evil sometimes, but by promoting more self-discipline in your workforce, you can prevent the need for such unpleasantness in the future. Here’s how…
Fan the Flame
Unless you’re at the head of the laziest workforce in the world, there are going to be some instances of individual initiative and self-discipline within your business already. When you pick up on these, fan the flame! Praise the person who’s shown great self-discipline, offer your support, and if they came up with a new idea or method of tackling a certain task, make sure it’s implemented. Without being patronising, let the employee know that their contribution is greatly appreciated, and that you hope similar contributions come up in the future. Whoever the individual is, reward them in ways that you know they’ll appreciate. Consider a pay rise, time off, a particular kind of help from the supervisor, or a personal development opportunity.
Give Great Training
Although we’re talking about fostering self-discipline here, you still carry some of the responsibility when it comes to your employees’ performance at work. Make sure you’re providing your whole workforce with excellent training and development opportunities, particularly if they’ve only just started. You may even want to consider some team-building exercises specifically focussed on developing regimented self-discipline. When air force methods meet the corporate world, the results can be surprisingly effective!
Set Clear Expectations
In order to really push themselves and achieve great things, your staff need to know exactly what you expect from them. If you want to see an improvement in self-assessment, initiative, and examples of problem-solving, then let everyone know. You should also present employees with job descriptions that are informative and clear, but not necessarily all-encompassing. This will foster some degree of flexibility in the way they work, and encourage your staff to really get their brains working, and find new, more efficient solutions to old problems.
Encourage Open Communication
Another good way of encouraging greater self-discipline at your business is creating more open channels of communication between you and the people you manage. Be more open about all the information relating to your business, from your customers to your profit margins to your company mission and values. Broadcast relevant industry news, and outline how you expect it to impact your business. If there’s ever any kind of shift in the business’s goals, whether they’re changed fundamentally or you just want to pull the stops out and hit a milestone sooner, make sure everyone’s aware of it. The more your employees know about where the business is and where it’s headed, the more likely they’ll be to help it along on their own initiative.
Self-discipline may seem like it’s too intangible and rare to actively improve, but taking a head-on approach to it with tips like these can really make a difference.
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