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Why Discipline Outshines Motivation For Effective Leadership
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Why Discipline Outshines Motivation For Effective Leadership

Jan 2, 2024

As the new year unfolds, leaders often turn to resolutions as a means of personal and professional growth.

The common belief is that motivation is the key driver behind achieving these goals. However, in my experience and observation, relying solely on motivation is akin to building a house on shifting sand. Instead, the real cornerstone of success, especially in leadership, is discipline and the establishment of effective routines.

Transformation isn’t a product of sporadic bursts of motivation but the result of meticulous discipline and structured routines. For instance, preparing your running gear the night before eliminates morning indecisions, making it easier to maintain this routine. And engage people in your visions. This principle of simplifying your environment to support your goals can be applied universally, whether it’s in personal development or professional leadership. Success is less about waiting for the right moment of motivation and more about creating an environment that nurtures steady discipline. It’s about recognizing patterns in your behaviour and structuring your life in a way that naturally guides you towards your goals.

Jerry Seinfeld, famous for his eponymous sitcom, is known not just for his humour but also for his remarkable work ethic. His productivity secret, often referred to as “Don’t Break the Chain,” is a testament to the power of discipline and routine.

Seinfeld used a simple but effective method to hone his craft: he committed to writing jokes every single day. He would mark a big red X on his calendar for each day he wrote, creating a chain of Xs. The goal was simple — never break the chain. Seinfeld didn’t rely on random bursts of inspiration; instead, he cultivated a disciplined daily routine. This approach underscored the principle that consistent, small efforts lead to significant achievements over time. Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, famously said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” This quote encapsulates the essence of prioritizing discipline and routine. It suggests that our repeated actions and habits define our success and excellence, not just isolated moments of motivation or inspiration.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

These are some of the reasons why emotional intelligence is important in leadership:

  • Effective communication: Emotional intelligence helps us communicate with Empathy. If we can understand where someone is coming from, we can tailor our message and communication style to be most effective to the situation.
  • Increased motivation: Emotional intelligence helps us understand what makes each team member tick. Understanding someone’s passions and goals can help us motivate and incentivize them to do their best work, which often translates to greater productivity.
  • Better decision-making: Effective decision-making isn’t just about logic; emotions play a significant role in it too. Emotional intelligence helps us make decisions that not only make sense on paper but also feel right for everyone involved.
  • Greater employee retention: Emotional intelligence helps us connect with employees and bond with them. Employees are more likely to stick around if they feel seen, valued, and supported.
  • Successful conflict management: Conflicts are inevitable in any team or organization. Emotional intelligence helps us successfully mediate and resolve conflicts. Leaders essentially need to be the glue that holds the team together, keeping things running smoothly.
  • Improved cultural sensitivity: In an increasingly diverse and globalized workplace, having emotional intelligence helps us navigate workplaces with cultural sensitivity. It helps us appreciate and respect different perspectives, fostering an inclusive environment for all.

Emotional intelligence is an important quality in leaders because we are all human and emotions are a large part of being human. Leading without tolerance for human emotion makes for horrible leadership.

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