Discipline is an often overlooked attribute of successful business leaders, but according to Herb Kimble, it’s one of critical importance. From effective marketing campaigns, to internal communication to finance, every aspect of a successful business depends on structure and discipline from leadership at the top. It’s true. The best leaders in business exercise discipline on a daily basis, both individually and within their organization. Though thoughts of free-spirited, creative CEOs of Silicon Valley start-ups persuade us to believe that a company can run on genius alone, the reality is that each of these lauded leaders—the Steve Jobs, the Mark Zuckerburgs, the Biz Stones—are disciplined. If they weren’t, their businesses would flounder.
They Set Specific Goals and Meet Them.
While this may sound like Management 101, the key, however, lies not in just being disciplined enough to set specific goals, but in having the initiative to create and follow a detailed strategy to meet them. The disciplined leader is constantly working with his or her goals in mind and frequently evaluates the effectiveness of strategies in place. Disciplined leaders work to ensure this level of focus and forward-thinking is translated throughout their companies.
They Enforce Company Policy.
As Herb Kimble can attest, the disciplined leader understands the effectiveness of creating structure within a corporation and ensuring that policies are adhered to. Consistently enforcing rules should be less about exercising authority and more about creating a fair and functioning work environment. And while it’s easy to turn a blind eye to small violations in policy, know that inconsistency can be viewed by others as favoritism or lead to even more violations. Herb’s advice: set an example by always following your own rules.
They Expect Continued Self-Improvement.
Great leaders never assume they’ve reached the pinnacle of their career or abilities. In fact, the business leader that believes there’s no room for growth will end up leading a company that performs the same way. Disciplined leaders typically expect more from themselves than anyone else and continually seek ways to strengthen or diversify their skill set. Recognizing the need for improvement and being motivated to make it happen positively affects a leader’s interpersonal relationships and the overall direction of his or her company.
They Demonstrate an Unrivaled Work Ethic.
While no CEO can definitively say they’re the hardest working individual at their company (and would be wise not to at the risk of offending equally dedicated employees), every disciplined business leader works just as hard or harder than the team they lead. The disciplined business leader understands the value of keeping a strict schedule and invests the extra time and effort into the job when needed. In the world of the disciplined business leader, there are no extended lunches, long weekends or personal phone calls on company time.
They Don’t Get Stressed.
Disciplined business leaders have the self-control to remain calm and clear-headed in the face of challenges. They keep their emotions in check, never sweat the small stuff and understand that acceptance and optimism always trump blame and frustration. Leaders with an “inner calm” also set an example for their team to react to challenging situations in the same fashion.
A CEO himself, Herb Kimble understands the power and effectiveness of leading with discipline. Stay connected with the Herb Kimble blog for more of Herb’s insight on leadership and business.