The Servant Leader Discipline Myth

The Servant Leader Discipline Myth

Many people believe that being a servant leader is too touchy feely for them and that servant leaders do not have a backbone and let people run all over them.

The people who believe this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The reality is that servant leaders do believe that people need to receive consequences; the difference is the reason behind the servant leader’s actions.

What is Real Discipline?

To understand this better first we must realize that discipline is not a bad thing. In fact the root word of the word discipline is “disciple” which means to teach.

This is in contrast to the word punishment with the root word “punitive” which means to punish.

Instead of being punitive the servant leader looks at discipline as an opportunity to teach.

Discipline and Children

If you have children think about why you discipline them. It is not to get back at them or to make them suffer.

You discipline them to teach them the right way to do things so that they will learn and grow and sometimes even remain safe. We also hope that they will take the lessons we have taught them with them even long after we are gone.

Discipline and Employees

The same thinking can be used with our employee. When they do something wrong we discipline them to teach them what is not acceptable.

If they continue to do things that are not acceptable we will continue to try to teach them the correct way and if they still are unable to adapt then we will end up terminating them. We cannot allow one person to bring the entire team down and providing “involuntary career redirection” may be the final lesson that a person needs to make a change or allow them to pursue another profession or organization that may be a better fit.

The Intent of your Discipline

So please do not think that to be a servant leader you cannot provide discipline. Just make sure that the intent of the discipline is to teach and correct, not strictly to punish.

Leaders discipline because they care, and their children, employees, or team members are better for it.

Question: As a leader how do you use discipline? Has this been positive or negative in shaping behavior?

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