Freedom For Ideas

Sharing ideas, concepts and thoughts, mainly about Information Technology – and consulting

An anarchist with an acquired taste for discipline

Posted by Yannick Martel on February 1, 2009

Discipline, discipline?
I hate to disclose it: at the core I am an anarchist, with an acquired taste for discipline and authority… At some point, I tended to avoid authority and discipline, not seeing its necessity. Indeed, I am mostly self-disciplined, and not wishing to get discipline from the outside, I was avoiding pressing it on others.

As personal as I feel about it, it is indeed a cultural trait of our time: paternal values of authority and discipline have been out of fashion for the last 40 years. The result is families where parents don’t so easily find their place. In the corporate world, managers want responsibilities, but don’t dare to use authority or to ask for discipline in their teams. This can result in indecision, hypocrisy, manipulation, or at the reverse to tyranny.

With my children getting older, and myself trying to be a better father for them, I have felt the necessity for pressing for discipline. Self-discipline is essential, but not sufficient and not always present. In periods of change or growth, parents have to use authority to establish discipline, and create the conditions for development of self-discipline.

In the corporate world, managers have to orient, channel and create the conditions for the right level of discipline – hopefully coaching their teams to self-discipline. Discipline goes along with consistency of effort, and both are required for getting results. That’s work, a lot of work. Hopefully, managers are getting better when they practice it, if they accept the challenge at every instant to balance between anarchy and tyranny.

As for myself, I am reading the Leader’s Handbook and hope to get better at getting results with my team. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll read that this post is irrelevant as based on the “old” “train-wreck” style of management – I am ready to be surprised!

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One Response to “An anarchist with an acquired taste for discipline”

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