through Self-Discipline: 10 Tips for Success
A self-disciplined life makes the job of good workplace ethics more attainable.
Self-discipline has always been one of those elusive character traits that
your parents, coaches, or teachers have tried to instill in you for as long
as you can remember. Sometimes you had it and other times you didn't. To help
you build self-discipline in the workplace, consider the following ten tips:
1. Just do it. Consciously decide that you really want to be someone who
practices self-discipline in your attitude and ethics. Let your desire
to achieve self-discipline
motivate you to make good choices. Say to yourself, "I am going to play
by the rules." Make a personal commitment to develop and bullet-proof
your personal ethical code of conduct. You must really want it. As long as
you require outside intervention to stay ethical, you won't develop self-discipline.
2. Learn the rules. Clarify what you will and will not do. Educate yourself
so you won't make ignorant mistakes. Rules, policies, regulations, and standard
operating procedures can be overwhelming. But you must resolve that you will
never make an ethical decision without knowing what the rules are. Become
comfortable asking your supervisor, legal counsel, or ethics office for
help. They will
appreciate that you took the time to ask before jumping into an ethically
3. Be accountable. Accept responsibility for your behavior. Don't blame others
for your unfortunate actions and decisions. How many times have you seen
a cover-up only worsen an ethical crisis? The extent of your personal damage
control should be, "I'm sorry. I take full responsibility for my actions
and I will make it right." That is what most people want to hear. Taking
responsibility shows honesty of character, which is a rare and valuable commodity
in the workplace.
4. Practice. Self-discipline is something you can teach yourself. No matter
how carefully you plan to live an honest, disciplined life, you won't get
out of the starting gate without actually doing something. Self-discipline
a spectator sport. It requires numerous cycles of practice, failure, and
success. Look at the personal obstacles you have overcome in the past and
doing the right thing requires you to step-out and stand-up.
5. Eliminate harmful habits. If you tend to stretch the truth, cut it out!
If you use company equipment, supplies, or facilities for personal use, stop
it! If you interpret company policies to meet your needs, don't do it anymore.
The list of ethically bad workplace habits goes on and on. We all have some
angle, a scam, or semi-ethical behavior that pushes the envelope. Whatever
they may be, put an end to the harmful habits immediately.
6. Set and complete goals. There is nothing more satisfying and rewarding
than achieving a hard-earned goal. Ethical goals can be, "When I feel tempted
to stretch the truth, I will be factual." "When this person puts
me in an ethically uncomfortable position, I will stand-up for the truth." The
act itself of completing a goal empowers you and gives you courage to do
it again and again.
7. Do what you say you will do. Finish what you start. Stay on task. There
may be no greater measure of your character than the evidence that you are
(or are not) a man or woman of your word. Dependability is an invaluable
asset in the workplace. It shows ethical honesty.
8. Ignore peer pressure. It's easy to be ethical without the negative influence
of others. You can't escape ethical conflicts with your peers at work. Every
job (no matter how isolated) involves working with others. Even the most
homogeneous environment will have some level of moral and ethical diversity.
can be the most difficult challenge to your personal ethical values. You
must learn to stick to your principles and take the knocks that come with
9. Do activities that enhance your self-discipline like exercising, sports,
or practicing a musical instrument. The fact is, attaining self-discipline
in one area of life will translate to other areas of life as well. Achieving
self-discipline in one area reprograms your mind to know what it feels like
to say "No" to the easy way out.
10. Don't give up. Moral and ethical values are not skin deep. You simply
can't walk away from them when times get tough. Many things in life are
but your principles are not.
The personal rewards of building strong ethical character are well worth
the journey. The benefits go far beyond your business at work and will
to all areas of life.
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