I've meditated quite a bit on this question: What is a leader's most important trait? Is it charisma? Is it intelligence? Is it wisdom? Is it people skills?
Well, while I believe there are many traits and qualities a great leader must possess, there's one that stands out among all others. In fact, the longer I think about it, the sooner I realize that most every trait builds on this one.
A leader's most important trait is discipline.
Discipline allows me to:
• Block out distractions
• Manage emotions and impulses
• Overcome bad habits and addictions
• Manage myself and others
• Lead by example
Whether it's leading, praying, fitness, reading, writing, studying, preparing, speaking, scheduling, calendaring or managing relationships or priorities, discipline is needed!
"OK, Shawn, I'm convinced. I need more discipline in my life. How can I become more disciplined?"
How do we get it?
1. Start with one area of discipline.
Don't try to get better at everything overnight. Start with becoming more disciplined in your fitness, or your reading, or your studying or your __________. Just become more disciplined in one area! Here's why that's important:
One area of discipline tends to flow over into another area.
2. Plan your calendar.
Spend some time each week and a few moments each day planning and reviewing your calendar. Block out chunks of time to allocate to your priorities and don't allow anything to get in the way.
If we don't plan our day, our day will plan us.
Be unavailable and inaccessible sometimes. We can't be available to everyone all the time. We can be available to everyone, just not all the time.
3. Say no to the good and yes to the best.
Learn to say no. Go to the mirror right now. Look in that mirror and say "No, I'm not going to be able to do that." There. You needed to stretch that muscle. Keep stretching it!
Don't just focus on trying not to do something. Focus on saying yes to something better!
4. Ask God for it.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Ask God to fill you anew with His Holy Spirit and help you lead yourself. Start praying for self-control. Ask God to help you order your days in a way that honors Him.
When it becomes a spiritual enterprise for us, it becomes more urgent to us.
Is this a trait you possess? If it's not yet a strength for you, what's one step you can take this week to get better at discipline?
Shawn Lovejoy is the Founder & CEO of CourageToLead.com a coaching ministry for leaders. He loves coaching leaders through what keeps them awake at night. CourageToLead employs multiple coaches all over the U.S to work one-on-one with leaders and ministries. Shawn's book: Be Mean About The Vision: Preserving and Protecting What Matters, released in April 2016. Shawn lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife, Tricia, and their three kids Hannah, Madison and Paul.
This article originally appeared at ronedmondson.com.
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