People with Discipline in their top 5 Gallup StrengthsFinder results enjoy putting structures into their world. These can be structures of any kinds: timetables, routines, habits, fixed diets etc. Those with the Discipline theme find themselves putting structures around their lives instinctively, without anyone telling them to do so. They can create order in an otherwise chaotic environment. The genius of the Discipline talents is in this ordered and structured approach, which brings predictability to the individual's life as well as to the people around them.
People with Discipline like to focus on timelines and processes in their work. Creating a project plan with deadlines and following a work plan comes easily to someone with the Discipline theme. The feeling of having things under control and having predictability pleases the person with Discipline. People with Discipline generally dislike surprises and do not take well to a sudden change of plans. They can also be very impatient with people who choose to steer off course, not following the plan that was set in place and making mistakes as a result. People sometimes misunderstand those with Discipline to be rigid and controlling. Often that is far from the truth. People with Discipline, especially those holding leadership positions, simply believe that there is greater security felt among people when there is order. They strive hard to create such a structure so that people can thrive in a safe environment. As a result, work becomes more productive.
The Discipline theme can sometimes look similar to the Arranger theme in their expressions: both are likely to have neat working environments and be quite organized in the way they manage their schedules and teams. However, the difference is in the number of variables they enjoy. Those with the Discipline talent theme prefer to simplify work processes and eliminate clutter, while those with the Arranger talent theme enjoy a multiplicity of variables because juggling these variables for productivity tends to invigorate them.
Interestingly, people with the Discipline theme are rare and few across the world compared to the other StrengthsFinder themes. In Strengths School, almost everyone in the team has the Discipline theme among our bottom few talent themes in our individual StrengthsFinder results. Only one member of our team, Meiling, has Discipline in her Top 10 StrengthsFinder results. She frequently uses this theme to help make processes and systems simpler and more efficient for the team. For example, whenever we conduct StrengthsFinder and StrengthsExplorer cohort workshops for students, we often have to sift through the results from hundreds of youth. This process used to require a lot of manual collation and data-checking, which took up many manpower hours and sometimes was prone to much human error. However, with her Discipline theme, Meiling simplified the entire process, eliminating many unnecessary variables and creating an automated system. As a result, the new system has greatly eased the load of whoever was sifting through the data.
How can a person with Discipline turn this talent into a Strength?
1. DEVELOP GREAT HABITS
Habits can be freeing and energizing to people with Discipline because they create a sense of certainty and are routine in nature. The certainty helps to bring peace into the inner life of those with Discipline, which ultimately builds performance. Building great habits is a great way for people with Discipline grow into maturity.
What are great habits? Great habits are those actions that are routinely structured to ensure the things that are really important to us actually get done. These habits can include scheduling 1-on-1 time with our loved ones or simply saying kind words to someone around us at least once a day. Great habits are also those habits that are created to clear the clutter in our lives or to break the relentless busyness. These can include scheduling time for regular exercise or taking an annual spiritual retreat. Great habits go a long way in breaking the layers of superficiality often experienced in our lives, ensuring important aspects of life are not neglected.
Some great habits also include personal rituals performed before high-pressure tasks. These can include taking in three big breaths, uttering a prayer, or listening to a particular song. These personal rituals are found to reduce anxiety and increase people’s confidence before a high-pressure task. Research in sports psychology has shown the benefits of pre-performance routines or habits, from improving attention spans and execution to increasing emotional stability and confidence.
2. SET UP A MONITORING SYSTEM
Monitoring is essentially about doing a stocktake. For people with Discipline, the idea of structured and regular monitoring is essentially about checking in and making necessary adjustments to do a better job. This monitoring can be in the form of regular reminders, revisiting goals at certain intervals, or journaling weekly to think back on what went right and wrong in the week.
Another aspect of monitoring can be in the form of having accountability partners. Meeting up 1-on-1 or having regular chats with accountability partners allow people with Discipline to stay on track and to receive timely advice. This is especially useful for people in key leadership positions. When there are others to stay accountable to, monitoring takes place. This creates a greater sense of certainty because checks and balances can be put in place. This certainty is what helps people with Discipline to thrive.
3. SEEK COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERSHIPs
Partner those with Ideation
People with Ideation enjoy thinking out of the box. Discovering a fresh new idea, connecting different ideas together, or changing up the accepted way of doing things can be very exciting for those with Ideation. In contrast, people with Discipline prefer following a structure and getting things done. New ideas and changes make workflows more unpredictable and may create disruptions. This partnership often encourages those with Discipline to stretch themselves and go out of the comfort zone to try out new areas. Such a partnership built with respect for each other's strengths is helpful for new perspectives and for personal developmental growth.
Partner those with Adaptability
People with Adaptability enjoy dynamic environments and react very well to changes. They are often wired in such a way that they do not enjoy work that is routine in nature. In contrast, people with Discipline prefer very much to work in a predictable environment, and they enjoy routine immensely. This partnership often encourages those with Discipline to be better managers of change. People with Adaptability provide great perspective in dealing with dynamic environments (and bosses).
Partner those with Self-Assurance
People with Self-Assurance often deeply trust their instincts and are able to confidently take risks and meet new challenges. They can forge ahead confidently even on risky paths where there are many unknown factors. In contrast, people with Discipline prefer to deal with factors that are out in the open, where there can be greater predictability towards outcomes. People with Discipline prefer to focus on the controllable factors and seek to create order quickly. Such a partnership is great for work that involves pioneering into new grounds where the challenge is often to quickly map out a work process or structure to create stability.
Concluding thoughts: Given that people with Discipline tend to be rare in most communities, they are often misunderstood to be rigid. Some are even labeled as "Robotic." One thing is for sure - leveraging on their unique perspectives can help create an environment where people can feel safe and empowered to thrive. This is one huge reason why such talent must be valued!
Written by Victor Seet
Activator • Communication • Strategic • Self-Assurance • Command
As a Gallup certified Strengthsfinder coach, Victor is passionate about strengths engagement and now runs his own training company, Strengths School™ (strengthsschool.com). He has been actively giving Strengthsfinder leadership and team building workshops to businesses and schools in Singapore as well as Hong Kong, China (Shanghai) and India.
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