Discipline is required to be successful in anything in life whether it's Leading, losing weight or following rules and regulations to name a few. So how do we develop discipline?
It's a daily practice of consistency and absolutely refusing to look the other way for any reason or excuse that you may consider. Is it possible for one leader to enforce discipline and another's failure to without confusing your team? Yes, the leader that is consistent with expectations can make it work regardless of what others do. If you have read any of my articles then you know I am big on offering examples and this article will be the same.
People that work with you understand the expectations and habits of their leaders, they are quite intelligent and typically follow the lead. Example's being Joe the Leader is pretty laid back and turns his head the other direction when he see's breakdown's in discipline, he doesn't like confrontation and wants to be popular. If you look at the respect he is given I assure you it isn't very high and like wise his results reflect the same. Sam on the other hand is strict, consistent and fair. He will not hesitate to make a correction to anyone; everyone knows and understands his expectations. He isn't the most popular leader but he is without question the most respected as through his actions he demands respect. Sam doesn't pound his chest or brag about himself but you always know when he is on duty as he practices what he preaches.
People respect that he has been observed tactfully correcting people senior to him which takes courage and character. The key being he doesn't ask anyone to follow any rules that he doesn't follow himself. A few examples being if there is a dress code or specific rules he sets the example day in and day out consistently. When you follow Sam's day of work you always can expect everything to be done properly and walk into a great situation. When you follow Joe's day of work it's very obvious, you can depend on a load of work to get prepared for the day. Sam is actually developing future leaders for advanced responsibilities while Joe is promoting laziness and extremely poor discipline.
So what do you think, should you be firm, fair and consistent or prefer to be popular and have your team probably laughing behind your back and probably to your face if you look close enough.