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5 Disciplines to Increase Your Impact

March 28, 20236 min read

Do you want to improve your effectiveness as a leader? If so, take time for yourself.

This statement appears to be counter-productive. However, taking time for yourself allows you to show up as your best self.

Many leaders put their organizations, employees, or daily tasks so high on their priority list that nothing is left for themselves.

Doing so will work for a while, but eventually will wear you out.

If you want to be an effective leader, implement the following 5 disciplines in your life. Each discipline requires regular practice.  

Discipline #1 – Exercise regularly.

Most people exercise to lose weight. While that is noble, exercising regularly also helps increase your energy, clear your mind, and improve your health. Exercising will help you become a more effective leader.

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The key in exercising regularly is consistency. It’s not how much you lift, how long you run, or the number of reps you do. Effective exercise occurs when you choose a reasonable routine and consistently do it.

Over the last several months, I have adopted a new exercise routine. It is very basic and easy to do. I daily do a certain number of deep knee bends, sits up, push-ups, chin-ups, and pull-ups. I also spend a specific amount of time on a recumbent bike. The entire routine takes about 45 minutes. Most of my time is spent on the bike.

I cannot express strongly enough how much this time helps me each day. I am less stressed, more focused, and generally much healthier.

The key is to choose a routine you can do and consistently do it. If you make the routine too difficult, you will not do it. If you exercise inconsistently, you will soon stop. Remember, the key is consistency. It takes about 6 weeks to develop a new habit. Try it. You will be glad you did.    

Discipline #2 – Rest thoroughly.

Most leaders do not get enough rest. Through the years, studies have shown that the average person needs 8-9 hours of sleep each night. How many hours do you get?

Without proper rest, your mind doesn’t function clearly. You become foggy-headed and lack clarity to make good decisions. A leader has to make many decisions. You want to make sure you make good ones.

Getting an adequate amount of sleep does not occur accidentally. Most of us develop bad habits like staying up too late, drinking caffeinated drinks in the evening, or falling asleep on the couch before bedtime. These events greatly impact the quality of your sleep.

Sometimes we use excuses like “I am just a night-owl.” That may be true. You may prefer to stay up late and sleep in each morning. Your job may allow you to do so. If so, go for it. However, if your job requires you to rise early, you don’t have the luxury of staying up late. If you do, it will show up in the lack of quality of your work the next day.

How much sleep do you get each night? You can use a phone app or a Fitbit to perform a self-study of your sleep. It might surprise you how little sleep you actually get.

5 Disciplines to Increase Leadership Effectiveness

If you want to be a leader who is completely present at work, take the time to evaluate the quality of your sleep.  If you need to increase your sleep amount, there are plenty of suggestions online to help. The key is you must take action. Otherwise, your limited amount of sleep will decrease the quality of your leadership.

Discipline #3 – Read or listen consistently.

Reading or listening to materials increases your capacity as a leader. It is very easy to be so busy in your daily schedule that you rarely take time to learn from others. Great leaders are always growing. Poor leaders stop growing.

Take a moment to think about an area in which you need to grow. I suggest you think in terms of increased profitability. If you choose to increase your profitability, what one area would help you to do so?

Once you determine that area, research and discover experts in that field. Read or listen to materials from those experts. Discover one key concept that could make you more money.    

Next, implement what you learn in your company. In fact, make this your normal practice.  Look for areas in which you need to grow, research them, and learn so that you can become a stronger leader. Your employees and customers will appreciate it, and your bottom line will increase greatly.    

Discipline #4 – Think deeply.

Busyness keeps most leaders hopping. They run from one task to another. Sometimes they are so busy that they rarely stop and think.

Thinking about your organization strategically is key to making good decisions.  You may need to remind yourself of your mission, to reflect on key individuals in your organization, or to dream about potential growth.

I’ve heard of leaders “taking a daily walk.” They set aside a daily time to walk around the block or in a park to reflect on their company. Think of it like a “timeout” in a ballgame in which the coach takes a quick assessment of all the facets of the game and what it takes to win. Then, head back to the office to take action.

5 Disciplines to Increase Leadership Effectiveness

Thinking deeply is a lost art.  We somehow feel that busyness equals productiveness. Far more important than being busy is being busy about the right things. That will not happen without taking the time to stop and think.

Discipline #5 – Share frequently.

The greatest leaders are always sharing. Sharing not only helps others, but it also helps you. To share with others, you must have clarity. Sharing with others forces you to focus and develop the ability to be succinct.  

One of the joys of life is sharing with others. Use your experiences, skills, and insights to impact the lives of others. Doing so helps you develop as a leader.

To share meaningfully, you must have a good grasp of what you share. Otherwise, people will not understand and receive limited benefit. The best leaders grow in their teaching ability through learning to share information in a clear, concise, and impactful manner. You can become one of those leaders.  

Sharing with others is a delightful way to live life. Most people in life seek to get. Impactful leaders focus on giving. Your generosity in giving will make a huge difference in the lives of others.

Effective leadership doesn’t accidentally happen. It arises through making meaningful personal choices. Are you an effective, impactful leader? You can be! It all begins with growing personally in areas most people overlook. Choose to be an exceptional leader, not a mediocre leader!

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Dave Pennington PhD

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