Discipline. The Pathway to Freedom?

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that you had to call someone in your organization (life) to accountability, but hesitated to do so?


It is said that, “you can know (the character of) a person by the company they keep.” I believe that it is also true that you can tell the character of a company by the people it keeps. This is especially true of leadership, but also true of the people that leadership continues to enable, whether in full function or complacent dysfunction. Without change we may be in bondage to that dysfunction.

When we lead people, we are often challenged to correct errant behavior or low performance. We have to push past our instinct to react, or to avoid the pressure to make an example of someone and think through the messages we will be giving through the actions we take. In these situations, we need discernment to determine if the character and/or ability exists (the capacity) for real change.

This is a trust challenge.

If we can discern the character and capability of the person and trust their capacity for change, then we will have peace in deciding to believe in and support them. Likewise, the person being corrected must be able to trust that correction is for their benefit, as well as the benefit of the whole.

Ironically, when we are at a place of trust, we may even note a heightened sense of anticipation as we envision working together into the future.

It’s not easy to change the way an organization thinks – however it is not the organization that thinks, but rather the people within it. Sometimes to change the thinking you need to change the people. It is often that simple – though not easy to do.

We need to be careful that our preference for certain personalities does not result in a homogenization that limits creativity and expanded perspective. This requires objectivity and openness to style, without compromise to integrity.

In the end, we are tasked to choose our best course of action and live with the consequences – but we must make the decision; we must act.

Questions for reflection:

What evidence is most important to you in discerning the capacity for change?

Have you ever regretted the action you took in relation to correcting errant behavior, feeling the effect of betraying a value while trying to uphold it? How/did you recover?

Can you think of a time when you handled this situation well? What did you learn from the event?