How to Turn Disciplinary Action into a Positive Force for Your Future

Unfortunately, I am entirely too familiar with disciplinary action. I started writing very young for my father when I did something wrong. At work, it seems that I was disciplined as much as rewarded, if not more. Fortunately, that taught me how to turn what would seem to be a negative into something that could help me advance in my career. It is not what you expect.

Discipline is Prime Time to Talk

Generally, when you sit down for disciplinary action, you are the one listening. Towards the end of most conversations you should be given an open ended offer to reply. At this point, strike up a serious discussion. Don’t focus on the reason you are in the room anymore, instead focus on what you would like to do with your future. You will likely need to address the issue and how you plan to overcome it (if you didn’t during the initial part of the discussion) but spend time talking to your supervisor.

On top of telling, you need to ask. Find out what you can do to improve at work. Ask your supervisor for some clear goals and set those in stone with a specific date. Work yourself to the bone to surpass those goals well before the date agreed upon. Also take the entire discussion as if it is not something that upsets you. Even if you are mad or upset, thank them for bringing the issue to your attention and assure them that you will see that it is corrected.

Take Ownership and Turn to Leadership

Once you have some goals in mind, you are done with the talking and telling people what you are going to do. Now is the time to show them what you are going to do. Go home the night of your disciplinary action and write an action plan for yourself. Be honest. Don’t sugarcoat what you write. Instead, beat yourself up a little and then look at what you have written and use it as inspiration to start moving forward.

You are part of a team, like it or not, so it is time that you show that team that you are going to lead them forward. Actions are all that matter at this point. Even if the disciplinary action was a short talk, you need to flip the switch that puts you into over drive.

This is the secret that makes this all work so well. You are being watched more closely. You are also being looked at with less expectation of greatness. Now, when you fly out of the gate, leading your team, showing them greatness and success, you are going to do more than keep yourself in your position, you are going to show those that are watching that you know how to recover from a stumble.

Focus on always moving forward. The past is over. It is gone and done with. All that you have is right now and right now is what you are going to turn into greatness. Don’t worry about the future. It hasn’t happened yet. You have no control over what happens in an hour, much less what happens tomorrow. Focus on the moment and show those that had their doubts why you are a cornerstone of a successful team.

Have you turned being disciplined into a positive force in your career? How did you do it? Follow me for more on success at work as well as the secrets of great leaders.


Image Source: RickBillings