Monday, February 13, 2012

How to Build Self-Discipline Through the Examples of Charismatic Leaders

Self-discipline is defined as “Training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, usually for personal improvement”(Free Dictionary, n.d.).  Often, individuals fail to achieve any modicum of success because they lack the self-discipline to formulate and execute plans.  Charismatic leaders exemplify phenomenal self-discipline in achieving their objectives.   Nayab (2011) noted that “Charismatic leadership is leading by dint of personality and charm, instead of relying on any external power or authority.” Nayab further suggested that charismatic leaders tap into the moods and concerns of individuals as well as larger audiences, and hone their words and actions to suit the situation.
Also, Nayab outlined the major behavioral attributes of charismatic leaders to include:
·         Sensitivity to the environment and member needs
·         Articulation of a clear-cut vision shaped to the situation
·         Effective use of body language and verbal language
·         Personal risk taking and unconventional behavior
·         High self-belief
·         Displaying confidence in follower's ability
To achieve success among individuals and within organizations, you must develop self-discipline.   You can begin the process of developing self-discipline by emulating the traits of charismatic leaders by:

1.      Defining yourself by your performance. Charismatic leaders are relentless, because completing a crusade or mission is tied to their self-identity and self-worth. These leaders are internally motivated and adopt self-criticism as a means of monitoring their behavior as well as evaluating their actions. Colleagues and supporters are less incline to evaluate charismatic leaders due to either a lack of intellectual vigor or fear of being disapproved by the leader. Contrary to commentators who separate an individual’s vocation from his self-identity, developing high levels of self-discipline requires the melding of one’s vocation with one’s identity.
2.     Developing productive habits. Psychologists suggest that an act requires at least twenty-one times of repetition before a habit is formed.  Colvin (2006) suggested that talent has little to nothing to do with greatness. He noted that it takes a minimum of ten years or ten thousand hours of “deliberate practice” to achieve world class status. Charismatic leaders work hard and long because they believe that only they can accomplish epic feats. Hours and years of relentless study, practice, and reflection are the foundational principles for not only achieving greatness, but creating a life of discipline.
3.       Committing to the process rather than the outcome. Because charismatic leaders judge themselves by their performance, they commit to the process with the expectation of specific results. However, they ingratiate themselves to the process as “actors,” because the process or system is the fundamental mechanism they can control. Charismatic leaders see a direct correlation between their actions and the desired outcome. Consequently, if you want to improve your self-discipline, commit to your plan, deviating only for improvement and changing situations, and weigh the outcome against the process.
4.       Avoiding procrastination. Charismatic leaders live by a system of planning and scheduling. Triaging or determining essential tasks to be achieved by order of importance is another factor for achieving self-discipline.  These leaders may put off tasks to a later date, but rarely reschedule important tasks that are time sensitive.  In fact, charismatic leaders become agitated even when a non-essential task has been put off too long. This agitation refers essentially to the performance-driven orientation of these leaders.

Because charismatic leaders rely on their own personality and ingenuity rather than external power or authority, their self-discipline is indispensable to their achieving phenomenal success. Your ultimate personal and professional success lies in your ability to be a self-regulated machine that determines that performance, habits, and commitment are not only niceties, but a way of life.   For charismatic leaders, life is as much a destination as it is a journey.


Colvin, G. (2006 Oct. 19). What it takes to be great. CNN Money. Retrieved from :

Nayab, N. (2011 May 20). Modern leadership styles in the changing world. Bright Hub (website). Retrieved from:

Self-Discipline Defined (n.d). The Free Dictionary (Farley). Retrieved from:

For more information, visit:Charisma

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