For the new NPT members, especially those who have not been trained in the physical/intellectual aspects of NPAO protection, a major requirement is the willingness to develop self-discipline by subjecting themselves to the imposed discipline of the training regimen. It doesn’t come easy, in fact, being under discipline sucks, because humans by nature are terribly undisciplined and very, very notional. That is, we like to do what we like to do when we like to do it, and damn anything or anyone else that wants to stop us or channel us into other activities.
Sure, on the way to adulthood, many of us are subjected to imposed discipline in our schooling and our sports activities. Some even submit themselves to the discipline required to learn an art, such as music or painting, which are wonderful in and of themselves. Very few, relatively speaking, however, submit themselves to the discipline required to learn the skills that may see them through very difficult times as a NPT member ‘outside the wire’ of their Neighborhood Protection Area of Operations.
The first thing all of us who are under discipline must do is subjugate our egos. That is the most difficult thing to do, especially when attending a class for the development of a particular skill or when passing along learned skills to our fellow NPT members. For whatever reason, human nature seems to make us want to say, “I’ve been somewhere you haven’t been, so I’m better than you are!”, which may be true from a task performance perspective, but way, way off the mark in terms of value as a fellow team member.
If you know more than your team, don’t hold it over their heads; provide the information as evenly and openly as possible. If the time comes to offer constructive criticism, make sure you keep it focused on the task performance failure or the road blocks being put up to team progress by the offending member. If you have to go farther to correct, remember the old (tried and true) axiom, “Praise in public; punish in private” and never, ever threaten.
If you would be a productive member or effective leader of a NPT initiative, you must be able to accept constructive criticism as well. We define it this way: “Constructive criticism is not stopping after telling someone they are wrong; rather, it’s telling them they’re wrong, demonstrating why they’re wrong, and telling/demonstrating how not to make the same error again.” As the “Dilbert” cartoon below shows, “Don’t be ‘that’ guy!”
Winston Churchill had this to say about criticism:
The main thing to remember, whether a member or leader, is to keep it constructive so that it doesn’t destroy the “spirit” of the man or woman being criticized. If you’re experienced, remember how we got to that level: Someone had to endure our lack of discipline, our ego, and our errors long enough for us to reach the level of expertise we now hold and continue to improve.
The other main ingredient, especially in our world, where the authority we have over our charges in training and NPT activities is ‘moral authority’, is that of submission to the person conducting the training or leading the team. It is a cornerstone of success. For anyone reading who’s alarms just went off, no, we are not saying be a doormat and do everything and anything one is told, because there are limits to both moral authority and submission in regards to training/developing discipline for effective NPT capabilities. This poster says it best:
Or, how about this: “Submit to your leadership until he/she becomes destructive in the exercise of the moral authority given them by the NPT. If and when that occurs, get a new leader/trainer.”
Submission is not a bad thing; we do it all the time in life though we might not name it as such. If you have a job, you are submitting to an authority above your own so that you may take home a pay check. You can think of many more examples, I’m sure, so the point is made. Here’s how far you may want to take it, based upon my own example: Should the time come where someone joins my NPT who is a more effective leader or trainer, I will gladly submit to them so that our team can become better at what we do.
So, to build discipline as team members, we must subordinate our ego, be willing to make ourselves do what we prefer not to at times we don’t feel like it, suffer through the process of learning under someone’s authority that we have willingly provided them, and submit to that authority so long as the leader/trainer does not become destructive to our team objective.
This is not an end all/be all post on the ‘how to’ of discipline development; only a taste to whet your appetite and learn it from your own experiences.