04 Feb 2017 19:35 IST

Why it’s important to stick to team discipline

Not adhering to a common code of conduct and values could lead to a breakdown in motivation

I’m sure most of you would have seen the English film Godfather. If you haven’t, I suggest you watch it ASAP.

In one of the earlier scenes, a meeting takes place between the Godfather, his son, and another person. This person wishes to do business with the Corleone family but the Godfather is not interested as it involves trafficking of drugs. Even after the Godfather has refused, his son tries to speak up and make a point. After the Godfather stares him down, the son keeps quiet but, unfortunately, by then the damage has been done.

As the film progresses, an attempt is made on the life of the Godfather, which leads to retaliation and more killing. Much later it is revealed that the attempt to kill the head of the Corleone clan was made mainly because the son spoke out of turn at the meeting. The person who was trying to convince the Godfather about the business deal feels that if he kills the Godfather, his son might be open to doing business with him.

Simply put, the Godfather’s son was not following team discipline.

Common code

So, what is team discipline?

Team discipline is the adherence to a common code of conduct and values, that are being followed by everyone in the team. This could be something that has been explicitly laid out or implied through suggestions and actions.

Here’s another example from student life. During most classes there will always be a few people who tend to talk, call out to others and, in general, try to create a disruption. They might try to do this very quietly but it would still disturb others. In most cases, these would be the smarter bunch, and tend to act this way as they feel bored during the session. This is nothing but violating the team discipline of the class, when everyone is following a particular code of behaviour, and one person tries to disrupt the same.

Now, extend this kind of behaviour to a professional scenario. There will be colleagues who always come late for meetings, interrupt others, and so on. Unless you happen to be the one guilty of such practices, this kind of behaviour is extremely disruptive and often frustrates others in the team.

Cultivate it consciously

The net impact of not adhering to team discipline is a breakdown in the team’s motivation, leading to its not being productive.

This is one of the main reasons why team discipline is taken very seriously in workplaces. This is also one of the aspects observed by any recruiter during any group discussion. Needless to say, people who are not following team discipline would not be preferred and are likely to be left out of the short-list.

Like most things in life, team discipline comes only through practice and needs to be consciously cultivated, sooner rather than later.

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