Teaching & Exercising Discipline


Comes from disciple: one who learns, one who follows the teachings of another.

To discipline a dog or child is to teach it how to behave, to train it.

Hence - process of teaching people how to adhere to various rules.


Should not be looked at as a process of punishment for infractions. The motto is to lock the stable door before the horse bolts, or to use another analogy from Taoism. it is too late once the moment has passed. You must get your staff to operate the way you want them to, and to do it willingly, because they know the reasons why.


Why disciplinary occasions occur


Rules are not known by employees


Rules are known but not understood

Remember that your staff may not have your level of literacy, knowledge or experience


Rules are known and understood - but not enforced


Rules are unreasonable or unenforceable


How to investigate


Fact v opinion








Case background


Employee background


What then to do


Action process - Steps available for one off or re-occurrence:




  1. All circumstances should be documented
    1. for future reference in case of repeated offence
    2. in case of legal action - could be many years later
  2. Scale of incident
    1. one-off major offence warrants serious action immediately
    2. repeated minor offence also warrants increased action
  3. Examine need to change managerial processes
  4. Examine need to revise or introduce mediation processes if incident or aftermath causes repercussions