The word discipline has many meanings, some more positive than others. Most managers who panic at the thought of administering discipline do so because they immediately zero in on the word’s negative associations. This limited view is unfortunate, particularly when we consider that the root of discipline is the Latin discipulus, which means “learner.” Hardly a negative! And entirely important to our understanding of discipline’s practical application in the workplace.

Because there is so much misunderstanding about this word’s meaning in an organizational context, let’s take a moment to review the dictionary definitions of discipline and to clarify just what workplace discipline is not.

The Dictionary Definitions

The basic definitions ...

Get The Manager's Pocket Guide to Documenting Employee Performance now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.