Working Mom

Discipline in the Workplace


“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” -Proverbs 13:24

Discipline is such a strong word for every working Mom, not only at home but also in the work place.

According to the Oxford dictionary,  discipline is “The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.” DISCIPLINE creates progress and allows innovation to take place in a very proper and moral environment…


For the past 2 weeks, I have been very stressed and disappointed by circumstances with people at work and at home–  People who committed to deliver but due to complacency and  an “I ASSUME AND I THOUGHT SO” attitude.

Sometimes the people you LEAST expect to perform, turn out to be the people who perform in the workplace.  Stellar performers at work normally tend to become complacent and adapt a rather irresponsible attitude because they think they are indispensable.  They take decisions and situations in their hands and even conceal facts, thinking it will go away. FEEDBACK and CONSEQUENTIAL thinking is always important for all working moms. This “FEELING or KNOW IT ALL” type of working mom in the workplace who act as though they are indispensable will soon realize that it is start of the downhill slope of their career unless they shape up and behave and commit like the VERY FIRST DAY they started to work.

COMMITMENT — Key word of a successful working mom

Seeing my team becoming complacent, over promising and under delivering (I guess I’m also partly to blame because I tend to spoil my people);  I prayed hard to the Holy Spirit for guidance. That evening, I decided to relieve my stress and surprise my husband Juanch by cooking him seared Foie Gras salad and Truffle pasta for dinner.  I accidentally burnt my hand in the hot stove, and BY GOD’S GRACE I was able to discern what God wanted me to learn about discipline through a HOT STOVE… (What an amazing God I Have)

Discipline is essential to allow the person to grow and to become better and stronger. This makes him more mature and aware of what is expected of him. May I share with you how serendipity worked when I burnt my hand and realized the HOT STOVE THEORY OF DISCIPLINE:

If you touch a HOT STOVE, you will surely get hurt, and you won’t do it again because you will get hurt. Don’t play with fire…

I know that it’s a good idea to follow the ‘hot stove’ rule in discipline– If you have ever touched a hot stove, you probably will not do it again.

The Hot Stove Rule, I found, was actually a real principle created by Mr. Douglas McGregor.

This is what he says:

When you touch the Hot Stove, you will instantly get burnt. The feedback is instant and you will cry because of the pain. Because of this, you will not touch the hot stove anymore because it causes pain.

You knew beforehand what would happen if you touched a hot stove; and you could tell the stove was hot because of the flame or the red heating elements. Knowing in advance what behavior will be disciplined will help prevent the discipline. Similar to the circumstances of a working mom, you know beforehand that habitually being late at work, or submitting your report on time, compulsive excuses make one look like “palusutera“/ one who constantly worms her way out with excuses. If you act this way and continue to do so, you will definitely face the consequences of your actions.

The consequences are applied consistently and immediately. If you touch the hot stove, whether you are the CEO, manager or the teammate– You get burned no matter how long or how many times you touch it. There are consequences each and every time you touch it.

The hot stove doesn’t care who you are, it only cares about what you do.

If you touch it, you get burned. If anyone else touches it, they get burned. The consequences are not personal-the consequences are based only on behavior.

PINKYSHARES takes these principles and develop a set of rules concerning the company’s disciplinary actions, which we can call the hot stove rule:

  • Discipline should be immediate: In other words, when an employee violates a rule, procedure, or standard, discipline should be undertaken as quickly as possible just like the pain felt when you touch a hot stove.
  • Fair warning must be provided: Employees should be disciplined for violations only if they had reasonable notice (handbook orientation) that certain behavior violates a company policy or rule. Sometimes, this is a no-brainer, for situations like employee theft. At other times, employees need to be educated about the company’s rules and policies so they can act in accord with them.
  • Consistency in discipline is required: A hot stove doesn’t give you a pass every once in a while. If you touch it, you get burned. In order for discipline to be as effective as possible, it should be applied the same way for everyone. If the company wants to be lenient, then it should apply the leniency consistently with all employees in the same situation. Harshness should be consistent as well. If one employee is terminated for being late three times without good cause, then all other employees should receive the same employment action.
  • Disciplinary action should be impersonal: A hot stove doesn’t care who touches it, it will burn princes and paupers alike. Likewise, the company’s disciplinary actions should be applied, or not applied, based upon conduct, not based upon who is engaged in the conduct. Once the disciplinary action has been completed, managers should treat the employee subjected to discipline just like everyone else. And if the managers is at fault, the gravity is twice because her team looks up to her.

In summary, the hot stove is a metaphor– It symbolizes our bad habits, rules and regulations in our employees handbook we tend to violate and breaking the trust of the company… When you touch the hot stove (break the rules, tardiness, money handling problems, and delays in liquidation, etc), you will surely be hurt by the hot stove. The degree which you get burnt depends on the gravity of the non-compliance. The hot stove reminds us of the repercussion of our actions and adhering to our roles and responsibilities in the workplace (even at home)


Discipline is a very good tool for improvement in the workplace. It also allows management do a commitment check. Discipline is essential for every working mom because it is a guide for our behavior and manners. Discipline is a tool that we, working moms may act, think and behave appropriately for our children.

DISCIPLINE is an act of TOUGH LOVE to allow someone to be a better leader and a better person. It emanates from the willingness to constructively teach a person the proper way to do thinks accordance to the norms and culture of the company…

(working mom blog)

2 thoughts on “Discipline in the Workplace”

  1. This is true mam. I also think that in order for us to grow we should learn from our mistakes. Also, mistakes do have consequences, which everyone should be accountable


  2. “The Hot Stove” What a great metaphor to describe how to apply discipline in the workplace and at home.

    One big takeaway for me – Discipline keeps us from playing with fire. No matter who you are, you will be burnt.


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