The upcoming series of blogs will focus on 5 fundamental aspects of creating a strong foundation in your life. Whether you are looking at getting into a “leadership role” or you are a young athlete looking to be a leader of your sports team, these 5 areas of focus will help you achieve that those goals. Almost ten years ago I was building a leadership program for the Fortune 500 company where I was a part of the management team. In developing the pillars of leadership to base our program, I created an acronym that represented the focus areas for the foundations of leadership – it is called the DAARI (pronounced dar-ree). It stands for Discipline, Action, Accountability, Responsibility and Integrity.   We will examine the different pillars of this concept in how to develop your own leadership foundation to lead a team to success either in business or on the field.

Let’s start out by understanding the importance of Discipline. This word is typically used to define the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior. In developing the skills to become an effective leader, one must hold themselves to the highest level of discipline possible. This means you are the one that is responsible for obeying the rules of your training and having self control in maintaining a focus of the desired goals. If you are the one that’s disciplining yourself for what you aren’t doing, you are self-recognizing areas of improvement before others do. You are also building trust with those around you, as they will see that you are willing to be disciplined to the process. Discipline will set you apart of from others by showing a willingness to sacrifice and a commitment to your goals as you set the example for others.

Leaders must learn to follow before they can lead. Following is how you recognize every aspect of the way that a leader is able to succeed in getting others to understand their goals, focus plans and deliver results. You should watch, listen and learn. You should ask questions to provide clarity. You should study successful leaders to observe their behaviors and techniques. These practices will help you understand how to avoid many of the pitfalls that leaders face. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll completely avoid all pitfalls, but you will be better prepared. Recognizing challenges gives you the ability to adapt to a situation much quicker and that happens by listening and learning.

Learning to first follow and setting the example for others are both forms of Discipline that will build part of your leadership foundation. Discipline is the first step in the DAARI to create a structure to support team success.