In a recent blog, “the 6 Key Characteristics of the AdaptableLeader”, I stated that at People Based Solutions we believe there is no one right way to lead.


I went on to say that leaders must adapt to the circumstances they find themselves in, and identify ways to inspire and motivate others.  I explained, there is a limit to what leaders can “demand”.  Money and job security may achieve perfunctory commitment, but that only engaged people have consummate commitment.  This cannot be bought it can only be inspired. Consummate commitment creates discretionary effort, which I went on to say, is the true value added of leadership.


Recent research suggests that there are two kinds of employee commitment, perfunctory commitment and consummate commitment.


·         Perfunctorily committed employees are driven by economic and career choices.


·         Consummately committed employees are driven by passion.


There is no question that perfunctorily committed employees work hard.  They give ’a fair days work for a fair day’s pay’.  It is not reasonable to criticise perfunctorily committed employees, as they deliver what is required of them.  Employees who are bothperfunctorily and consummately committed, are engaged with the organisation. Engaged employees are fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, their work.  They act in ways that support the needs of the organisation, and contribute towards its success.

Research shows that engaged employees are more productive, they have less absence, stay longer and have a positive attitude towards the organisation.  They act as advocates, spreading the word that it is a good place to work in, and do business with.  Employees who have this level of affection for the organisation, are often deeply committed.   This commitment results in employees who ‘go the extra mile’, and show a strong desire to improve, by learning new or better ways of working.  The desire to go the extra-mile, not in return for something, such as pay or promotion, but because it is considered the right thing to do, is known as discretionary effort.   Discretionary effort can’t be forced or bought, it can only be inspired.

At People Based Solutions we believe that “Adaptable Leaders” help create consummate commitment, which creates engagement, which, in turn, increases discretionary effort. Adaptable Leaders who inspire consummate commitment, which generates discretionary effort, are a true source of competitive advantage.


According to research by the Corporate Leadership Council:


·         Consummate commitment can increase discretionary efforts by 57%, which can, in turn, improve individual performance by 20%


·         Every 10% improvement in commitment increases employee effort (performance) by 6%


·         Every 10% increase in commitment decreases an employee’s probability leaving the organisation by 9%

Further research suggests that in a typical workforce:

·         13% are highly disaffected


·         76% are “up for grabs”, neither fully committed or uncommitted


·         The remaining 11% are highly committed


That means 76% of the workforce have the potential, to become engaged.  This can increase their individual productivity by 20%.  That is why at People Based Solutions, we say discretionary effort is the value added of Adaptable Leadership.

This article has been posted by Sean McCann, the Managing Director of People Based Solutions, an HR consultancy specialising in Leadership Development. If you would like to know more about the Adaptable Leader Programme, either public courses or in house for your organisation contact us at:
People Based HR