Cultivating a spirit of commitment versus a command to compliance reaps continuous rewards in team member loyalty. Compliant employees will do exactly what you ask. The employee value proposition with this relationship is simple and transactional. The employer pays the employee an agreed upon wage to execute agreed upon tasks. If the employee is internally motivated, then he or she will complete exactly as asked. If the employee is not internally motivated, then the employer will constantly have to remind the employee of the rules, requirements and responsibilities. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a miserable way to operate a business. Thankfully, there is a better way.

When a leader is able to get a team member to commit to an organization, the employee value proposition is something very different. The team member not only does what the leader asks, but also expends discretionary effort. The leader, in return, is committed to the development and growth of the team member. This creates a cycle of commitment between the leader and the team member. The more the leader invests in the committed team member, the more the team member knows and can contribute. The more the team member contributes, the more committed he or she is to the business. That higher level of commitment translates to a greater contribution. The perpetuation of this cycle grows the business in exponential ways.

So what does compliance look like on a daily basis? Employees generally do only what is necessary except for a few who are so internally motivated by a strength of responsibility that they do more. Because selection is generally a weakness of the compliance driven manger, most of their employees do not exhibit this trait. If the employee is doing only what they are told to do and only what is necessary, they are not looking for ways to further please the customer. If the manager is only focused on transactions and not on customer service and satisfaction, the employee is not thinking about serving the customers true needs either. In this model, somebody is usually “chewed out” each day and turnover is frequent.

Commitment, on the other hand, looks very different. Leaders encourage team members to anticipate and meet guest needs, even when there is no procedure in place. It’s more than just showing up at work on time in proper uniform. At a quick-service restaurant, this might be holding an umbrella over guests returning to their car in the rain, changing a guest’s tire or driving for miles to return a item left by a guest at the restaurant. In return, the leader takes a personal interest in each team member, understanding opportunities for growth and the team member’s personal and professional aspirations and dreams.

Leaders who coach for commitment instead of merely compliance, invest more to prevent people problems rather than incurring the expense of having to solve people problems. Committed team members build the brand of a business. Compliant team members, at most, barely protect a brand. It may take more skill and intention to lead committed team members, but it is also a lot more fun. Committed team members create committed teams and committed teams become winning teams. If you want to lead a winning team, seek commitment from team members, rather than compliance from employees.

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