Compliance VS Commitment

I have always tried my best to be a person who puts work and objectives before personal ego. However, I feel a little guilty when I quote myself so having said that I am going to do exactly that. My subordinates will perhaps attest to the fact that I have been found saying “ I am only as strong and successful as my team!” many times during the course of my dozen or so years as a professional.

There are two very important words that I have come across as traits in a team / team Member.

  • Compliant
  • Committed

There are compliant teams / team members and then there are committed teams / team members.

What’s the difference?

A compliant member is one who shows up to work because they have to!

It has nothing to do with attendance or schedule. You will note such people who will be fretting to leave at the end of the shift-Per say. They will most likely walk off to the parking lot in a hurry only to wait another 20 minutes for their taxi or for the parking lot to clear up BUT they will leave work right on time as if waiting for the clock to strike the proverbial School Off time 😉 These are not bad people. Its just a classification really. These are people who are at work because – only because —where else would they be??

Then there are committed members. Work is their extension – their baby. They may even obsess over it. The committed member will treat work or the project as their OWN. They take ownership of what they do and really believe that the output is a reflection of their own self. These are people who think ahead and forecast challenges and are prepared with solutions or attempts.

I recall reading somewhere that it’s only natural to progress easily from a committed to Compliant while the reverse is not only hard but rarely achievable.

The great thing about committed teams is that the team will not treat a task as an assignment from the manager. They will or ideally would treat it as their own objective, take pride in it and gloat in the success of completing it with efficiency and accuracy.

Thou I am not the best of managers, however compiling a lot of what I have read and experience I would like to share a few point on how to develop high performing committed teams:

  • Trust: I value trust above all. If there is no trust then there is nothing to begin with. Thou I hear that trust needs to be earned… I believe that it also required a leap of faith. This goes both ways. As the boss one needs to start by trusting and as the member of the team one would have to take positive leverage of the trust and revert in kind.
  • Empowerment: With empowerment comes ownership and with ownership comes responsibility and accountability. Hand over tasks to your team and make them the owners. Most importantly give them the agility to plan and execute and deliver. Remember humans err. Give them chances BUT not in a manner where they walk all over you!
  • Recognition: Always remember to appreciate and recognize achievement. You as the manager are there to highlight your team. If you will not give them the spotlight … who will?
  • Friendly: Don’t make it all work and no play. Be humorous and friendly with you team. Work is work but let’s not run a coal mine 🙂


I would love to hear back from you on your own stories or experiences. I am not a researcher or an absolute on the topic. I have just shared what I feel and your feedback and comments will make this more comprehensible.



One thought on “Compliance VS Commitment”

  1. Well put up
    However, I believe the members with better leadership skill are generally more committed as for them the commitment is more with themselves more than organization so they take ownership and think out of the box.
    whereas, the compliant people may not be too confident of their own leadership attribute, and it is well established fact that we can learn how to lead and subsequently how to be committed
    And there are some others, who are neither compliant nor committed and this class may include both competent or otherwise individuals. All they seem to strive for is to find shortcomings of their colleagues and sell it as their own reason of existence and surprisingly they are quite abundant and quite successful as well.
    And why they are successful, is that the committed and compliant both types tend to attend their propagation instead of remaining focused on the primary objective i.e., to outperform the rest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *