Trinity Services, Inc

From My Pad to Yours. . . 


A Blog by Art Dykstra

From My Pad to Yours is about leadership and other topics, and is written by Art Dykstra, Director of the Trinity Consulting Group.

Discretionary Effort

by Art Dykstra | Aug 23, 2017

Among the authors held in wide esteem at Trinity is Aubrey Daniels. In his book, Measure of a Leader, he defines discretionary effort.

Discretionary effort is that level of effort that people could give if they wanted to–but which is beyond what is required. Discretionary effort is what is possible.

Simply said, it is doing what we are doing because we want to. It’s what some people refer to as “going beyond the call of duty.” Daniels states that it is the most vital indicator of positive leadership. People do what they can do because they want to–they are willing.

Discretionary effort is most abundant when people are engaged and find meaning in their employment. Leaders can inspire this kind of effort by communicating a vision of what could be accomplished in such a way that it resonates with employees. When they “catch” the vision, they are willing to expend the extra time and energy required to help achieve the goal. They feel needed, included.

Wise leaders also know that discretionary effort is the product of positive reinforcement, not punishment. They make sure that employees who make sacrifices are acknowledged and appreciated individually in ways that ensure that each one feels valued. This requires that leaders know what types of reinforcement convey appreciation most effectively to each employee. Gary Chapman and Paul White explore a variety of reinforcement methods that leaders can use in The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.

The practice of discretionary effort is one of the defining characteristics of people who work beyond their job descriptions. They do things before being asked. They take on assignments or tasks without inquiring, “What will you give me if I do that?” Though acknowledging an individual’s efforts help create an environment that nurtures discretionary effort, rewards aren’t a motivation. These employees participate in those actions and activities because they want to–they feel like doing them and feel glad after accomplishing the tasks. As a result, when management discovers the discretionary act, the person involved is often embarrassed.

I believe that discretionary effort is a function of our personal values and how we feel about ourselves and others. Therefore, it occurs in our interactions with the persons served, their families, our colleagues, our guests and visitors.

NOTE: This is Part 4 of a 10-part series on Trinity's Core Values.
To read Part 1 on Servant Leadership, click here.
To read Part 2 on Serving and Supporting, click here.
​To read Part 3 on Honest and Open Communication, click here.


  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
    Toolbar's wrapper 
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.

Blog title image credit: 
Copyright: anyka/123RF Stock Photo

Join our Newsletter!

Stay informed and connected to all the exciting things happening at Trinity Services!

Upcoming Events

  • Around the World in 18 Holes — 25th Annual Tom O'Reilly Memorial Golf Classic

    Trinity Services’ 25th Annual Tom O’Reilly Memorial Golf Classic will take golfers Around the World in 18 Holes!

    Click here to register for or sponsor the event!

    Join us for a day of fun as we travel the world together Thursday, May 17, at Odyssey Country Club in Tinley Park. The Golf Classic benefits Trinity Services’ mission to help people with disabilities and mental illness so that they may flourish and live full and abundant lives.

    Your $195 registration fee includes a gift; buffet lunch; bucket of range balls; pop, beer and snacks on the course; a complimentary specialty drink and cigar on holes 5 and 16; dinner; and awards.

    The schedule for the day is as follows:
    10:30 a.m.-Noon   Registration/bucket of range balls
    11-11:45 a.m.   Buffet lunch
    Noon   Shotgun start
    5:30 p.m.   Cocktails and silent auction
    6 p.m.   Dinner and awards

    To register for the event online, click here. To print a sponsorship and registration form, click here.

    If you have any questions or would like more information about how to get involved with the Golf Classic or with Trinity Services, in general, please contact us at (815) 717-3750.

View All Events