giving and taking

Are you a giver or a taker? Finding the balance between giving and taking is more important in the world of business than you might imagine.

Recent research from organizational psychologist and Wharton prof Adam Grant is changing the way leaders view their workforce. In his compelling TED talk he breaks down the science between givers and takers, and how it affects a company’s success. By the end of his talk, it’s clear that fostering a culture at work where a giver can succeed not only benefits the company, but the givers, too.

Grant assesses the motivation behind takers as: What can you do for me? Givers, on the other hand, ask: What can I do for you? We all do both giving and taking in work and in life, but your personal style is defined by how you treat most of the people, most of the time. So what do you think, are you a give or a taker? Be honest!

If you’re like 56% of people worldwide, you’re neither. You’re a “matcher,” someone who tries to keep an even amount of give and take. So matchy-matchy of you.

Givers, it turns out, are both the best and worst performers on the job! Grant explains that givers get the least amount of their own work done because they’re busy helping others. “Givers are often sacrificing themselves, but they make their organizations better,” he said in the TED talk. These companies reap the benefits of higher profits, less turnover, better customer satisfaction, and even lower operating expenses. All from those giving employees!

Givers are also the highest earners and producers, so businesses that foster an environment to support givers help them succeed on both a personal and company level.

Here’s how Grant suggests companies cater to the givers:

  1. Protect givers from burnout by offering help, even if small
  2. Create a culture where people seek help from co-workers
  3. Be thoughtful of who you have on your team (weed out the takers)

It’s all in a day’s work. Give, they say, and you shall receive!