Are you a giver at work? It turns out that givers, as compared to takers or matchers, are both the HIGHEST and the LOWEST performers at work. Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take and Originals, believes that creating organizations with more high performing givers is a workplace imperative.
So, if becoming a giver and/or creating a culture of giving at work is high on your to-do list for 2018, what steps can be taken by you individually or your collective management team to promote a workplace that emphasizes contribution (and giving) rather than competition (and taking)?
Here are three tips from Adam’s talk:
- Don’t burnout: The giver has a hard time saying no. Givers, who I frequently encounter in my coaching business, buy into the idea that they can save the day with their knowledge, expertise, or amazing work ethic. They appreciate the opportunity to help and want to gain the respect of the individual or group that may have asked for their help. They need to be protected from (or least advised and counselled about) giving too much. Grant suggests that givers try to limit themselves to a 5-minute helping hand.
- Promote help-seeking: Workplaces are naturally constructed to promote teamwork: we have meetings with our colleagues; we have joint office spaces or neighboring cubicles. Remarkably, despite the proximity of these smart people, we are frequently reluctant to ask them for help. We do not want to burden our colleagues with our work. We do not want to appear inept. Creating and promoting a help-seeking environment can dramatically lessen the awkwardness of asking for help at work. If someone asked you for help yesterday, wouldn’t you feel more secure about asking for help today? Of course. Grant discusses how hospitals have used this concept effectively by creating the position of a “helping nurse,” whose primary responsibility is to help other nurses.
- Don’t hire takers: Although this last tip may be easier said than done, an effective way to increase giving and reduce taking in the workplace is to eliminate individuals who are prone to having a competitive, silo-ed, non-sharing demeanor. Grant makes a great point that we must be on the look-out for the office backstabber – the individual who pretends to be kind and helpful to your face but who actually runs you down and diminishes you when you turn your back.
The timing of this message, on the heals of the holidays and preceding the New Year, is intentional. My guess is that at some point last week you realized (once again!) that giving is better than receiving. Let’s make it our 2018 mantra.
Happy New Year!