Not too long ago, I read a book called Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant. The book uses several thought-provoking stories to propose that there are three types of people in the workplace: givers, matchers, and takers.
Takers are people who consistently put their needs before others by taking more than they give to others, and are generally the most self-oriented.
Matchers are those who tend to give and take proportionally. They tend to reciprocate equally with others based on how they are treated.
Givers are the people that give more than they take, and are primarily others-oriented.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the book cites research suggesting that many successful people are givers and that being a giver is usually a sound strategy for success. Most people appreciate a person that is a giver, and many times they will want to give back to that person if the opportunity arises. Because of this, givers often create a network of support and valuable connections with others that they have helped in the past.
One key difference between givers and takers is that givers do not think of personal and work relationships as zero-sum games, but instead as positive sum games where groups can all benefit. Givers are not afraid to share the credit of successes, and are willing to help out coworkers and others in the organization even when they may not gain personally from their effort.
Givers also are adept at seeing issues from different perspectives, which helps them to be perceived as agreeable and understanding in group situations. By contributing help wherever they can (instead of only when it would benefit them and their specific responsibilities), they can establish a norm of giving and information sharing within their team.
Early on in a new year can be a great time to evaluate how you operate at work and reflect on any changes you would want to make. Consider looking for opportunities to act as a giver in the workplace. It will likely benefit your team, and may very well lead to future success for yourself.
Written by Nick Lewis