I had the privilege of speaking at the Massachusetts Conference for Women recently. I was on a panel with Joyce Maroney, director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos; Sue Meisinger, former CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); and China Gorman, former CEO of Great Place to Work to discuss what it takes to create an engaging workforce.
Prior to our session, I had the chance to hear Adam Grant, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.” His talk was fascinating and focused on the relationship between success and our communications. Grant explains that there are basically three types of interactions:
- Takers: These are people who get stuff and give very little in return. You know who these folks are – they’re famous for volunteering and not really doing anything.
- Givers: These individuals help others with no strings attached. This doesn’t mean they are oblivious to Takers.
- Matchers: This group creates a balance between what they give and take. Think of them as the “Karma Police.”
The question is, which one is the most successful? And by the title of this post, you know it’s the Givers. But the rationale is just as important as the answer.
Takers can have a modicum of success. They can rise to the top quickly but they can fall just as fast. And that’s because Takers eventually have to operate alone. Why? Because they’re Takers. Obviously, Takers aren’t going to work with other Takers – who would get the work done?! Matchers aren’t going to always work with Takers, because they don’t get anything in return. They will only tolerate the “taker” situation for so long.
So, Givers create their own success by surrounding themselves with other Givers and Matchers. Remember Matchers are happy to continue giving because they’re working with a Giver. By contrast, Givers try to weed out Takers. Givers aren’t doormats – they understand who the Takers are and create opportunities without them.
When given the chance to choose your team, who would you choose – Takers, Givers, or Matchers? Givers are the people that make others better at their own expense. While it’s possible they will struggle in the short run, Givers will succeed in the long run because they are focused on the big picture.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby0