Changing your work culture can seem like a daunting task, but if you understand what makes a good employee and how their actions effect the workplace, it’s actually quite easy. And it will make you a better employee and a better person. There’s a popular idea about what a good employee should be. An assertive, go getter who makes their voice heard and puts their success first. This person may have their strength’s, but successful organizations are made up of different personalities.
In his seminal work Give and Take, psychologist Adam Grant describes three personalities, givers, takers and matchers, that can be found in our workplaces. A giver is someone who values supporting others daily. A taker is like the person I described at the beginning of this post. They generally want to benefit themselves in situation while not having to invest a lot in others. A matcher is equally interested in helping others and themselves.
So would you consider yourself a giver, a taker or a matcher? Or perhaps you are all three in different situations? Adam Grant’s researched showed that Givers are more successful in their jobs than matchers and takers. He used a pool of engineers, sales people and medical students for one of his studies. The givers in each group outperformed the others. 11% of the medical students were givers and had higher grades than their counterparts. In engineering the givers receiver better employee reviews than their colleagues and in the sales group, givers had 50% higher sales than their team members who were not characterized as givers. What was interesting in the study is the reason, the why, of giving for the successful givers. They gave to others because they wanted to, not because they had to. They gave as they felt it was important, not because it was their job. This made the giver feel happy, elated and content in their job.
Think your act of kindness goes unnoticed? One study found that positive effects of giving radiate throughout a company. A culture of giving has been linked to more productivity and customer happiness. Employees are even less likely to make mistakes and quit at a giving focused work place. Givers focus on making sure that everyone is given credit on projects. They don’t see their peers as competition but value them as equals.
Givers tend to rise to the top of their organizations. This is because they value building good relationships and putting others needs first. In jobs were customer services or public relations are vital, this value system is priceless.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good being a giver. There are some negative side effects to being this thoughtful.
Many givers can be found at the bottom of organizations as well. Sometimes givers only prioritize others needs before their own. Givers can be too trusting and help people who take advantage of them. Givers can also feel it’s selfish to advocate for themselves. Grant advises that givers mistakenly think they must be available to help anyone at anytime. Some givers focus on being selfless and rarely take care of themselves. This can lead to givers becoming burnt out and become less giving over time. By being too giving we can run out of energy to give.
Givers can learn a lot from matchers. Matchers believe in fairness and will make sure that givers get the recognition they deserve. Matchers have mastered the art of boundary setting. Matchers know that they have a finite level of time and energy and are realistic about what they can do. However, matchers can sometimes be vigilantes in an organization. They may try to get revenge on takers and even resort to gossip.
We can all benefit from helping others. We also must make sure we help ourselves and are realistic about what we can do. Giving to yourself is also a daily give and can help you at work and at home. This quote by Toni Morrison encapsulate the ethos of givers:
“I tell my students, ’When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”
Want to learn more about you can change the world? Check out this article on 7 gives that build social connection.