“Give and Take” is a book by Adam Grant that gives new insight to leadership success. He uses three categories to describe persons:
Givers: Those who go out of their way to support others even when there is no obvious benefit to them for doing so.
Matchers: Those who connect a good deed someone does for them to a good deed they do for that person.
Takers: Those who have an entitlement mentality expecting others to support them, but rarely returning the support.
Grant shows how giving can lead to leadership success while the other two approaches have inherent flaws. He also shows how the inherent weaknesses in a giving strategy can be overcome. Outlined below are some things you can do to become a giving leader.
- Make “How can I help you?” your standard opening whoever someone asks to see you. You want to reach out to people and volunteer your help before you are asked.
- Maintain an open appointment calendar without barriers to see you. When you do this, you will gain insights to your organization that you never can achieve by having concerns filtered through others.
- Set aside one hour a day to do special things for others. These can be simple thank you notes, a follow up question on a concern they have raised, or simply a note that shows you are in their thoughts.
- Set high expectations for others and don’t accept less than the best efforts from those you work with. You want others to see you as someone who genuinely cares for them including pushing them to do their best.
- Set the tone for a giving culture and be tough on those who are takers. This should include strong warning (and possible terminations) as warranted. Eliminate the “you owe me/ I owe you one” guide pro quo culture whenever you see it happening.
- Reduce reliance on recognition programs and public relations campaigns to celebrate givers. Giving should become self-rewarding and not something that needs be celebrated.
Becoming a giver can be tough for some who thrive on tangible forms of success rather than doing the right thing for the right reasons with the only expectation being a personal memory of helping someone with a need.