I happened on some work by Adam Grant PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania through a podcast by Krista Tippett called Onbeing.
Dr. Grant is a professor who has consulted with a broad spectrum of organizations. In his book Give and Take (Why Helping Others Drives Our Success), he supports a concept that people are generally either Givers, Takers, or Matchers.
- Givers look for ways to improve the lives of others, to help others, and enjoy that without expecting anything in return.
- Takers are people who’s default is to take rather than give. their goal is to come out ahead in every interaction.
- Matchers follow the norm of the person, group, community or organization. The more matchers, the more powerful the givers and takers are in setting the tone.
Some interesting conclusions from his research include:
- The distinction of giver or taker is not a personality type, rather a “muscle” that has been developed.Dr. Grant says that most people who exhibit “taker” behavior at work, likely are givers in other arenas.
- Generosity can be through an agreeable or disagreeable personal style. Grumpy or stern givers are not necessarily less giving.
- Givers experienced more personal satisfaction when giving was in clusters. Rather than sprinkling giving across the week or month, people might think to focus on a giving day.
- Givers have to prioritize their giving or they will burn out. Who, when and on what are key questions for any person with a giving preference.
- Big givers fall into the biggest failed careers and the biggest successful careers. Focus and intention along with all the other aspects of success (or lack thereof) show clusters at either end of the performance scale.
It’s been interesting to think about my own giving with my client, family, and friends. I tend to be “ready to help” in a crisis or need for all. I look and listen for what and where I can contribute with my close family and friends.
I’m going to take a deeper look at how I giver and how that giving contributes to me.