Givers and Takers


Are you a giver or a taker?

Were you generous today or were you self-serving?

I recently read the HBR article by Adam Grant 'In the Company of Givers and Takers' and it struck me as a nice way to view how we turn up to work every day. Grant's research defines the theory of a business world filled with Givers and Takers. Givers offer assistance, share knowledge freely, or connect people without looking for any payback. Takers carefully hoard their own knowledge and expertise while trying to get others to serve their needs.

So why does this make a difference? Employees with a Giver outlook are better problem solvers, better collaborators and the benefits translate to business results. Studies have shown that a company with a predominant Giver culture have higher profits, more efficiency, higher customer satisfaction and lower costs.

But what about the Takers? Yes, it's true that if a Giver keeps giving, the Takers will take (and yes the haters will probably keep hatin'......). Givers can seem like a push-over to Takers and some can be taken advantage of. So it is up to each line manager to protect the Givers and ensure they are recognised for their generosity and ensure they are equipped to be a Giver with street-smarts - they should feel strong enough to stand up to Takers if the situation arises. We can all contribute by recognising giving and generosity as a strength and thanking our colleagues for this behaviour specifically. We need to bring the word GENEROUS into our daily working lives.

How do we do that? It's all too easy for us to focus on a lack of resources or a lack of time and we tend to unconsciously ignore the abundance around us and the abundance within us. A good way to exercise abundance is to give something away; your time, your knowledge or expertise, or your support in any form. If you become a Giver there will always be a willing recipient!

Adam Grant's full article can be read on

Stephen NaughtonComment