maciej łebkowski
Maciej Łebkowski

Givers vs Takers

in Professional

You’d like your organization to thrive. To achieve this, you build your culture around creative, honest, and motivated people. One of the aspects of this kind of environment is knowledge sharing, open collaboration, and trust. You’d like to see more of those qualities in your team.

Adam Grant — an organizational psychologist — breaks down people into three categories:

  • givers (you may think about them as altruists)
  • takers (the opposite of the first group)
  • and matchers, behaving in a kind of quid pro quo manner

He then analyzes which group is most likely to have the worst performance results as well as the best ones. Surprisingly, the answer to both is givers. These are the people that fit your culture, sharing and caring for other team members, multiplying your team’s output, being benefactors rather than beneficiaries.

It seems logical that they would have the best performance and the most impact, but why are they also the ones that fail and burn out most often? It has to do with their context. If they happen to be surrounded by takers, their energy will be sucked out and turned against them in a political brawl. Even a few takers can turn your team of energic, creative givers into a muddled group of ineffective and frustrated people.

Here’s Adam’s full TED talk about those groups of people:

You probably already focus your recruitment process on hiring people with giver-like attributes, but do you also do take care of the other two elements required to keep your team healthy and productive: avoiding hiring takers, and removing them from your organization if they happen to slip past your filters anyway?

Is there a person on your team preventing others from blossoming?

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About the author

My name is Maciej Łebkowski. I’m a full stack software engineer, a writer, a leader, and I play board games in my spare time. I’m currently in charge of the technical side of a new project called Docplanner Phone.

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