I recently attended a workshop where they spoke about the difference between a Giver and a Taker in the workplace.

A Taker sits on the one end of the spectrum while a Giver sits on the other.

People who are Takers like to get more than they give; they are self-focused and carefully guard their expertise and time. They view the workplace as dog-eat-dog. When takers win, there’s usually someone else that loses. In the long run, if you are a taker, you focus solely on your own performance and professional gain is detrimental to the organization and hurts everyone in it.

Givers, on the other hand, give of their best in time, talents, skills, knowledge and effort, and not just what they are being paid for. They help colleagues by offering assistance and sharing knowledge without expecting anything in return. Giver employees work to make a contribution and not just for the salary. Givers put the group’s interest ahead of themselves and believe there is enough for everyone, that we can all win together. They create opportunities for colleagues to contribute and build relationally.

Employees choose to give all or only an element of what they know or how. So being a giver or a taker is a choice each employee makes. Successful businesses predominantly have employees who arrive at work with the commitment to give more than they take.

Leaders who are givers, view staff as valuable contributors and seek to maximize their full human potential by, for example:

  • personalize performance standards that grow and stretch people
  • providing support, mentorship and tools to inspire greater achievement than staff thought they were capable of
  • Set value-based standards, not just performance-based standards

Leaders who value and model ‘giving’ behaviours can change the way that their team define success: Instead of saying it’s all about winning (takers), people will realize success is really more about contribution; it’s more about what you GIVE than what you get.

And giving is contagious! Acts of generosity in the workplace propagate and rapidly spread, benefiting EVERYONE: the giver, receiver, and the organization as a whole. Successful companies have the ability to reward, so be one of the givers to receive that much-deserved reward!

What has your experience been with team leaders that are givers or takers? Let us know in the comments, or pop us a message on Facebook!