Tip 37: Productive Giving

03 Feb 2017 11:27 AM | Heather Kaye (Administrator)

Generous givers are a must for a thriving organization. How can we nurture this trait and avoid burnout? In Adam Grant and Reb Rebelle’s article Beat Generosity Burnout, they outline in detail with fascinating research, how selflessness can lead to exhaustion, but being thoughtful about about how you help, when you help, and whom you help results productive giving and a meaningful happy life. The following are excerpts from their article and research. If you have a few extra minutes to read the full article, you will be encouraged and clearer about how to manage your own giving.

“Research shows that across industries the people who make the most sustainable contributions to organizations — those who offer the most direct support, take the most initiative, and make the best suggestions — protect their time so that they can work on their own goals too. Being an effective giver isn’t about dropping everything every time for every person. It’s about making sure that the benefits of helping others outweigh the costs to you. Finding ways to give without depleting your time and energy. Reactive helping is exhausting, but proactive giving can be energizing. 

These are the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Givers:

  • Prioritize the help requests that come your way — say yes when it matters most and no when you need to.
  • Give in ways that play to your interests and strengths to preserve your energy and provide greater value.
  • Distribute the giving load more evenly — refer requests to others when you don’t have the time or skills, and be careful not to reinforce gender biases about who helps and how.
  • Secure your oxygen mask first — you’ll help others more effectively if you don’t neglect your own needs.
  • Amplify your impact by looking for ways to help multiple people with a single act of generosity.
  • Chunk your giving into dedicated days or blocks of time rather than sprinkling it throughout the week. You’ll be more effective — and more focused.
  • Learn to spot takers, and steer clear of them. They’re a drain on your energy, not to mention a performance hazard.

We all can be more thoughtful about how we help. Building on a nationally representative poll of Americans, we’ve found six profiles of giving:

  • Experts share knowledge.
  • Coaches teach skills.
  • Mentors give advice and guidance.
  • Connectors make introductions.
  • Extra-milers show up early, stay late, and volunteer for extra work.
  • Helpers provide hands-on task support and emotional support.

The bad news is that givers are vulnerable to takers. They tend to trust too readily and see the best in everyone. But that can actually make them better lie detectors, research shows. Because they trust others, they are lied to more often. Givers get to see the full spectrum of human behavior. If they pay close attention, they can learn to recognize the clues that reveal selfishness:

  • Acting entitled to people’s help.
  • Claiming credit for success while blaming others for failure.
  • Kissing up and kicking down.
  • Being nice to your face and then stabbing you in the back — or being nice only when seeking a favor.
  • Overpromising and underdelivering.

As David Aikman at the World Economic Forum puts it, “There are talker-takers and giver-doers.” 

 © 2017 The Leadership Sanctuary
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