Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by author Adam Grant—in Malcolm Gladwell style—does a great job using research and illustrations to pull out truths we can use to grow our leadership and deepen our people skills. Give and Take does a deep dive to help you understand three mindsets:
These insights are VERY practical with regard to understanding how people think and influence hiring, firing, helping, and day-to-day leading, growing, and interacting with people.
Below is a brief overview from each section of Give and Take:
- Success depends heavily on our interaction with others. When givers succeed it creates a “pay it forward” atmosphere and, as leaders, this is the kind of culture that needs to be fostered.
“Let me be clear that givers, takers, and matchers all can—and do—achieve success. But there’s something distinctive that happens when givers succeed: it spreads and cascades. When takers win, there’s usually someone else who loses. Research shows that people tend to envy successful takers and look for ways to knock them down a notch.”
- Examples and insights into the cultures created by givers and takers are given, along with the outcome of both styles.
“I’ll sum up the key to success in one word: generosity,” writes Keith Ferrazzi. “If your interactions are ruled by generosity, your rewards will follow suit.”
- The success of both team and individual accomplishments and the ripple effects are viewed through the lenses of giving and taking.
“Extensive research reveals that people who give their time and knowledge regularly to help their colleagues end up earning more raises and promotions in a wide range of settings…”
- Through a number of compelling stories, we see how giving leaders do an incredible job of developing others.
“If you want to engage your audience, if you really want to grab their attention, you have to know the world they live in, the music they listen to, the movies they watch,” he explains. “To most of these kids, accounting is like a root canal. But when they hear me quote Usher or Cee Lo Green, they say to themselves, ‘Whoa, did that fat old white-haired guy just say what I thought he said?’ And then you’ve got ’em.”
- Givers and takers influence people differently. Adams explains how the methods of influence used by givers are more powerful, what they look like, and how they work.
“Takers tend to worry that revealing weaknesses will compromise their dominance and authority. Givers are much more comfortable expressing vulnerability: they’re interested in helping others, not gaining power over them, so they’re not afraid of exposing chinks in their armor. By making themselves vulnerable, givers can actually build prestige.”
- Being a successful giver also means being aware of the potential problems and how to avoid them.
“Givers don’t burn out when they devote too much time and energy to giving. They burn out when they’re working with people in need but are unable to help effectively.”
- We usually determine people’s native giving or taking style based on their personality or demeanor, but are we overlooking key details?
“Whether you’re nice or not nice is separate from whether you’re self-focused or other-focused. They’re independent, not opposites. When you combine outer appearances and inner intentions, agreeable givers and disagreeable takers are only two of the four combinations that exist in the world.”
- The importance of commonality, connection, and distinctiveness are explained, as well as their impact on giving and taking.
“…people rarely have a single reciprocity style that they apply uniformly to every domain of their lives. If a group develops a norm of giving, members will uphold the norm and give, even if they’re more inclined to be takers or matchers elsewhere.”
- Make the transition from being a taker to a giver, and being a giver in a non-giving field.
“People often take because they don’t realize that they’re deviating from the norm. In these situations, showing them the norm is often enough to motivate them to give—especially if they have matcher instincts.”
Give and Take ends with some great insights and ideas on how to change your workplace culture and your personal style. It’s also a great book for leaders looking to develop a better understanding of people, and to grow their leadership.
This is the kind of book you can give as a Christmas gift to the leader/mentor in your life, or to someone you may be helping grow as a leader.
You can purchase Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M Grant here:
Buy on Amazon
Givers vs Takers
Gifts Only Great Leaders Can Give