Grant: Don’t Give Until it Hurts

Create a workplace atmosphere where ‘givers’ thrive.

Is workplace altruism a sucker’s bet?

It can be if you help others to the detriment of yourself, said Adam Grant, Wharton School of Business professor and author of “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.”

Speaking at the America’s Credit Union Conference Wednesday in New York, Grant identified three types of employees:

  • Givers, those rare folks who enjoy helping others without taking credit;
  • Takers, manipulative people who try to get as much as they can from others without giving anything in return; and
  • Matchers, those who’ll help others as long as they eventually get something in return. Most employees fall into this category.

Givers often are the worst performers, Grant said. “They can be the least productive and make the most errors because they’re too busy helping their peers.”

But in the long run, those who help others succeed often advance themselves because they help create value for their organizations.

“If we create an atmosphere where givers thrive,” Grant said, “we can lift all boats.”

Organizations can create such a culture by:

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