Being a giver can help you get ahead in the long run

Give and Take
The cover of "Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success" by Adam Grant.
Courtesy of the publisher

Are you a giver, a taker or a matcher?

Organizational psychologist Adam Grant has found that most people fit into one of these three categories. Takers try to get as much as they can from others while contributing as little as they can. Givers enjoy contributing to others more than receiving. Most people are matchers, meaning they give what they can but look for people to make it up to them.

The givers are disproportionately represented on the ends of the spectrum of success. They are more likely to fail dramatically or succeed greatly. Takers, on the other hand, will succeed in the short run but have more difficulty finding long-term success. As the world has become more connected, the poor reputation of takers makes it harder for them to stay on top.

Grant is a giver himself. "For Grant, helping is not the enemy of productivity, a time-sapping diversion from the actual work at hand; it is the mother lode, the motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity," writes Susan Dominus in The New York Times. "In some sense, he has built a career in professional motivation by trying to unpack the puzzle of his own success. He has always helped; he has always been productive. How, he has wondered for most of his professional life, does the interplay of those two factors work for everyone else?"

Not only is he a super giver, he also does magic:


Viewpoint: Good Guys Can Win at Work "There's reason to believe that in the long run, the greatest success -- and the richest meaning -- will come to those who, instead of cutting other people down, pursue their personal ambitions in ways that lift others up." (Time)

Yes, Power Corrupts, But Power Also Reveals "Perhaps gaining power doesn't cause people to act like takers. It simply creates the opportunity for people who think like takers to express themselves." (Adam's Blog)

The best lie detectors in the workplace "The other possibility is that by trusting others, we sharpen our skills in reading people. Skeptics assume that most people are hiding or misrepresenting something. This makes them interpersonally risk-averse, whereas people who habitually trust others get to see a wider range of actions -- from honesty to deception and generosity to selfishness." (The Washington Post)

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