11 Ways to be a Giver at Work

In the New York Times bestselling book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, author Adam Grant makes the case for being a “giver.” He writes, “Givers don’t wait for signs of potential. Because they tend to be trusting and optimistic about other people’s intentions, in their roles as leaders and mentors, givers are inclined to see the potential in everyone. By default, givers start by viewing people as bloomers. They see potential where others don’t, which sets in motion a series of self-fulfilling prophecies.”

Whether you are a leader or an individual contributor, you can be a giver at work. It doesn’t take any money, only a bit of time and an intention of generosity.

Here are eleven things you can give freely at work:

1. Encouragement. I’m working on a project that’s stretching me out of my comfort zone. A colleague sent me an encouraging email ending with “YOU’VE GOT THIS.” Those three simple words gave me courage to press on.

2. Thanks. Make your thank-you sincere, specific and heart-felt.

3. Time. Look around – who is struggling? What expertise can you share that will ease their load? Where can you step in and help out, even if just for a few minutes?

4. Attention. Put down your phone. Turn away from the computer. Look your colleague right in the eye and listen.

5. Praise. Commend someone’s mastery, not just that they’re “the best” at what they do.

6. Options. People appreciate choices. When at all possible, give them at least two ways to approach a situation. Better yet, let them come up with the options themselves.

7. Recognition. Giving appreciation isn’t a cookie-cutter deal. Be sure to tailor the way you give recognition.

8. Advice. But only when asked! Better yet, be a coach.

9. Trust. Many people say that trust must be “earned” but I believe in the giving of it freely. I mean, somebody has to go first when it comes to building a trusting relationship. Might as well be you.

10. Belief. Tell someone “I know you will be exactly what is needed.” Faith in someone’s abilities is a very powerful gift.  Let someone know you believe in them.

11. Civility and Respect. Researchers have found that incivility is a pernicious contagion at work. Here’s how leaders can help stamp out incivility.

What will you give today?

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