Are You a Giver or a Taker?

Have you ever wondered about your personality and if you’re more of a giver or a taker? In a recent episode of the Tony Robbins podcast, a renowned organisational Psychologist, Adam Grant, recently discussed personality dynamics. I found it very intriguing and thought provoking and I wanted to share it with you.

Adam Grant has been recognised as one of the worlds 25 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s 40 under 40. He’s done Ted Talks and is a New York Times bestselling author.

Giving and taking is more about people’s internal motives. Adam explains how takers are self-serving in their interactions and that their mentality is “what can you do for me?” In contrast the givers mentality is “what can I do for you?” Everyone is both a giver and a taker throughout their life but whatever style the majority of your interactions are will determine what side you’re mostly on; also known as your default.

Most people stay around the middle of giving and taking, which is also known as a matcher. This is where you try to have an even balance of giving and taking. This mentality is “I’ll do something for you if you do something for me.”

Matchers believe in an eye for an eye so when they meet a taker they believe that it’s their mission to punish the taker so that justice gets served.

How do we increase givers? Adam talked about the five-minute favour. He explains how you don’t have to do huge acts to be a giver but instead do little acts for others to add value to their lives. It could be as simple as introducing two people that may benefit from meeting or giving feedback to help someone to be better.

Successful givers realise that they can receive help from others as well. Asking others for help is important and ensures that givers don’t get burnt out, which is often an issue with high givers.

One factor that makes it hard to determine if someone is a taker is the personality trait of agreeableness. Agreeable people come off as nice and polite where disagreeable people are hard and liked less. These traits are outside traits that come out when socialising with others. Giver and taker qualities are internal traits that correlate with personal values related to their intentions from others.

An agreeable taker is the hardest person to determine. Just because someone is friendly it does not mean that the person actually cares about you. They are the person who will be nice to your face but will stab you in the back if they need to.

Takers are also great when dealing with powerful people because they know that they can get ahead when they impress someone above them. Eventually they end up learning that it’s a lot of work to pretend to care about others and they end up letting their guard down when they deal with other equal co-workers or subordinates. So it’s a red flag when someone has a great reputation with the higher roles in an organisation and a mixed or negative reputation with equals and people below them.

Here are a few questions to determine if you’re a taker. Take a minute to think about your responses.

  1. Name three people whose careers you have fundamentally improved.

  2. What has caused your success and your failures?

  3. What percentage of people steal $10 in a typical month from their employer?

Based on how you answered those questions, it can give a little insight into how you think and whether you’re more of a giver or a taker.

For the first question the takers will name all three people and they will all be more influential than them. This is to make themselves look better. The giver will also name three people but often people in roles below them.

In the second question the takers will talk more using “I’s” and “me’s” and are more quick to blame others for their failures and mistakes.

For the third question the higher your percentage that others are thieves shows the more likelihood that you yourself would be a thief. When people are asked this question they will mostly likely ask themselves what they would do first and then they project that onto others.

Often, the best way to catch takers is through interviews by asking them the above questions and seeing how they respond.

In your own life, you can create a question based on the taking behaviour that you’re most worried about and then ask it to the person as a percentage based question. For example: What percentage do you think co-workers take credit for other people’s ideas at work? If they give a high percentage, ask them to explain why. If they talk about how people are selfish etc. then it’s a red flag that they themselves are selfish.

Whether you’re currently a giver or a taker doesn’t matter. What really matters is the type of person that you’re going to choose be from this point on.

By: Cortnie Dawn

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