On the cover of his new book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Adam Grant is described as an award-winning researcher and highest-rated teacher at The Wharton School [of business]. Grant weaves together research findings, personal stories, and expert analysis to argue that success depends less on passion, talent, and hard-work, and more on relationships.
The book identifies three broad ways of interacting that apply to business but could apply as well to leadership and relationships in general. Takers like to get more than they give – putting their own goals ahead of the needs of others. Matchers strive to preserve a balance between taking and giving. It is the mentality where we help others but with the expectation that others will reciprocate and return the favor by helping us. Givers are other-focused, more concerned about helping and encouraging than in benefiting from other people. Here are two questions from the book: Based on extensive research findings, which group is most likely to end up at the bottom of the success ladder? Which group is most likely to be at the top? Think of how you would answer before reading on. Here is Grant’s answer:
“Across occupations, it appears that many givers are too caring, too trusting and too willing to sacrifice their own interests for the benefits of others.” There is evidence that they earn less money than the other groups, get less accolades, and are perceived as being less dominant and powerful. Givers dominate the bottom of the success scale. Who is most likely to be at the top? The surprising answer is the givers again. Givers, especially those who demonstrate competence, are liked, respected, admired and given opportunities to succeed. In contrast, takers and matchers are less trusted. They are viewed with skepticism and a suspicion that they’ll use others to fulfill their own agendas.
Grant shows how the successful givers set boundaries and don’t let others treat them as doormats. These givers are often gracious and encouraging, but they are not pushovers. For this they earn even more respect, trust and ultimate career and financial success. Ponder how this applies to you and to the people you minister to, lead, teach, coach or befriend. Does this have biblical implications? Please comment.