Are you a giver or a taker?


Have you ever considered your role at work? In all workplaces you will find givers and you will find takers. These two kinds of people are totally different and takers might end up ruining their own work sphere.

The psychology of a taker.
The real world is a vision that exists inside your head. What you see and experience as the truth is only true to you and to no one else. The life you live is a fiction of your own experience and perspective all put together to create a reality that suits you. A taker is negative, selfish and is only in it for the benefits in a “me”-centered universe. What is in it for me? Other people might be obstacles, threats or bricks. What is logic for a giver might be outright stupid for a taker. A taker will only do the amount of work necessary to stay with the job. It won’t work extra hours unless it pays well. The takers do not appreciate motivational incentives and have a low work moral. Most of the energy is spent on figuring out how to escape responsibility and work.

The psychology of a giver.
A giver has a positive image of reality. They live in a “you”-centered universe. How can I make your life easier? How can I help my company to reach their goals? A giver wants to perform at a high level to the best of the team. They see other people as resources and they are willing to put in the little extra hours to finish their tasks. A giver might also even work for free just to help out. A giver might contribute with ideas and volunteer for tasks and projects. The giver does this because they know it will help for the overall situation of the company. The giver might show initiative to teach others to perform also.

The scale.
On each end we have extreme givers and takers. Some givers sacrifice their own happiness or self for the better of others, while takers might sacrifice others for the better of themselves. All of us are placed somewhere between.

The pitfall of a giver.
A giver seems like a model worker, but the pitfall here might be overworking, ignoring their own alerts. And they also might end up feeling neglected, because they might want recognition for all their extra efforts. An extreme giver might be abused in the office as they do not necessary know how to say no. They might end up burned out and underpaid as they also might work extra hours without claiming overtime pay. A giver therefore needs to be taken good care of. As a leader you might want to make sure that the givers do not work too much for free. We all appreciate the extra effort that givers give, but there is no need to exploit it.

The pitfall of a taker.
A taker might contribute to a negative atmosphere at work, but this is not absolutely true. A taker might be very social, as this is a method of ditching work. But others will see that the taker is a problem at the office as all others end up doing his or her work. The takers are hard to motivate for overtime. They know all the rules around the office and they know exactly how many days they can be sick pr year. Takers are more likely to skip a day of work. The taker is not contributing to the overall efficiency. And they might end up as a burden.

How to change the matrix.
Both givers and takers are at an extreme a problem for any manager. What can be done to change this perspective? You might end up being quite a psychologist if you want to adjust either of them.

Same place, different planets.
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, givers are from Jupiter and takers are from Saturn. That these two of a kind live and work at the same place might be hard to get for anybody, but reality is a perception of a mindset. “Look at those kids playing, how cute” – “Yeez! Is it possible to make those noisy brats shut up” – Both quotes are from the same playground, two people standing next to each other looking at the very same reality.

A giver needs limits, it is nice to see that you work the extra hours, but you need to report overtime on it, or even for periods of time you might need to limit the possibility work for them to prevent burnouts.

Takers need a reality change and are the hardest ones to work with. You need to train them to accept your coaching methods. That itself might be hard, as they might not be open for your “mumbo jumbo”. As the manager you are so lucky that you can demand them to follow your command. The job you need to do is to create a plausible alternative reality that he can accept as the truth. For instance Joe does hate Mark. You talk to Joe, and sit down to find an alternative truth. Joes truth is that Mark is a jerk and all his blabber just do not make sense. The manager might say; “Joe, can you find one positive thing about Mark?” – Joe might say no, but do not give up, even the most negative will find one thing they might agree on. Joe might say stuff like, Mark is always on time. Can Joe accept that it is nice that Mark is always on time? Can Joe write down each time Mark is on time, in this way; I like it, Mark is on time today. Mark is a man that is always on time and that is great. Mark might end up being a great guy because he is always on time. It might be hard and it might take long. Some are easy to turn around some should be fired. What if working with Mark gives you an experience in dealing with co-workers that sucks? Is that positive for you? These small alternations in their reality might end up with moving the taker closer to the giver side of the scale.

If you are a taker.
Do you recognize yourself as a taker? Work with alternative realities. Try to find positive things to focus on. Your boss might be pushy, but he just might care for you to perform better. Your boss do care that you do such a great job that your job is safe. Your boss wants you to be good.

Alter realities might even work in other areas of your life.

I am a chocoholic. I am addicted to chocolate; I need to eat it twice or more each day. Each time I get close to a chocolate bar, I want it. Chocolate helps me relax and helps me to deal with stress. If I need to complete a large task, it is nice to have chocolate to calm me down. This is a reality for me. I am working with my inner dialogue trying to alter the truth. I am not a chocoholic; I do not need chocolate each day. If I manage to avoid buying one, it is great for my health. And it is positive for my economy, not only do I consume less calories, I also save money. I will save $1500 a year if I manage to quit eating chocolate 5 out of 7 days. If I also replace one of these “meals” with a small salad I am also giving me a health boost. I focus on the positive alternative reality that I can believe in. I believe that I want to save $1500 each year. I do want to diet. I know that if I drop chocolate I will lose weight over time just by not eating it. I think about the nice things I can buy for $1500 if I succeed. I can eat a Kiwi instead of a chocolate before a task, as it will give me energy and it is rich on vitamin C, giving me protection against the flu.

There are a lot of alternative realities here that I can believe in. And this dialogue happens each time I want candy. Sometimes reason wins and sometimes lust. But all together I am reducing consume as I believe that I am not dependant, and I work with the positive angles of my reality.

If I manage not to buy one I might celebrate as I managed to save to my $1500 goal, I improve my health by substituting this craving with a glass of water.
This is what it is about. Find your reality, alter it and become your new reality. If you truly believe in something it might happen. Try it out; tomorrow go to work with a positive attitude, try to have fun and smile all day (If your mood is crap, try to pretend to be in a nice mood). Notice what happens. Do a few gestures for others, praise their work or pour them coffee. I am sure that this will make you feel happy. Because if you smile you contribute to changing the reality of others, you are a giver. Good luck. – Please feel free to comment on how your happy day at work went.

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