I was reading Adam Grant’s Give and Take, and according to Adam, there are three types of people. Givers, Takers, and Matchers.

  • Givers like to give more than they get, paying attention to what others need.
  • Takers like to get more than they give, seeing the world as a competitive place and primarily looking out for themselves.
  • And matchers balance and give on a quid pro quo basis, willing to exchange favors but careful about not being exploited.

Adam’s research also points that “Givers” are more successful in lives than takers or matchers, even though it comes with a cost.

Imagine you are a hiring manager in a large enterprise and you have been asked to build a team. Question: Would you hire generous givers, selfish takers or transactional matchers?

Good news is, we don’t have to worry much about this answer as Adam shares his thought process in this HBR article. Givers are the best. However, organisational KRAs/Individual-based incentive system creates competition among employees and forces them to act like takers impeding the collaboration.

Adam also suggests the solution:

Part of the solution must involve targeting the takers in the organization—providing incentives for them to collaborate and establishing repercussions for refusing reasonable requests

The article also has some good tip for managers/leaders to consciously create the right environment for building the high performing team.

There are three payoffs associated with teaching employees about the power of agency, boundaries on availability, and perspective taking. The first is saving your best employees—those who exemplify collegial generosity—from being taken advantage of and helping them to gain stature as successful givers instead. The second is enabling employees who fear the risks of giving to contribute more to others and to the success of the enterprise. The third is creating a culture of and reputation for generosity that attracts more givers to your organization and appeals less to takers.

The next question I would like to ask is,

Do you think that empowering the team to self-organize will ensure that all the givers, takers and matchers start collaborating automatically?  Or do you think that leaders intervention is still needed to handle the personality issues in self-organizing/self-managing teams?

Before I end this post, here are my upcoming Certified LeSS Practitioner trainings in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. You can register for these courses using the links below:

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