In our combined 30+ years of coaching, one of the observations we have made is that some people tend to be concerned about giving enough to the organization for which they work, and some tend to be concerned about getting enough from the organization for which they work. The phenomenon peaked our curiosity so we looked around to see if this approach continued over time or was specific to one situation or another.
Overall, we found that there is a group of people who, as they enter into systems, tend to look for how they can support the system and see the world through eyes that consistently look at how they can give to the people and organization they work with. Then there are others who tend to look for how the system can support them and move through the world looking through eyes that scan for ways they can get what they need from the people and organizations they work with.
This begs the question, is one right and one wrong?
In our experience neither is right or wrong but rather both are important, and those who can integrate the two approaches seem both happier and more effective than those who rely on one or the other view.
As executive coaches, we have found it critical to empower the “givers” to take more action on their own behalf while working in the organizational system. We have taught them to access their power and their voice and to advocate on their own behalf as well as on the behalf of others. In those same years, we have empowered the “takers” to give more support to members of their team while also working to advance in the system. We have taught them to build engagement and successes through supporting the accomplishments of others.
In our work, we know that the success of organizations depends on the ability of its leaders and managers to give and to take. Doing one without the other creates imbalance for the individuals who are the givers or takers, and for the teams they work with.
We invite you this week to reflect on whether you are adept at giving and taking. Are you able to give the organization the best of your skills to create organizational success while also taking advantage of opportunities that come your way to further your personal success? If you tend to do one more readily over the other, we encourage you to start looking for opportunities to develop the other skill. Organizations today need leaders and managers who know how to give and take and how to develop those skills in others.