In my career, I have observed two distinctly different employees: Givers and Takers. Givers rarely cause employee relations issues. Takers, however, are energy vampires on the prowl to suck the life out of anyone who steps inside your doors. I have provided a comparison of the two.
The Giver is an employee whose work and motivation is directed towards the mission of the organization. They play nice and are excellent team players. Their incentive is to win; and do it the right way. These conscientious people have selected their career out of a passion in life or will make the best of a not-so-great work situation.
How to Spot a Giver
- Takes initiative to work on projects that need to be done — without being asked.
- Asks for input and advice from peers and leaders when problems arise.
- If the company’s fire alarms sounds, he goes into action and begins looking for missing co-workers before leaving the building. He makes sure no one is left behind.
- Is uncomfortable with individual praise directed towards him. He believes the entire teams deserves the credit.
- He is interested in results, not scoring political points with the supervisor. Brown-nosers, in his opinion, hurt the team and obtain lower results.
- Sincerely cares for others before himself.
My father said there were two different kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better but the givers sleep better. — Marlo Thomas
How to Spot a Taker
- Must be told what to do with clear instructions — sometimes in writing. May want to know when break-time and lunch is scheduled.
- When problems arise, he rarely seeks advice from a veteran employee and makes his best guess. Even if a mistake could be very costly to the company.
- If the company’s fire alarm sounds, he likely is the first person running down the hallway or stairs, quickly forgetting his coworkers may need assistance.
- Loves, loves, loves individual praise, even if he had nothing to do with the reason for the accolades. He simply enjoys being the center of attention. He thinks he does all the heavy lifting for the team and without him, the team couldn’t survive.
- He is more interested in scoring political points with senior management. He carefully observes their work patterns and comes in early and leaves in the evening immediately after his supervisor walks out the door. Presence and face time, not results, is his political currency.
- He lives for himself and believes the world owes him success.
Feel free to add your comments and opinions. Discussion on these topics within the comments section of our blog helps both participants and the audience.
Questions to Consider
- Which characteristic best describes you?
- Evaluate (secretly) your coworkers, supervisor, senior leadership and CEO.
Graphic Credit: Mountan Park Community Church, Phoenix, Arizona