“The more I help out, the more successful I become.”
-Adam Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

Good leadership is developed through a variety of different ways. Time and experience can be wonderful teachers—but great leaders know to look to other sources for inspiration. In Adam Grant’s brilliant book, Give and Take, he offers leaders a unique perspective. He defines Givers as “as preferring to give more than they get.” Grant demonstrates that Givers dominate the top of their area…across all fields.

People want to work for Givers. They give more and work harder for Givers, propelling them to the top of their performance brackets. Gone are the days of the unapproachable and mysterious leaders– the best employees want to work for the Givers of the world. They want to invest their talents in someone who’s invested in them.

That is why effective leaders give and take the following advice:

1. Look ahead…

It’s easy to get caught up in the short term. “How can I finish the quarter strong?” Will I get a pay bump? What’s my next career step?” Of course, it’s important to ask these questions, but they can distract from long-term thinking. As a leader, it’s important to encourage your employees to look ahead, at ultimate career goals, and the long-term. Developed leaders deposit time and energy into their employees, even if they move on to another job. Mentorship that is selfless and truly transformational shows that you are invested in your team members and in turn they will invest more in you.

2. Ask For Their Advice…

“Regardless of their reciprocity styles, people love to be asked for advice.”

-Adam Grant

There’s an old trap that new leaders often fall into: the fear to show any weakness. They fear
that they will lose the respect of their team if there is anything that they can not do. They take it all on themselves, inevitably blundering some aspect along the way and ultimately losing the respect of their team. An effective leader is upfront about their shortcomings. They show that they are not afraid to pass off tasks or ask for help. Through their vulnerability, their wisdom glistens and their team develops a stronger respect towards them. Asking your team members for their advice shows that you trust their opinions. It shows your belief in their talents and gives them the confidence to go out and perform to their full capabilities.

3. Stay Curious…

Lastly, a great leader encourages their team to stay curious. Everyone should be aware of the
dangers of groupthink, especially in a team that has been together for years. In this digital age, all fields are subject to shift at any time. The team that is quick to pivot and adjust will stay ahead of the competition. It also allows for members to feel like essential individuals, not replaceable parts of a machine.

When you empower your team with these ideas, your team will feel valued. They will give more to you because you give more to them. Furthermore, you will build the kind of culture that attracts the best talent; your reputation will grow and drive with it your success. As Adam Grant says, “the giver advantage grows over time.”

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