I think of at least four key ways of giving when I think about giving in an organizational or professional context.
Monetary gifts: Yes, money. People love the stuff. Lots of firms in lots of industries are hurting right now, thus using money as a “thank you” will be more difficult than usual. Good. What most leaders fail to realize is that money is best viewed as a secondary motivator. On to the more important views of giving…
The gift of helping. In terms of both morale and productivity, one of the most important behaviors at work is helping others. That is, not you doing your job, but proactively reaching out here and there when time allows to help others do their job. This is a simple and wonderful cornerstone of positive relations at work. In addition to directly contributing to productivity, it helps build trust and good will. Given how challenging conflict and negative emotions at work can sometimes be, couldn’t we use a bit more trust and good will?
The gift of being nice! A little related to the idea of “helping” but unique enough to warrant a quick thought. Guess what happens at work when people show emotions? Positive or negative, they tend to rub off on others. In fact, they rub off very easily and can either help or hinder productivity. Negative emotions spread like a virus. Positive emotions like a fresh breeze. By the way, if you’re a leader, take notice: the number one reason people leave jobs is poor “boss” relationships. Try being nice!
The gift of self improvement. I’ll end by talking about you giving to yourself. My wish for you is that you will take your 2009 New Year’s Resolution seriously! Real leaders do not simply strive to reach goals set for them by others – they actively develop their own personal worthwhile goals. Nothing is as satisfying as setting your sights on a meaningful goal, working hard and reaching the finish line. The more you embrace the goal setting mentality, the more you will control time instead of allowing time to control you.
Dr. Dewett is a nationally recognized leadership expert, professor, author, professional speaker and consultant specializing in all aspects of organizational life. As quoted in the New York Times, BusinessWeek, CNN, the Chicago Tribune, MSNBC and elsewhere. He is the author of Leadership Redefined. Podcasts, blog, free newsletter and more at http://www.drdewett.com Copyright 2009 TVA Inc.