Those motivated by adding value (givers) are most likely to thrive in business.

Adam Grant, is his book Give & Take, examines why helping others drives our success. This insightful research explains the three types of how we interact with others in business. There are those, who are motivated solely by taking their share (“takers”), those who want everyone to have their fair share (“matchers”) and of course, those who are motivated by generosity (“givers”). Contrary to popular belief, its the last category, the generous givers, who are predetermined to thrive in business.

Here are some unexpected reasons for why givers succeed in business;

  1. Powerless communication is influential

Most of the time we’re told to be confident, to speak up, to assert ourselves, and sometimes, that’s necessary. However, Adam says there’s nothing more convincing than giving up power.

When you communicate powerlessly, you don’t focus on what’s in it for you. Instead, you focus on the other person and you ask questions and seek advice. It creates zero resistance in the other person, because it puts them in power, so naturally, many people will choose to help you.

A story that comes to mind is the female working at a Fortune 500 company, forced to quit her MBA studies as she was asked to relocate for work. Feeling powerless and vulnerable she asked her manager “what would you do?”, the company in response to this open, path of least resistance reasoning gave her access to the company’s private jet so that she could relocate and continue with her MBA. Why? When we are vulnerable we remove “the game”, we become human, remind other people to be human and that makes it an incredibly powerful communication tool.

2.  Givers don’t face burnout

Motivated by a need to add value – givers don’t log hours, they just have to see more of the impact they make when helping others.

As long as you see the purpose in the things you do, there a very few limits on your productivity. Burnout, Grant boldly states, is for the purposeless. Ensure you have a way to see the impact you have as often as possible and no matter how long it takes you’ll get it done, because it won’t feel like work, it will feel like your purpose.

3. Givers are cognisant of the thin line between being a giver and a doormat

Givers are not doormat’s but doormats were once givers, who failed to draw boundaries around their generosity.

To avoid being a doormat leader, givers must create boundaries around their giving to prevent burn-out.

Boundaries also help effective leaders to overcome being taken advantage of by the takers. To effectively draw boundaries the giver needs to absorb some of the characteristics of the “matcher”. Give but be cognisant of your business needs also.

Adding value without getting burned-out or taken advantage of is not easy in aggressive business environments but then who ever said effective leadership was easy? Givers benefit in the long run because their values will create a large network of allies and friends, plus an excellent reputation that will make them an asset for any professional organisation.

Artwork by Wedgirl



The things that emotionally intelligent people won’t do

Emotional intelligence is largely about “self-awareness”.  It’s about being in control of our emotions and understanding our emotional triggers. People who are self aware make rational, not impulsive communication decisions. Most conflicts arise when we react in an uncontrolled way, driven by emotions, as opposed to calm logic. Not only does emotional intelligence give us more clarity over ourselves but it also increases our ability to understand and manage other peoples emotions – this kind of insight is invaluable in the business world where versatile characters (and egos) collaborate, daily.

Following an intensive research project by Talent Smart, whereby the emotional intelligence of over 1 million people was studied, here is a comprehensive list of what emotionally intelligent people won’t do (it’s worth taking note) and why it’s conducive to their success.

1.They will not live in the past

Remembering failure erodes self-confidence and makes it hard to believe you’ll be successful in the future. Emotionally intelligent people recognise that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure. Success means risk taking and you can’t allow belief of failure to stop you from taking chances on yourself.

2. They won’t dwell on negatives

Fixating on problems means, you prolong anxiety and stress, which undermines performance and your ability to think rationally. When you focus on actions to better yourself and/or circumstances, you create a sense of self power which creates positive emotions and improves productivity. Emotionally intelligent people won’t dwell on problems because they know they’re most effective when they focus on solutions.

3. They won’t let anyone else change their happiness

This means emotionally intelligent people do not compare themselves to others. They recognise their own achievements and self worth and do not allow any external influence to dent their happiness. This crucially means that no matter what happens externally, their happiness comes from within and is unfettered by anyone around them.

4. They won’t forget

Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, they don’t waste time or energy prolonging negative emotions – but they never forget. Emotionally intelligent people won’t allow the mistakes of others to hold them back and as such they will not give wrongdoers a second chance.

5. They won’t die in a fight

Emotionally intelligent people are not driven by their ego. They know which battles really matter. If a battle is being fought for emotional/egotistical reasons – then they will take no issues with backing down.

6. They won’t prioritise perfection

Emotionally intelligent people don’t focus on perfection because they know it doesn’t exist. Instead, they enjoy their path to success and focus on what really matters not the small details.

7. They won’t hold grudges

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Learning to let go of a grudge will not only make you feel better now but can also improve your health.

8. They eliminate toxic people from their social circles

Toxic people are those who, due to their own issues, drain the energy of those around them. They take the form of complainers, competitors, narcissists, self-pityers and many more. Emotionally intelligent people realise success is a culture and only choose to surround themselves with people who focus on solutions not problems.

9.They won’t say yes unless they really want to

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have in saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, and depression. Saying no is a major challenge for most people. However “No” is a powerful word that emotionally intelligent people are not afraid to us. Saying no to a new commitment honours existing commitments, giving you the time to successfully fulfill them.

Image curtesy of Image Flow on Shutterstock 


Neurodiversity and why we need it at work

Neurodiversity is a framework that embraces a variety of brain makeups. It understands that not everyone is the same and instead of outcasting certain brain disorders, it embraces them for their unique strengths. Workplaces today are built around neuro-typical people for example, eye contact is important and offices can have several over-stimulating features. The impetus for encouraging neurodiversity is that, not only are neurodiverse people underserved in the workplace but they are overlooked.

The business case for neurodiversity in the workplace

A few months ago, Yahoo announced it’s Neurodiversity Employee Resource Group (ERG) to help neurodiverse individuals be open about their strengths and challenges and get their needs accommodated in the workplace. The ERG was started by Margaux Joffe, Yahoo’s head of production, global marketing department, who also has ADHD and founded The Kaleidoscope Society for women with ADHD. In her interview with Jenara Nuremberg for Fast Company she states, “This goes way beyond the personal, and there is absolutely a business case for embracing neurodiversity at work…Many times, the only thing holding us back is thinking we need to work like others. Build on your strengths and be fearless. This goes for everyone.”

Entrepreneur and writer Nick Walker agrees about the importance of embracing differences at work. Walker, in his blog about being autistic,states, “The greater the diversity of the pool of available minds, the greater the diversity of perspectives, talents, and ways of thinking–and thus the greater the probability of generating an original insight, solution, or creative contribution.”

The point is, by only empowering a certain type of person to have a voice, you are excluding the possible genius of another. By simply making a few amendments in the workplace you can  embrace neurodiversity.

How to make your business embrace neurodiversity

  • Educate HR and workers on neurodiversity, if you want to be more inclusive you need to gain an understanding of how others work.
  • Incorporate flexible working. For some neurodiverse individuals the over-stimulating workplace crushes their ability to be successful – give them the option of working from a quieter space or from home.
  • Use roles that rely less on linear thinking. More creative roles can produce better results for the company and the employee.
  • Make mental health challenges habitual by holding regular support circles on wellbeing, self-esteem, diversity, boundaries, and communication.



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