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Beat Generosity Burnout

hbr.org

Give And Take

Adding value to an organization requires people to be generous to others. Givers help people connect, sponsor promising ideas, share their knowledge with others without a hitch, and even volunteer to do work that requires time and effort.

These people, who are often called ‘servan...

Collaborative overload is common in workplaces all across the world, and the selfless givers who put the company’s and other's interests over their own are the victims. They cannot say no to extra work and responsibilities, often drawing in endless meetings, projects, and emails.

These...

A selfless attitude to help others seems to be logical for givers, but tends to have the opposite effect on others. A study on teachers trying to tutor students revealed that those who were exhausting themselves trying to help every student by working nights and weekends had students achieve ...

  1. Takers are the ones using every opportunity to advance their own agenda. They can ruin you if left unchecked. These people act as if they deserve your help, and try to impose on your time.
  2. Matchers are tit for tat traders, who expect reciprocity. L...

We are all time-constrained and saying No to certain requests frees up our time to say Yes to stuff that matters the most.

Being productive does not mean draining yourself trying to fulfill every ad hoc request of others, and is actually a great way to experience burnout.

Being an effective and productive giver needs some thought on how one can help, when can help be given and whom you can help.

  • If you don’t know how to help, your help can fall flat, and will be ineffective or even cause new problems to the takers.
  • Help when ...

  1. Knowledge and expertise.
  2. Coaching or skill-building.
  3. Mentoring and guiding.
  4. Connecting with others.
  5. Volunteering for extra work.
  6. Helping with hands-on tasks or providing emotional support.

One needs to identify two or three ways tha...

  1. Prioritize your help requests, saying no to many unnecessary ones.
  2. Try to give in ways that preserve your energy and provides great value, while related to your core competencies.
  3. Manage the ‘giving’ load and refer to others what can’t be done by you, and try not to reinfo...

Givers will be attracted to takers and would even trust them. Here are a few signs to watch out for:

  1. Takers are selfish and act entitled to your help.
  2. They claim credit for their success while blaming others for failure.
  3. They are sycophants.
  4. They are mostly...

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