Beat Generosity Burnout - Deepstash

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Give And Take

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 ‘servant leaders’ when they move up the corporate ladder, are at a huge risk of burnout.

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The Selfless Employee

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 givers are at risk of burnout and are also making other people sit idle who could have taken their load. Successful companies are increasingly wanting their employees to protect their time, and ensure a work-life balance.

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The Selfless Teacher

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 lower scores at the end of the year.

Selfless givers lose out, and end up hurting the people they wanted to help.

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The Generosity Spectrum

  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. Like gift exchanges, matching is a transactional process and can add value to everyone involved.
  3. Self-protective givers display limited generosity and look for low-cost, high-impact ways to be generous.
  4. Selfless givers are mostly concerned about others and ignore their own needs. They set no boundaries and exhaust themselves in order to help others, which paradoxically is not any help at all.

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Every No Is Important

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.

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Effective Giving: How, When And Whom

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 you can, and do it effectively, maybe by taking out blocks of time in a week.
  • Help those who deserve your help, not falling in the trap of takers, who deplete your energy and take all they can from you.

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The Six Profiles of Giving

  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 that one does well and enjoys, to offer unique value as a giver.

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Seven Habits Of Highly Productive Giving

  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 reinforce any gender biases.
  4. You are sure to help others more effectively if you don’t forget to take care of your own needs first.
  5. Try to amplify your impact by helping multiple people with one single act.
  6. Break down your giving into blocks of time instead of all at one go.
  7. Spot any takers and do not engage with them, to preserve your energy.

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Takers: Signs To Run Away

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 two-faced and are nice on your face while bitching about you behind your back.
  5. They overpromise and underdeliver.
  6. They are nice to you when they see something they can take, or are seeking a favor.
  7. They insist on interacting and wanting help from you on their own terms, imposing it on you.
  8. If you give an inch, they will try to take a mile.
  9. They assume a help channel is now open for their disposal.

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