If, as Adam Grant wrote in a 2013 article ‘Give and Take’, leaders need to be givers, must they also be the consummate ‘nice guy’ as well?
On May 6 I had written an article offering the opinion that serial takers needed to be avoided at all costs and that like-minded people going out of their way to help each other was one of the basic tenets of successful networking (Serial Takers: Avoid Networking With These People At All Costs!).
I defend that point but, that being said, is it imperative for said givers to be a nice guys or is it okay for them to be ‘jerks’?
Apparently, according to an article at The Atlantic, the answer to that question is that being a little bit prickly may be preferable to being a perennial pushover.
‘Being a doormat—in other words, being a wholly selfless giver—is a straight shot to the bottom, says Grant. Givers occupy both ends of the success spectrum. To reach the positive end, don’t allow yourself to be walked over. Act toward the benefit of others in your network, but don’t stretch yourself too thin.
The point is, you don’t have to be nice to be a giver. In fact, being a little “prickly” can actually be an advantage because it helps you get stuff done. Grant calls the most effective givers “disagreeable givers.” In this case, obnoxiousness doesn’t really matter. Who cares if the person connecting you to a potential new employer is a little arrogant, or if your team leader has a bit of a chip on his shoulder if it makes him fight for resources for your group?
As the article’s author makes clear, “jerks, narcissists and takers engage in behaviors to satisfy their own ego,” while Grant’s disagreeable givers are tough on others to fulfill a group goal. Remember that the next time your boss pushes you to meet a goal: is he doing it to make himself look good—in which case, he’s a full-on jerk—or is he doing it for the benefit of your department—in which case, you’d better rise to the challenge.‘ (Source)
Assuming that most who read this are givers, which type are you?
The nice guy, the jerk or do you fall somewhere in the middle?
Article author Michael Haltman is the President of Hallmark Abstract Service in New York.
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