Givers & Takers – Which one are you?

Ed Thomas Coaching

posted on Monday, June 12, 2017

Are You a Giver or a Taker?

This is yet another life lesson I was fortunate to learn from the great role model Ed Thomas.

We live in a social world. People of all ages stay in touch and communicate across their town, state, nation and even world with a single click. Most people move in and out of numerous groups on a daily basis. We have family, peer groups, work, classes, teams, organizations and many others that we don't even think about. Within these groups, we make speak and behave in different manners depending on the people within that group. In all of these groups there are two types of people– givers and takers.

Givers are people that enhance the performance of the group by providing positive energy to the group. These are the group members that bring good character qualities and often lead by example. People see them doing positive work and are motivated to follow. And this is a big one: Givers rarely complain. Givers look for positive solutions to the problems they face, instead of griping about their struggles. They understand their role in the group and work hard at the job that their role requires.

Takers, of course, are the opposite. Takers suck the positive energy from the group. Takers often put their individual needs ahead of the group's needs. They often seek continuous attention and recognition for their work. Oftentimes, they have trouble completing tasks and assignments required by the group. In addition, they often complain and bring negative energy into their groups. The negative energy from just one taker can stifle the performance of an entire group.

When reading these descriptions, it's easy to think, "Well, I'm a giver not a taker. The taker is an extreme grouch and procrastinator." But think of the times that somebody asked you if you were upset when working on a team? Was your negative energy bringing the group down? Or maybe it's when your portion of a project or chore is the last to get done. Did your lack of punctuality delay the team goal? It's important that we take a step back and really evaluate how our character is impacting the group. If you aren't building the team up, then you are bringing the team down and keeping it from its full potential. 

I often thought about this lesson as I could see the truth in these words on a daily basis– no matter the group. Givers allow teamwork to occur.

"Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."

Proverbs 27:17

Your Challenge

As we move in and out of our groups on a daily basis, we can take a moment to ensure that we are doing our best to be a giver and not a taker. Next time you are in a group setting, whether for work, family, sports or something else, consider what you are bringing to the group. Be honest with yourself, and create a plan for how you can positively impact the other people.

Al Kerns & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation

This post is written by Al Kerns, a long-time friend of Ed Thomas and a team member with the Ed Thomas Family Foundation. Al coached with Ed for 30+ years at Aplington-Parkersburg.