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8 Ways to Err on the Side of Generosity

“It’s better to give than to receive.”

But is this also true for the workplace? Absolutely!

Generosity has been shown to enhance mental and physical well-being, as well as the social structures we reside in; for example, in the workplace.

Generosity paves the way to gratitude — another “feel good” emotion with the capacity to generate tremendous value and positive outcomes.

You Were Born to Be Kind

It’s true! We are hard-wired for kindness — it’s in our DNA. Here is what scientists have discovered about kindness in the human race:

  • High capacity for giving can increase your livelihood and add bonus years to your life.
  • Generosity reduces stress.
  • Giving bolsters your immune system and makes you less prone to illness or disease.
  • Generosity makes you happier.
  • “Stinginess” or keep one’s money solely for themselves can lead to feelings of shame and higher cortisol levels.

Follow the Golden Rule

That is, treat others the way you want to be treated.

The workplace can be a competitive, combative and tough atmosphere to be in — especially in sales and finance. Yet, altruism is proven to be a greater motivator for employees and in building trust and kinship within a team.

When people feel they are truly valued, that you want them to succeed and that you’re there to support them, you’re far more likely to find employees who are committed and loyal.

Bottom line: helping others helps us. Here are eight ways to always err on the side of generosity.

1. Share information.

If you learn something new about a client, competitor, prospect, etc., share information readily!

Don’t hoard it for yourself or be stingy in collaborating with your team:

  • If you learn something new, let your team know where things stand and what’s coming up next.
  • Give your team adequate information to make informed, responsible decisions.
  • Be clear on your expectations and vision, so people aren’t left fumbling or guessing how they should perform.
  • Take time to be a mentor and guide your team, so they can be successful and autonomous in your absence.

2. Consider people’s time.

Next time you call someone up, knock on their office door or generally show up unexpected, ask them if it’s a good time to talk.

Don’t assume just because a particular matter is of immediate importance to you that they are available to give you their full attention.

Making that assumption can lead to others believing you don’t value their time, or your commitments are superior to theirs.

Offer them an “out” to speak at a later date or schedule a meeting time in their calendar. You’ll have better outcomes when you have people’s full attention.

Finally, when people feel their time is respected, they’re more likely to help you and be there for you in a pinch, when you really need them.

3. Give credit where credit is due.

Share praise openly and readily! Who doesn’t love to receive praise and be told how great they’re doing?

The best part about praise is it doesn’t cost you a thing, yet the returns are abundant.

In fact, showing your employees how much you value and appreciate them may be the best investment you ever make:

  • Send an email blast to your team after a job well done.
  • Bring up a recent success in the next team meeting and congratulate those who made it possible.
  • Be specific in your praise and tell your employee exactly what it is they did that is so great.

4. Be a mentor.

Contribute to the collective learning of your team. Over the years, you’ve collected hundreds, if not thousands of experiences, both success and failures — don’t let those lessons go to waste by not sharing them with others.

Be generous in your time and patient in your teachings. Give regular and specific feedback, offer guidance and be available to answer questions.

Highlight your failures and where things went wrong, as often as you do your successes. Investing your time and energy into your team will ensure the legacy of your business is maintained and prospers.

5. Take collective responsibility.

The workplace is no place for finger-pointing or playing the blame game. When a failure occurs, or mistake happens, assume collective responsibility.

The workplace is a team effort — a simple “we” indicates a greater sense of unity than “he/she/you.”

6. Get to the point.

In short: don’t take ten minutes to explain what only requires two. Harvard Business Review describes it as “[leading] with a punch line.

Get straight to the core of your message, then elaborate further, if necessary. Don’t leave your colleague scrambling to keep up with you, just because you’re talking in a roundabout way.

If you need something, ask for it; if you’re unhappy with a certain outcome, say so; if you’ve learned new information, share it. It’s that simple.

You’ll wind up saving yourself and your team a whole lot of time, simply by being concise, clear and straightforward.

7. Always think ahead.

Keep your focus on keeping the game in play. Take a moment to celebrate when a project is complete or target achieved, but then switch gears and prepare for what comes next.

Anticipate your client’s or team’s needs or questions before they arise, and come prepared with answers. Always have a plan of action for what comes next — take a broad, rather than narrow perspective.

8. Give opportunities.

Is there someone in your organization who could really benefit from a new opportunity to prove themselves; to show what they’re capable of?

Consider opening a new door for someone who truly deserves it. Once you do, be prepared to offer guidance along the way and support them in achieving success.

I think you’ll find people rise to the occasion more often than not.

What does generosity in the workplace mean to you? Early in my career, I was blessed with an amazing mentor who inspired generosity within me through his own actions.

You can read about it all in my book!

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8 Ways to Err on the Side of Generosity
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Generosity paves the way to gratitude -- another “feel good” emotion with the capacity to generate tremendous value and positive outcomes.
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