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Don’t Be the Disagreeable “Taker” in Our Organization, Please?


Published: 3/14/2019

“Disagreeable givers are the most undervalued people in our organizations, because they're the ones who give the critical feedback that no one wants to hear but everyone needs to hear”

Adam Grant
Organizational Psychologist, Wharton Professor


By Khoo Hwee Sing

According to Wharton professor and organizational psychologist Adam Grant, executives in an organization can be categorized into three types; givers, takers, and matchersGivers ask what they can do for others; takers ask what others can do for them, while matchers do for others what others do for them. Represented in a 2X2, it looks like this:

Interestingly, his research showed that givers make up both ends of the spectrum- they can be both good and bad performers in the organization. Now, the key message we need to send to all is about the way one defines success: it is really about contributions. This is something we can all think about, especially in the healthcare organization, where helping behaviour is crucial for learners and educators, handovers, safety practices, and processes. As a healthcare professional or administrator, what type of colleague will you be happy working with?

But how do we encourage and perpetuate a culture of giving? Adam Grant recommends:

1.                 Protect the givers from burnout

2.                 Encourage a help-seeking culture (successful givers are reassured it is alright to be a receiver too)

3.                 Get the right people on the team (weed out the takers)

And how do we catch a taker before it is too late? Don't let the "agreeableness" trait distract you.

Visit here to listen to Adam Grant's take on takers in the organization

TAGS: Helping behaviour; Motivation; Culture

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