5 Ways To Give Without Getting Taken

You want to be a team player, but the more you give, the more folks take– without offering much in return. It’s not that you’re keeping score, but you’ve noticed a pattern, and you know something’s wrong.

You look around and realize that others seem to have more balanced relationships. But there you are, once again, left feeling like a sucker. If this sounds like you or someone you love, read on. Some of the best givers I know get taken. It doesn’t have to be that way.

How to Give Without Getting Taken

  1. Continue With Generosity – Although this sounds counter-intuitive since that’s what got you into this mess to start with, don’t lose that giving feeling. I’ve seen over-givers swing their defenses too far in the other direction. They put up their guard, and miss the beautiful relationships and productivity that comes from balanced giving and receiving. Don’t keep giving to takers, but stay open to the possibilities the rest of the world has to offer.
  2. Exude Confident, Humility – Don’t be cocky, but do be confident. Other leaders admire and respect peers who show up strong and open. Showing up weak makes you an easy target for takers. Radiate the same respect for yourself as you give to others.
  3. Articulate Your Feelings – Over-givers have a tendency to give until it hurts, but not talk about the pain. Resentment secretly builds and sucks out necessary energy. Letting someone take advantage of you weakens leadership– yours and theirs. Teach people how you want to be treated. Usually these conversations have to do with boundaries. It’s not a matter of if you want to help, but when and how much. I’ve seen many cases where people are shocked when an over-giver suddenly erupts with pushed down emotion, after appearing to be “happy to help.”
  4. Question Your Motives – Without getting to deep into psychology here, if you’re repeating an over-giving pattern, consider what you’re “gaining” from all the giving. Are you a people-pleaser looking for affirmation? Are you feeling insecure about your place on the team? Getting clear on the underlying issues will go a long way toward building more balanced relationships.
  5. Ask For What You Need – It’s easy to assume that others know what we need and how they can help. Tell your teammates how they can be most helpful to you. Ask for what you need, and don’t be afraid to receive the support. You may be surprised at how relieved your teammates feel when they finally have a concrete way to return the favor.
“Sometimes, teams are moving so fast and are so focused on results, they don’t take time to talk as a team about what’s happening,” says leadership expert Karin Hurt, author of the blog Let’s Grow Leaders. If no one is articulating their feelings and everything seems to be going great, says Hurt, negative patterns get embedded and can be hard to reverse.”
~ Karin Hurt, Founder of Lets Grow Leaders

Expert Advice On Gifts And Giving: A Frontline Festival

Welcome to the Holiday Edition of the Frontline Festival: Expert Advice on Gifts and Giving. In addition to sharing their posts, I invited each thought leader to share their “leadership gift” in one or two words.

Engaging a Giving Spirit

Jon Mertz, Thin Difference shares The Unboxed Life: Giving To lead more fully, we need to unbox our life and engage our giving spirit. When we do this, we become more connected to our true self, our true mission, and our community. John’s Gift:  “Listening well.” Follow Jon @thindifference

Wally Bock, Wally Bock’s Three Star Leadership Blog brings us Remembering the Legendary Christmas Truces  In 1914 and 1915, all along the Western Front, soldiers simply stopped fighting and celebrated Christmas. It is a true tale about gifts to remember to ponder. Wally’s Gift: “To me: the importance of integrity; From me: the nobility of work”  Follow Wally @WallyBock

New to the Festival, Bernie Nagle, ZunZhong  brings us BlessingState – Sharing Our Gifts  We transition from spirit to physical existence, purposely endowed with an abundance of gifts. Our mission as physical beings is to share our gifts to depletion. Benie’s gift:  “Empathy.”  Follow Bernie @altrupreneur.

Regina Verow, Creatively Conscious, reminds us give ourselves the gift of rest this holiday in her post True Gifts.  Stay tuned for the Creatively Concscious meets Let’s Grow Leaders collaborative Xmas music video on Dec. 23rd along a similar vein. Worth checking back here for a holiday giggle. Regina’s gift: “Creativity” Follow Regina @ReginaVerow.

Gift Ideas

Joy and Tom Guthrie, Vizwerx Group,  share Leadership Gifts (pic right) Follow Joy and Tom @VizwerxGroup Joy’s gift, “Vision.”  Follow Joy @Joy_Guthrie.

New to the Festival, Barbara Kimmel, Trust Across America offers her gift, Twelve Months of Trust for 2014 With the right plan, any leader can build trust! Trust Across America – Trust Around the World offers this 2014 gift to all leaders – twelve months of trust-building activities. Barbara’s gift: “Building Organizational Trust.” Follow Barbara @BarbaraKimmel.

This month Jennifer Miller, People Equation, shares her Smartblog post, 7 Leadership Gift-Giving Ideas for the Workplace. She calls leaders to widen their thinking about the “gifts” they can offer their employees and colleagues. Jennifer’s gift:  “Determination.” Follow Jennifer @JenniferVMiller

David Dye, Trailblaze, shares 45 Fantastic Leadership Gifts to Give and Receive David provides an encouraging list of gifts effective leaders give their teams as well as motivating gifts leaders receive, David’s gift: “People who always believed in me.”  Follow David @davidmdye.

Matt McWilliamsLife. Leadership. Love. Learned the Hard Way offers  How Do People Really Want to be Treated? The upside of “preferential treatment,” including gifts. Matt’s gift:  “Motivating others and celebrating success.” Follow Matt @MattMcWilliams2.

Julie Winkle Giulioni, JulieWinkleGiulioni.Com offers  Top 3 Gifts Employees Want Most this Holiday Season (and All Year Long). Why not give employees something they really want this year – a gift that will keep giving long after the egg nog is gone? Consider something from this Holiday Gift Guide… for leaders who want to delight employees and deliver results. Julie’s Gift: “Empathy and the ability to stand in other’s shoes.” Follow Julie @julie_wg.

Julie Pierce, Empowered By Pierce, brings us 3 Empowering Gifts for Those You Lead Seriously considering gifting your team with Duck Dynasty bobbleheads this Christmas? Leadership Coach Julie Pierce comes to the rescue with 3 thoughtful and empowering gifts for those you lead. Julie’s gift:  “Powerful questions.” Follow @julie_pierce

Tanveer Naseer,Tanveer Naseer Leadership, brings us Making Feedback A Gift For Your Employees Giving feedback doesn’t have to be difficult. Discover 5 steps leaders can use to transform the act of giving feedback into a gift for their employees Follow Tanveer @TanveerNaseer.

New to the Festival Sean Glaze, Lead Your Team Blog shares How to Give the Gift of Advice  Learn how to give the gift of advice so it can be received. Sean’s Gift: “Appreciation.” Follow Sean @leadyourteam.

Receiving Gifts

Jesse Lyn Stoner, Jesse Lyn Stoner Blog, shares  It’s Easier to Give Than to Receive, But Not Necessarily Better It is easier to give than to receive, but not necessarily better. Allowing others to help you is a sign of strength, not weakness. Here are 9 reasons why it’s better to receive. Jesse’s gift: “Listening”  Follow Jesse @JesseLynStoner.

Lolly Daskal Lead From Within, offers The GIft of Receiving She inspires us to be more than great givers, but to also accept the gift of receiving? Lolly’s Gift:  “Lead with heart; lead with love; lead from within” Follow Lolly @LollyDaskal.

Joan Kofodimos, Anyone Can Lead, shares How Hardship Creates Leaders In my experience, some of the greatest gifts don’t initially look like gifts at all. This post considers how hardships are a gift to us as leaders, if we can open to the lessons they offer. Joan’s gift: “The ability to honor one’s true purpose.” Follow Joan @JoanKofodimos.

Encouraging Gifts and Talents

Renee Ruchotze, Growing VItal Leaders, shares The Gift of Being Called How does it feel to be seen as a leader by someone you admire and respect? Renne’s gift:  “A balance of heart and head.” Follow Renee @Vitalleaders.

Kate NasserSmart SenseAbilities(TM) offers, 25 Incredibly Valuable Gifts Your Employees Give To become a great leader, learn to spot, mentor, and appreciate the gifts of those you lead. This is how you inspire and engage employees to full commitment. Appreciation! Kate’s gift:  “Emotional Intelligence” Follow Kate @KateNasser.

Mike Henry Sr., Lead Change Group, shares the The Zen of Employee Motivation One of our best posts this year on the importance of understanding everyone is a volunteer. As a result, their energy, skills and effort are gifts, given to you, the leader of the effort. David M. Dye challenges us to remember to treat everyone as a volunteer and to appreciate the gift they give us when they join! Mike’s gift: “Years of experience leaning how to influence without position.” Follow Mike @mikehenrysr.

 Bill Benoist, Leadership Heart Coaching, offers The Gift of Leadership Looking for that special gift this holiday season? Something meaningful. Something that will make an impact. Something that will be remembered. I know of a special gift, but it’s not one I can give you. Bill’s gift: “Trust.” Follow Bill @leadershipheart.

New to the Festival, Tracy Shroyer, TracyShroyerPhD.com, brings us No Longer a Passenger  An event that initially felt like punch in the gut eventually changed me for the better. Has something happened in your life that may have upset you at first, but then you realized it was a real blessing because it helped you to change for the better? Tracy’s gift is “Being genuine.” Follow Tracy @tshroyer2.

Lisa Kohn, Thoughtful Leaders, shares The Value in Giving There are many gifts that we receive, for which we can be grateful. But the greatest gift is the ability to give. This month is a wonderful time to give – to give actual gifts and to give of ourselves: our time, our attention, our friendship, our love, and our support. May you practice giving and have a month full of gifts! Lisa’s gift: “The ability to give.” Follow Lisa @ThoughtfulLdrs.

Skip Prichard, Leadership Insights, brings us What’s Your Yes What’s Your Yes  Life is about discovering your gifts (your yes) not your limitations (your no). Learn how to be defined by your “yes”, your unique gifts that have you performing in your strength zone. Skip’s gift: “Expressing.” Follow Skip @SkipPrichard.

John Hunter, Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog, brings us, Giving More Than Money to Charity. Volunteering your time and expertise is often more rewarding to those you help and yourself. Follow John @curiouscat_com.

Embracing Your Inner Grinch

Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak shares How to Rise Above Gift Exchanges at Work. Office gift giving is an awkward obligation. How to avoid, or make the best of, gift exchanges at work. Dan’s gift:  “Developing Others.” Follow Dan @Leadershipfreak.

Coming Soon

January’s Frontline Festival will be curated by David Dye of Trailblaze. The topic is “Leading Up and Sideways.” Please click here to submit your link.