Peter Drucker, the father of modern management said it best, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
When thinking about the types of skills one would need to succeed in a business environment, generosity isn’t usually something that comes up. Leadership, yes. Vision, absolutely. Ability to execute, you bet. But I’d like to argue that just as important as all of those skills is the skill of generosity. It has the power to make or break your career.
It was time to make an adjustment to the way I thought about success and growth. It was time to make generosity a part of my growth strategy.
Now, what does it mean to be generous at work?
Generous people at work share information, credit, time and expertise freely. In short, generous people think of themselves as a part of a larger strategy, a piece of a puzzle, and seek ways in which to improve the entire team instead of just themselves. Because of their nature, generous people are prized as great communicators and collaborators.
Here are a few quick ideas that can jump start your generosity today:
1. Share information. Sharing information that you have with others on your team makes you look open, authentic and trustworthy. Making sure that people have the information to make the right decisions is not only important to achieve great business results, but it also helps people to feel like they have buy-in in the process. When people aren’t left wondering what’s happening, they have more opportunities to collaborate and get things done quicker and better.
2. Share credit. Time and time again, we have learned from leadership studies that people want to be recognized for a job well done. Remember, recognition doesn’t cost you anything. If you see your colleagues doing great work, recognize them for it! Sell up your colleagues to upper management and let them know that everything that you do is a team effort and therefore the entire team deserves credit for a job well done.
3. Share time. Taking extra time out of your day to chat at the water cooler isn’t a wasted effort at all. In fact, bonding with your colleagues makes it easier to get things done together in the future. When in meetings or in conference calls, take a few moments to ask your colleagues about their weekend, or how they are doing. Then listen generously to their responses, showing that you really care.
4. Share expertise. You’re brilliant, and everyone knows it. Don’t let all of that accumulated experience and intelligence go to waste! Take the time and effort to share your experiences, whether highs or lows and your learning with others. Better yet, consider taking on a mentoring role to help others achieve the success that you have accomplished, whether inside or outside of your organization.
Remember, there’s no “I” in “team”. Nowadays, I make generosity a big part of my work life, and in fact, a part of my growth strategy. None of us work in a vacuum. No one is able to do it entirely on their own. To make big things happen, you need a big team of people, rowing together in the same direction.
Generosity doesn’t come up often in leadership content. Yet I truly believe that this is one of the most important principles of thriving. In listening to some of the most inspiring leaders, what I have been hearing is that you can’t do it all. You have to relinquish your power, to empower others.