Productivity and Generosity

Productivity <> Generosity

How can a humble human trait of generosity help in increasing your personal productivity?

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Hi Friends,

Research by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley describes humans as a generous species. We, humans, have traits biologically wired in us that make us who we are. So let’s explore the question posed earlier, how can the trait of generosity be an aid to productivity?

A generous person is a happy person and happiness, in turn, brings greater satisfaction. A person with the above attitude is more likely to put his focus and attention to accomplish more tasks. Imagine a scenario where you have to assign a task and you have to choose between two equally qualified candidates. But the first candidate is frustrated and highly dissatisfied with his life and the other one is just the opposite. Whom would you trust with completing the work? The answer to the preceding question is the reason why generosity promotes productivity. Prof Adam Grant writes in his book that the most productive people are the ones who practice altruism. While we are constantly reminded that life is the survival of the fittest and its a dog-eat-dog world, our embedded traits say otherwise.

It is more important to be good than to be a genius.

This topic is of great interest to me because living in a world where acquired skills are glorified, a success formula with dependency on natural traits proves a point – It is more important to be good than to be a genius.

Be Generous, Be Productive


So, how can you apply generosity to become productive at work or in your professional life? Read the simple and easy-to-apply suggestions below:

Mentoring – A team where the senior employees spend time mentoring the junior ones will be a productive team. In this case mentoring is not a mandate but an act of generosity by the senior members. While the senior teammates become the mentor, the junior teammates can do the execution of the tasks. If it is the other way round then the productivity of the team will be slashed by half because seniors will accomplish a certain amount of work and others might have less or no contribution at all. So, when you get a chance, spend time mentoring and it will enhance the productivity of the whole team.

Make introductions – Be the catalyst to someone’s success. I mean, if your friend is looking for a finance expert and you know of someone fit for the job then be the bridge. This act of kindness will go a long way as the favor will be returned to you in the time of need. Also, this will expand your personal network and improve relationships.

Be a Giver – In an experiment conducted by a company, the workforce was divided into two categories and one group was advised to perform acts of generosity toward others or in other words, be a giver. During the assessment, it was noted that despite spending time in helping others the givers secured the highest work performance and were followed by matchers (a term to describe people who do not take the initiative but return favors). Making an extra effort in being generous improved the work efficiency of the employees. A word of caution, do not go overboard else you will suffer from generosity burnout.

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