Adam Grant, Wharton’s top rated professor and the author of Give and Take has a very interesting “Giver, taker and matcher” philosophy.
Givers are the ones who are always looking at contributing/adding value to a team/project. They are very generous in sharing their knowledge, which in turn leads to them helping peers out in their projects and assignments.They tilt reciprocity in the other direction, preferring to give more than they get. According to Adam, givers fail in the short term because of the number of tasks they take up. They have very little time to work on their own thing. However, in the long term, givers succeed because of the breadth of experience that they have gathered through selfless efforts. Givers are a rare breed.
Takers are more obsessed with the “What’s in it for me?” approach. To prove their efforts, they self promote and make sure they get plenty of credit for their efforts. They like to get more than they give.
Matchers preserve an equal balance of getting and giving. They operate on principles of fairness. They measure the amount they help as against the help they receive and play very mindfully.
It’s obviously not black and white. In some situations, I am more of a taker than a giver. But this lends some useful perspective. I hope to get my hands on the book (Give and Take) soon enough. You guys should, too!