39% Of Women Say They’ll Do This To Boost Their Professional Performance
Irrespective of which industry we work in, we’re in the people business, which means that other people’s opinions of us influence how quickly and successfully we can drive our careers forward.
Based on that, would you agree that it would be incredibly useful to have a shortcut to enhance your performance and deepen relationships with your peers and colleagues?
In a recent Elevate Talent members’ webinar, we shared how reciprocity can be a powerful performance catalyst that gives women in that mid-level position a competitive edge.
In this blog, we’re going to share the four types of reciprocity; and four ways that we can give and receive help so that we directly benefit, are each recognised for our areas of expertise, and are held in high esteem by those around us – all of which will support career progression.
What we mean by reciprocity
Reciprocity is the act of giving and receiving; a back-and-forth exchange of energy, wisdom, time or knowledge.
There are four main types of reciprocity:
A giver typically gives to other people in the hope that they will, in turn, receive. They tend to be focused on adding value and making positive contributions.
A matcher operates on the basis that if we give to them, they will give back to us. Likewise, if we take from them, expect them to pursue a return favour.
Takers are self-focused and have their own interests at the top of their agenda. Takers often have a reputation for taking advantage of other people’s good will (particularly the givers).
A faker will likely promise to help, but rarely delivers. Remember the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There?* The Queen insists that there will be jam tomorrow, but she has no intention of fulfilling her promise; this is typical faker behaviour.
Pause for a moment and reflect on which of these four categories best describes you (giver, matcher, taker or faker). Now consider who you typically help professionally – which category do they fall into?
Research shows that takers, fakers and matchers tend to sit in the middle of the bell curve when it comes to career progression. Once we build healthy reciprocity habits into our professional lives, it will pay off in the short and long term.
4 ways to build healthy reciprocity habits
Here are four strategies for building healthy habits around reciprocity:
-1- Give five-minute favours
Instead of spending hours of our time offering support that may or may not be appreciated, we could frequently give five-minute favours. For example, rather than explain how to navigate a new system, send a helpful link so that the person can teach themselves (and remember providing the resource was helpful).
-2- Ask for five-minute favours
Before asking peers or colleagues for help, consider how to make it easy for them to say yes. We might ask them to point us in the direction of resources or to the most suitable person to speak to about x y z, rather than expect them to invest their precious time in something that isn’t best suited to their skill set.
-3- Give in one go
When it comes to honouring a favour, do it all at once (this is even easier if we stick to #1 and offer a five-minute favour!). We leak time and energy when we keep coming back and forth to a task.
-4- Be an opportunist
Whenever we’re asked to do a favour for someone, consider if it falls within our area of expertise; if it doesn’t, we can redirect the request to someone who is better suited to it, or find a way to weave our zone of genius into it so that we are recognised in the way that best suits us and our career aspirations.
For example, if we are IT experts and someone asks for our help with how best to word a newsletter, it makes sense for us to offer to set up the newsletter for distribution, and in the meantime, redirect them to a known wordsmith.
Following our recent webinar, one of our delegates told us that she would, “Learn to manage my time better by saying no to vampires; I know that I have a lot of takers around me and only I can change that. Thanks for the great session.”
As you can see from the survey results below, 39 per cent of our delegates are keen to implement the “Give five-minute favours” shortcut first of all, in order to increase their performance capital. Which strategy will you use first?
The next steps
These are simple, straightforward ways to ensure that reciprocity delivers the best possible outcome. Imagine the difference that it would make to productivity and profitability.
Why not get curious and conduct a mini experiment in the workplace this week? Which of the four habits of reciprocity will you focus on first? If you’d like to know more about how Elevate Talent can support you to reach your career aspirations, or would like to know how we can help your organisation grow its bottom line by retaining your top female talent, get in touch.