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Does it pay to be a selfless worker?

Does it pay to be a selfless worker?

Wouldn’t we all want a colleague, or employee, who is selfless, takes on extra work and is willing to help, or assist, on projects that don’t have relevance to their own day-to-day workload?

It seems a no brainer yet, new research from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) has found that over 60% of managers, engineers and salespeople at Fortune 500 companies would like to spend less time in ‘response mode’ – helping with ad-hoc requests from colleagues.

The same research concludes that 75% to 90% of all workday helping is reactive – someone makes a request, and someone else drops their workload to respond – which can lead to burnout.
A separate HBR study found if selfless employees responded to co-worker requests with increased frequency, they were more likely to have their energy depleted – making focus on their own work increasingly difficult, with ‘hangover’ effects lasting until the day after.

These noble souls suffer the most, with their own workload piling up, stress levels rising and an increased likelihood of their personal life being affected.

Selfless workers end up facing burnout on a consistent, near-constant basis with their perfectionist tendencies setting them back in their careers.

However, the report also mentions that organisational givers do get to see the full spectrum of workplace behaviour and are more likely to be able to discern which of their colleagues is selfish, a careerist, a hypocrite or, which staff are only nice when seeking favours.

Furthermore, the data shows that men are more likely to be takers and women are more likely to be selfless givers – even though men are more likely to get credit for completed projects and tasks.
With the truly selfless in mind, here are seven different ways to order your helpful nature in ways that have less impact upon your own workload.

Seven top tips to help you prioritize your selfless nature

1.Prioritize the help requests that come your way — say yes when it matters most and no when you need to.

2.Give in ways that play to your own skillset. Don't waste time giving when you don't have the exact skills needed, or time in your day.

3.Distribute the giving load more evenly — refer requests to others when you don’t have the time or skills, and be careful not to reinforce gender biases about who helps and how.

4.Think about yourself more often. Only help if it fits into your own workload.

5.Amplify your impact by looking for ways to help multiple people with a single act of generosity.

6. Organise your week to find time for helping. Don't 'react' to help, dedicate time blocks in your calendar when you are proactively seeking to help others.

7. Learn to spot takers, and steer clear of them. They’re a drain on your energy, not to mention a performance hazard.

Courtesy: HRGrapevine

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