Appreciation is one of the single most sustainable motivators at work. And yet, we rarely go out of our way to express our thanks.
In this episode, I chat with Adam Grant — a talented teacher, researcher, and author of the bestselling book Give and Take — about the untapped potential of appreciation, the power of generosity, and how to build cultures of helping.
We talk about how small expressions of thanks can have an outsize impact and why asking for help can actually make you look more competent. We also dig into the dark side of helping — something Adam calls “generosity burnout.”
Key takeaways from our conversation:
- How “chunking” vs “sprinkling” your expressions of gratitude raises your mood
- Why someone is twice as likely to help in the future if you say “thank you”
- The surprisingly powerful impact of “delayed gratitude”
- Why asking for help or advice makes you look more competent
- The one question you can ask yourself to find more meaning in your job
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“We dramatically underestimate how powerful appreciation is. For instance, just getting a simple thank you after you give somebody feedback on a job application cover letter. Would you have guessed that just the words ‘thank you’ would be enough to not only lead to a 50% increase that they’re willing to help you again, but also then make them more likely to help somebody else who reaches out?”
“How frequently I’m comfortable asking for advice and how often I do it is the single best predictor of effectiveness, which is pretty remarkable. I think there’s a pretty strong case to be made that organizations need helping and giving behaviors in order to be productive.”
“I think there’s a misconception that being a kinder, generous person means saying yes. I think it’s worth recognizing that every no is a chance to say yes when it matters more.”
A shortlist of the articles and ideas referenced in our conversation:
- Adam’s excellent book on generosity, Give and Take
- The big benefit of a little thanks
- A fascinating national poll on how people feel about gratitude
- Why appreciation is the single most sustainable motivator at work
- How the “reflected best self” exercise works
- How to ask for a favor
- How to beat “generosity burnout”
- Gender inequality begins at home
- Madame CEO, get me a coffee
- Confessions of a burnt out over-achiever
- Follow Adam: Website | Instagram | Twitter
As mentioned in this episode, I will be launching an exciting new online course in the near future: RESET, a cosmic tune-up for your workday. For details, visit hurryslowly.co/reset
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