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One Sure Way to Lose Is by Keeping Score

In the season of giving, let’s talk about withholding.

Instead of giving, we might withhold any time we keep a tally of what we've already given. We're prone to withholding when we expect reciprocity in equal measure.

People sometimes withhold when they feel like they've already given more than their fair share. People withhold if they feel like something has been taken from them, and the scales have tipped out of their favor.

We often talk about exchanging gifts rather than giving gifts. It's unusual for gift givers to continue giving to someone who does not give in kind. Is it really a gift if we expect something in return? If we enter into the gift giving with a mindset that causes us to consider withholding, the act of giving is somehow compromised.

Nonetheless, this is how we operate. It carries over into the workplace for leaders, too. One of the toughest truths for leaders to accept is that giving freely pays back long-term dividends. Because we can't see the exchange in real time, it somehow isn't as satisfying or acceptable.

In leadership, though, keeping score and expecting equal giving will never serve you well. Even if it seems one-sided, giving of yourself, of your time, of your experience and more, is absolutely essential. No one continues to follow a person who withholds their time, advice, or contributions too often.

There's little downside to giving more than you receive. So stop worrying about keeping a tally. It all equals out in the end, and you may just find that giving is its own reward.

CONNECT 2 Lead graphic smalThis blog post appears as the CONNECT! Community’s emphasis this month on sharing to connect with others. As a leader, giving and sharing with others humanizes you and helps others understand what matters to you. Subscribe to our weekly CONNECT2Lead Newsletter for special offers, content, and blog.