Generosity. Who doesn’t like a generous person? Very few of us. We all like being around generous people, and it’s fair to characterize generous people as usually being very friendly and kind.
However, being generous is quite a lot deeper than this. We often think of generosity as “doing something good at our own expense.” While that may indeed be generous, it isn’t necessarily all that generosity is.
By being generous to someone, you don’t have to sacrifice something. You can simply do it because you want to, or because you get enjoyment out of it, or because you find that you improve yourself (whether personally or professionally) through the act. Lisa Firestone points out in her Huffington Post article how being generous is actually a mutually beneficial act that benefits you in the long run.
But what is it, if not simply “giving” people things? I see generosity as an intense enthusiasm for the work you are doing. It’s infectious to work with people that put their heart into what they are doing. It’s a “giving” of talent and skills. It’s nuanced, thoughtful, and takes into consideration the needs of the people you are giving it to. Because you care — both about them, and about the work that represents you.
When you give of yourself professionally, your “sense of purpose” is enhanced. You feel better about the work you are doing, and your attention is switched to the quality of the product you are giving. You are less focused on self-criticism, or self-doubt. When you know someone else is depending on you, or is measurably happier by the work you are doing, this boosts your confidence immensely.
Generosity at Work
At Weaving Influence, one of our core values is generosity, and I understand why. Because it works.
There are many ways in which I see generosity in action working for everyone, and working for the company: being willing to answer questions at a moment’s notice, giving out encouraging words, giving out compliments, being reasonable and clear with feedback, sharing accomplishments, and the list goes on.
The atmosphere is inviting, provokes creativity, and fosters strong bonds of trust between employees. I know that I can go to my project manager or send a message, and I’ll receive a response. We may be busy, but no one is discouraged from communicating. We are encouraged to.
Now, I’m still expected to work hard — which is something I gladly do — but I know that my employer is generous with their time and their resources. Are there limits? Of course. We have to help our clients. We have to make sure the company is making ends meet and thriving, but there is a lot more yardage on the field we play on.
When I sit down to work on a project for a client I do my best, not because I have to, but because I want to. I work in an environment that wants me to enjoy what I’m doing. It’s a generous environment, and it produces generous work from its employees.
Tell me something! How do you practice generosity at work?