Tiffani Bova
Jan 4 · 3 min read

As you enter into the new year, it is important to consider a new perspective, especially when it comes to hiring new members onto your team. One of the most (if not the most) important parts of a companies success is its people. When I first heard Adam Grant say “hiring for cultural fit weeds out diversity — you have to hire for cultural contribution,” I knew I had to have him on my What’s Next! podcast. Adam is the leading expert on finding motivation, uncovering meaning and living more generous and creative lives. He’s been recognized as one of the world’s 10 Most Influential Management Thinkers and one of Fortune’s 40 under 40. He’s the author of three New York Times best-sellers: Give and Take, Originals, and Option B. Adam now hosts WorkLife, a TED original podcast that launched after his TED talk got more than 12 million views.

First Step: Ask Yourself, Are You Hiring a Giver, a Taker or a Matcher?

Adam’s research shows that interpersonal interactions make a difference in not only our personal success, but the success of teams and companies. He dives deep into three personalities or traits: givers, takers, and matchers — who they are, how they behave, and how they contribute — or subtract from the rest of the team.

In short, givers ask how they can help others. They want to contribute — to add something to a project or team. Takers wonder how they will benefit from certain interactions, and matchers are somewhere in the middle, leaning on the law of reciprocity as their default.

Of course, each of these labels has its downsides, so understanding how each plays into the overall performance of teams is important. Giving so much, either as a giver or a matcher, can often result in burnout. Matchers may come across as too transactional, like they’re making trades instead of contributing for contribution’s sake.

To prevent these negative consequences, givers can set strong boundaries and only offer to help when they aren’t sacrificing themselves in the process. Matchers can remember how important it is to cultivate relationships and social capital that build positive reputations and interactions.

When it comes to hiring, Adam points out that takers do more harm than givers do good, which is why it’s important to weed takers out first if at all possible. Good team cohesion works when you have a room full of givers and matchers. This combination creates a spirit of participating and contributing.

Next Step: Who Do You Have on Your Team Today?

If you’re building out an existing team or even a founder at a startup looking to hire your first employees, it is important to fight ‘groupthink’ where everyone thinks in the same way. You want diversity of thought, people to feel comfortable and safe bringing new ideas to the group, where they will be supported even if the idea fails. As a leader, understanding team dynamics, and how different personalities shape a groups performance is key to long term success.

For more on creating a cohesive team, listen in on our conversation and subscribe to the What’s Next! podcast on Apple Podcasts.

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Tiffani Bova

Written by

Global Growth & Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce | Sales and Transformation Adviser | Book: Growth IQ| Podcast: What's Next! | Former Research Fellow Gartner

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