Unknown acts of reciprocity

If you give, you will get.

We were talking about the law of reciprocity in a training seminar I attended a few weeks back. The science shows that people have a problem. Many of us feel compelled to “return the favor” when we receive a gift. The value of the gift has been shown to be irrelevant.

Have you ever had the person ahead of you in the drive thru line pay your tab? What did you do? Did you pass along the favor to the people behind you?

What struck me while we were discussing this in our training class was not the logic of the give and get statement, and it wasn’t the science of reciprocity.

What struck me was a little qualifier the instructor offered.

“You may be getting a lot and not even know it.”

When we give, we get, but we may not always be aware that we are getting.

How many little favors have we received in the past that we haven’t associated with our giving? I don’t know, but the thought continues to haunt me.

Think about how much we give already. Our attention, our time, our money, our expertise.

What would happen if we 2x that?

What if we 10x it?

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on November 11, 2019

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