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Make it a real favor

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SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Smartbrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 150,000 business leadership. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: What best describes your approach to doing favors for others in the workplace?

  • I help out everyone who asks for favors whether I know they’ll reciprocate or not, 82%
  • I’ll help anyone once but if they never reciprocate I won’t help them again, 14%
  • I’ll help only people who are likely to help me in the future, 2%
  • I’ll do favors only for people I know can influence my career positively or negatively, 1%
  • I’m too busy to do favors for other folks, 1%

It’s an encouraging sign to see a workforce willing to lend a helping hand.  A favor is a favor, and there should be no expectation of reciprocity.  Hopefully once you say “yes” to helping you maintain this perspective.  The cautionary note on your generosity is be careful of becoming an enabler of procrastination or lazy work.  If you’re always around to help out in a pinch, you might find yourself getting taken advantage of and regularly cleaning up other peoples’ messes.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of ThoughtLeaders.