Giver, Taker, Uplifter, Suppresser – Which Are You?

Richard Shrapnel's 'Giver, Taker, Uplifter, Suppresser – Which Are You?'.

How you interact with others daily will have a profound effect on your personal and business success. But often our default setting undermines rather underpins our potential and success.


Active Knowledge Question:

What is the default setting that you seek in the leaders in your business when it comes to how they interact with everyone they work with?


It All Starts With Leadership

In building the leadership team of your business, you must look first to character and then only competency and experience of your leaders. In today’s competitive marketplace where success is dependent upon the ‘combined talent and effort’ of everyone who works within and with your business, the right character in your leaders is more critical than ever before.

The full potential of that combined talent and effort will only be drawn to the forefront by leaders who are givers and uplifters.

Understanding this distinction will allow you to strengthen the competitive fitness of your business.


Your Default Setting

How would you describe the way you typically interact with others in work and in your personal world? Have you ever considered how the nature of your interactions with others may influence their responses?

I think many people simply ‘are who they are’. Their life experiences have moulded them into their current ‘form’, and it stops there. There is little reflection on the dynamics of their interaction with others and how that influences outcomes. We simply don’t think about it, but we should.

We all know people whom we like to work with and others whom we prefer to avoid. We all know people whom we would turn to for support and others whom we would simply not ask. And of course, there are those whom we admire and those that we despise.

There are positive and negative relationships, and it is the positive relationships that yield success. Not success in a selfish manner, but the type of success that is yielded from mutually balanced respectful relationships.

Reflecting on ‘who you are’ as a person and how you interact with others is not about creating a false persona to trick people. Authenticity always comes to the surface very quickly.  It is about reflecting on our personal nature and understanding how ‘who we are’ leads to, and underpins, the level of success we enjoy in our lives – personally and professionally.


Who We Are

What I describe as our ‘world views’ reflect who we are. It’s how we see the world and therefore how we interpret everything that happens in our lives. Our view has been moulded over our lifetime, but it’s not locked and permanent, and we can continue to develop and craft this aspect of ourselves.

A simple reflection is to consider how you start each day. Do you wake up in the morning with a positive attitude to life and the day ahead? Or do you wake up in the morning with a grudge against the world? Depending on which ‘side of the bed’ you get up on will influence how you interact with everyone you meet – happy or angry.

If you are angry with everyone and everything, then that is the energy that will flow back to you. Opportunity is unlikely to find its way to your door. However, if you approach your day with one of expectation and hope, then opportunities will present themselves everywhere. Why? Because through your attitude you will seek them out and find them, and people will come to you with their ideas because they know you are positive and uplifting.

Which type of person would you prefer to be and to have in your business?

There are I believe traits within individuals who find continuing success in their lives. I call these the ‘achiever traits’, and they are the characteristics that set someone up for enduring success. The core of the achiever trait consists of humility and an attitude of gratitude.

Build your core, focus on the achiever traits and you will discover you are evolving and success is building.


Giving Not Taking

There is a gift which comes with being a ‘giver’, not ‘taker’. I am not sure how to describe it but for those who are ‘givers,’ they understand the joy and positiveness that one receives when being able to support and uplift others. Being a giver comes out of humility and gratitude.

But I think there is also a ‘catch 22’, in that you must give without expectation of return. It may sound silly, but you only receive the gift if you give freely and not offer so as to gain something in return.

If I help someone on the basis that they will assist me, then that is a barter not giving. If I donate anonymously, then I am unlikely to be seeking a direct return.

I believe many people may be challenged in their daily lives with the concept of giving of themselves freely. It is more of a barter system now where self-interest comes into play, and you only give as much as you need to, to gain what you seek. If you fall into this category, I feel life will always be a struggle – always bartering.

There is a joy to be gained in helping others achieve success in their lives and bringing happiness to them, although happiness is often seen as a bit corny these days. It does not mean you allow yourself to be taken advantage of or used. It’s not an open cheque book, and you give to those who are sincere in their endeavours and their respect of you.

There is then the flip side of the coin. If someone gives to you, supports you, uplifts you, then you must honour and respect their gift and efforts, and not merely be a taker. How you balance that relationship out is in your hands but to allow that connection to endure with you continually taking is also not healthy. And I mean not healthy for you as the recipient.

A final word on being a giver, not a taker, is to reflect on how you define success. If success to you is defined by wealth, power and position, then you may well be challenged in becoming a giver. Someone pursuing wealth, power and position can at times be drawn into accumulating as much as they can for themselves, and only giving when there is something in it for them.


Successful People

Successful people, those who possess the achiever trait and are therefore humble and have an attitude of gratitude, are invaluable in your business. Bear in mind that such people will likely, hopefully, exist at all levels of your business. If given the opportunity they will power-drive the competitive fitness of your business.

They will:

  • Uplift and encourage others.
  • Place themselves last and the customers and others first.
  • Recognise the talents of others.
  • Listen to others’ ideas and thoughts.
  • Share openly.
  • Seek to work with the best at their best.
  • Search out opportunity.
  • Win the trust and support of others.
  • Have a positive attitude to life, work and the day ahead.

In building your business, you want to find these people and enable their natural leadership.


Your business will grow if its culture is founded in people who give freely and uplift others. It will flounder if its culture is one of taking and keeping others suppressed so they don’t pass you.

A profit-first motive will seed a culture of ‘taking’ across your business. A motive of competing to meet your customer needs will seed giving and uplifting. Focus on this motive to energise the competitiveness of your business.

As an individual, the same rules apply. Be a giver and uplifter and success will flow your way.


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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel