How do you spot a taker?  I think there are a couple of signals that you can look for.  One is there’s a lot of research showing that takers tend to use "I" and "me" as opposed to "us" and "we" when talking about accomplishments and successes.  They claim as much credit as they can. 

A second pattern that I really love is an idea that basically is called kissing up, kicking down.  Takers tend to be really good at managing up and trying to flatter and make good impressions on powerful and influential people.  But it’s pretty tough to keep up that masquerade in every interaction and if you’re a taker you tend to let your guard down a little bit more when you’re interacting with peers and subordinates. 

And so I would actually not trust a boss in judging who’s a giver or a taker but actually go to the people who work laterally or below that person.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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