Why Great Leaders Try To Give Before They Get


We all want something.

A faster car, straighter golf swing and a rippled six-pack are definitely a few things that are high on my list.

Most of what we want depends on the actions of others – willing clients, an appreciative boss or supportive loved ones. So it’s natural that most of us spend the major portion of our working lives trying to convince others.

But in ten years as a recruiter working with hundreds of highly successful leaders, I’ve noticed that the top performers do something different.

Rather than spending their time trying to get like the rest of us, they are more focussed on giving first.

They lead with serving and helping others achieve their wants first.

Here are some reasons why great leaders try to give before they get.

It’s easier

As any experienced sales person will tell you, trying to approach someone for the first time with a personal motive is hard work.

In fact, often it’s this initial getting through the door that is the hardest part. We all know we can be amazing, if we could just get that initial break.


Because our minds are programmed to be resistant and cautious in new situations. It’s part of our survival instinct. Thousands of years ago, being cynical and careful in new environments meant you were less likely to end up on the prehistoric menu.

It’s much easier to build initial rapport and trust by helping others first. By developing trust and waiting for others to relax. To give others the opportunity to be receptive and open to what you have to say.

Great leaders understand that rather than spending hours trying to get what you want from others, it’s easier to give to them first.

Only then will they listen to you.


It’s more fun

It’s great getting what you want.

But as I’ve experienced in my career so far, it’s rarely enough for completeness and satisfaction.

We all know corporate execs, investors and entrepreneurs who rack-up million after million but still look like they haven’t cracked a smile for years.

True satisfaction comes from helping others. In knowing that what you are doing is empowering, inspiring or educating others.

Great leaders understand that as hugely social creatures, all of us crave the love of others. To be respected, admired or appreciated. Often, it can be the fuel that keeps us working longer and harder than any type of financial incentive. And what better way to achieve this than ensuring we try to help others at every opportunity?

Great leaders have fun.

It triggers the magic law of reciprocation

A well known mentor of mine once told me that success is based more on principles than facts, skills or knowledge.

The world we live in operates on universal laws – the law of attraction, the law of cause and effect and so on. Our understanding and use of these laws determines how successful and fulfilled we will be.

Perhaps one of the most underrated and powerful of all universal laws is the law of reciprocation: in simple terms however you treat someone else, they are like to have a deep rooted psychological urge to do the same to you. Usually with interest.

Try it and see. Offer someone a compliment on their outfit and you’ll likely be commended yourself. Offer to buy another person lunch and the chances they’ll return the favour later. Give someone a discount unexpectedly and they are likely to haggle less next time around.

It’s not manipulative behaviour, it’s just understanding a fundamental law of nature. You see, when we give to others we rarely care about the price, the details or the small print. We just don’t want to be taken advantage of and simply want to be treated fairly. Once we know others are on our side and we can trust them we are usually more than happy to give back.

Deep down, we’re all real softies really.

Great leaders use the law of reciprocation.


To get more, ask less.

And give more.

Hiring managers can gain much from those people who are driven by helping others and who understand the essential principles in building winning relationships.

Do you give to get?

If you are a hiring manager and need specific candidates quickly, please reach out here